This is what we were told would be shouted when people saw us coming on Independence day in the US. We hadn't exactly planned to be celebrating Independence day with the Americans, but thankfully we weren't made in to targets and shot at!
Our first week was spent at OMS HQ where we had a leaders retreat and then a week of meetings (mainly for Steve with all the field directors from countries all over the world). It was quite an intense week but was a really valuable time, mainly in terms of making good links with people. We met the new OMS President and his wife and got to say goodbye to the outgoing one. Helen was also able to make a link with the organizers of 'Dynamic Women' teams and make initial plans for a team to come and do some sessions with the street girls in 2015. The girls had a great time with the other missionary children, and one of the highlights was going to the pop-corn factory where they got to try flavours ranging from tomato ketchup to water-melon flavour! We had a special time with an old university friend of mine (Helen's) who now lives in Chicago. She has twins the same age as Nisha so they had a great time together. We also met up with our adopted sister Hillary and her husband Craig and her parents where she is living now in LaFayette. We had a really lovely time with them.
The second week we were blessed to stay at some friend's lake-side house outside of Cleveland, Ohio. It was a beautiful location and there was a swimming pool and even a little beach just down the road. We watched all sorts of birds come and feed outside the window, and had a bonfire one evening - to celebrate 'Independence day' from us Brits! We were able to borrow the couple's kayak and go for a 'spin' on the lake with the girls.
We then travelled back via Amish country to Indianapolis. It was really interesting to see the Amish people with their horses and buggies, and to get a glimpse of how they live. We then went to the OMS - USA conference where there were around 800 people who had come to hear about what God is doing through OMS around the world. We really enjoyed catching up with other missionaries and homeland staff who we hadn't seen for a number of years.
After this we flew to Massachusetts to spend a week with my sister Becs who has recently moved there and started a new life there. We had a fabulous time and got to meet Debra who she's living with and lots of her music friends from the 'Old time music scene' that she has become really involved in. It was a really special time for us and the kids. Anya enjoyed eating kale of all things from Becs and Debra's garden, and both Anya and Nisha got to play a couple of tunes on the guitar and violin (with a little help from their friends!). They loved 'Omie' - Becs and Debra's cat, and got to meet tarantulas, bees, chickens and kittens at another friend's house! We were really sad to have to leave.
We're back home now in Mexico, and Nisha and Anya are at summer school at their old school for a couple of weeks. It's a good way for them to spend some more time with their friends and teachers and do some fun things with them before they leave that school in order to start at their new one on 18th August. Please pray for the transition for them both.