Wow, what a busy but good two months we have had back in North America’s winter wonderland.
Our winter fun began with a bang as we landed in Vancouver on the 22nd of November to be greeted by the coldest weekend for that time in November in the past 55 years. Yes we all had a severe shock but thanks to my buddy John and his nice warm pick up service from the airport in his silver bullet Dodge Ram we managed.
After some unpacking and repacking we zoomed off on a night flight a few days later to Minnesota. Some of the many highlights included time with mom and dad Carpenter where Seth got his tool set and put it into action to build a bird feeder with grandpa Mike. A snow storm added to our fun as tunnels where built with Uncle Kenny and a big mound of snow was used as a slide with cousin Alaina. A highlight for Mark was taking the kids skating for the first time. The rink was empty except for us as it was a school day and no one around. Then one of Mark’s dreams came true…he was given permission to drive the zomboni around the rink! He of course put the kids on too and then went too far by singing Oh Canada at the top of his lungs in the heart of MN, USA while cruising around the rink. He will never forget it! Thank you Josh for making that happen! What a memory!
As a family we also enjoyed catching up with the Carpenter side of the family and our trip to the center of MN – International Falls. Seth even remembered Grandpa Bob and Grandma Dori’s house from two years ago when Jodie was born. He also created some new memories sledding with his big cousin Mason and wishes he could join him at McDonalds for another fun meal. Everyday Seth and Jodie checked on Smokey the Bear to make sure he was not sleeping. We miss you Grandma Dori & Grandpa Bob!
After a cold and snowy visit in the US we had some time chasing more snow around the Canadian prairies. A highlight was Christmas with mom and dad Williams and enjoying all the trimmings and partaking of too much good food. Grandpa enjoyed making ice cream with Seth and Jodie who sampled the homemade treat a few times before it made its way to the table. Not sure if Seth and Jodie enjoyed it more than grandpa. Jodie’s highlight was some New Years time in Canmore with her good cousin Ellie of two years. They are only two weeks apart in age and they were in their own little world as cousins.
Five days were spent together with the entire Dan and Winnie Williams tribe in Canmore – 8 adults and nine grandchildren to be exact. Sarah and Mark enjoyed a quick visit over New Years with good friends from the old Lethbridge gang who journeyed from different parts of Alberta. As fate would have it once a trip to Saskatchewan was under way the surprising warm weather stopped for another burst of Canadian winter. Edson Baptist Church, good friends and family were visited along the way with 92 year old grandma Clara being the highlight. She is still going strong and prays for us twice a day. Please keep the prayers coming grandma! Mark also enjoyed a few hockey games watching his Calgary Flames live at the Saddledome – thanks Shannon W. and Jeff for making this happen. After a trek across the mountains toward Vancouver and a good visit with relatives in Kelowna on the way we are ready for the final leg of our trip. We hope to see many more friends and family in the Lower Mainland.
Overall it has been a very busy and special time. Sometimes it has been challenging for us as a family and especially for Seth and Jodie. They’ve been sick a few times and their schedules have been topsy turvy. But what an amazing trip! People have opened up their homes, let us use cars and helped fill up our tummies and gas tanks from one place to another. The support of us personally and also our work with the African Children’s Choir has been amazing. We only hope that one day we can return the blessing of hospitality and generosity to so many people who have shown God’s love to us. Thanks Phil and Shannon for letting use your car along the Canadian part of this journey. If it were possible we would love to return the love to all of you when you visit us in Uganda. But we know we can ‘pay it forward’ by being generous with those we know in Uganda and blessing those God gives us. Thank you all for being the part of the Body of Christ that He has assigned you to be. We’ve had precious times of fellowship and encouragement with so many of you as we realize we face such similar things and serve the same great God!