Right now it’s Sunday August 3rd, and we are on the eve of our trip to Guatemala, and Im still pretty tired from the past several days. It has been a long week since I wrote my last blog, so I will try to record the highlights as the come into my mind. I think when I last wrote I was in my room at the conference in Grove city. For this part of the trip we stayed in college dorm rooms, so they were set up for college students who spend too much time studying rather than worrying whether or not their environment is comfortable. Our first room assignment was in a empty building, so either Shelly or Alisa suggested that we stay in the Hayes family rooms. Our newer room consisted of two desks and bunk bed with twin mattresses. Alisa told me that she wanted her own bed for the week and that I needed to sleep on the top bunk. I know that sounds a little harsh, but you need to understand that during the first two weeks of our trip we had to sleep together on one twin mattress. Im so happy my parents let us stay with them but sharing a mattress that small between two people is incredibly uncomfortable. The first night there we stayed up late with our new neighbors which consisted of mostly Canadians. As you can imagine there were a lot of ehh’s and aboots flying around during our conversation. We had a great time and a lot of laughs that first night. It was nice meeting people who were so down to earth and welcoming.
The conference was pretty well structured. We woke up every morning at 7a.m. and then headed to breakfast around 7:45. From there, we would go to a bible study and have a short break before lunch. Then we would have the afternoon free where we could either go to a breakout study or take a break from all the socializing. We did a little of both. In the evening they would have a gospel message and
then Alisa and I attended a missionary conference where people talked about their work in other countries. I was really amazed at how hard their jobs are. In this country, we take freedom of religion for granted. For a great many people around the world, being a Christian can mean being outcasted from the community, rejected by family, imprisoned, and even put to death. If you are reading this blog–no matter what your position is on Christianity just know that the way our society protects religion is not the norm everywhere else. Alisa and I can be very socially awkward, and it was really hard for us to just walk up to people and start talking to them. However, there were a number of people who would just come up to us and start a conversation. There were also a few people who knew who we were having never met us (facebook). Having the opportunity to meet and make new friends with some from the East Coast was really fun.
I wanna talk for a little bit about this softball game that went down at Grove City. It was between the married and single men and the loosing side had to sing a song in front of everyone at dinner. I realize now why the guys I hung out with were planning on how to sing the loosing song rather than discussing how to win the game. First of all, I couldn’t play because everyone on the team were right handed and Im left–not that it would have mattered anyways. Let me just describe what I saw that day. On the single guy side, there were young college age looking guys who looked like they were in the prime of the athletic life. On our side, there were a few guys in the thirties but mostly in their forties. Our star player, whose name was Chris I believe, was the first to bat and the first one injured. That pretty much set the tempo for the rest of the game. After the first inning we were down 6 to 1. I don’t want to leave you in suspense, so lets just say that we had to sing during dinner that night.
The rest of the week was fun. We got a chance to hang out with a lot of great people and attend a lot of different breakouts. We got a lot of open invitations to different cities for the next time we travel through the East Coast, and I hope that some day we can make it here again so we can take them up on those offers.
The drive back to N.C. was long. We left around 10 in the morning and did not arrive in Charlotte till 8p.m. Again the Bassetts welcomed us into their home, and Ben also gave up his room for the floor so we could have a bed to sleep on for the past few days. I have to say that Alisa and I have felt very welcome here at the Bassett house and are so thankful for the hospitality they have shown to us. On the night we returned from Grove City, Emily had prepared dinner for us, and we got to spend the rest of the evening hanging out with Justin, Ben and his two friends from Germany, Anton and Alex. Anton and Alex were really fun to hang out with. They are here in the states volunteering at Carmel Hills in order to help out and work on their english. However, in my opinion, their english is great. Ben started up a fire and we got to spend some time outside talking under the humid Charlotte night sky. We even got the chance to see Alex have his first s’more.
Today we woke up early to head off to meeting where we ran into a lot of the people who were at Grove City. Visiting different assemblies this trip has been interesting in itself. It’s amazing how similar they are in their but at the same time the people make it it’s own unique place. There were two meetings today, one in the morning and one in the evening. After the evening one, we headed out with the younger crowd to a whole foods near by where we had pizza and drinks. Normally I wouldn’t think to hang out at a whole foods, but the one here is pretty nice. It has a outdoor patio where you can hang out on outdoor sofas and just relax with your friends and enjoy the evening. We stayed there for quite some time before realizing that we needed to head back to the house and pack up our things. We dropped off zee Germans and packed our things.
It’s hard to believe that we have been traveling for a month now, and we have another month to go. Alisa and I are so glad that we got a chance to hang out with both sides of our family and are really thankful to all those who opened up their homes to us and fed us. I didn’t really have a chance to get to know Daniel and Shelly before they moved to the east coast, so it was nice to be able to spend some time with them in their city and hang out with them a bit a grove city. I have to admit that it still sounds kind of weird when their kids call me uncle, but I think I have gotten a little used to it now. We are also thankful to the Basset family who have really made the final part of our trip great. They have come to Portland a lot, and Im really glad that I had an opportunity to see their home and get to know them a little more. I really enjoyed spending time with them and seeing how quirky they are as a family. Thanks again to everyone who made this part of our trip so much fun.