Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Florida trip

Valerie and I made the trip back to the US again, this time to Florida.  The impetus was the great ongoing help/opportunity provided by Fellowship of Christian Optometrists...they help Valerie get back, with 12 hours of much needed continuing education credits, and take care of housing while we are there....the "there" normally being in Indiana, but this year was on Pensacola beach.  Not too shabby.

It was great for us both to get some education, some time to see friends both old and new, (pictured Valerie with two other ODs Emily and Morgan, that came to Honduras with a FCO student group from IU...unfortunately one of our last IU groups at least so far, back in 2006) to meet up and coming students from many different optometry schools across the country(maybe get some interns or groups to come of it?), get to share one morning with everyone about His Eyes, and get to worship together every night as well and hear testimonies and other stories of Christ working through optometry in other countries ....professional conferences based on a faith in Christ...not common, and we are especially thankful for FCO for that.

From Pensacola, we rented a car to drive, made a slight out of the way trip to Foley Alabama (if you know of Lambert' further details are needed...if you do should look them up at and stop by to discover what a throwed roll is, and just enjoy the experience) and then on to visit our friends Lance and Debbie that live in Valdosta GA.  Lance was one of the first people I met when we started going to FCO Bible studies back at IU, and has been a good friend and brother in Christ ever since.  Why someone that cool chooses to hang out with us still continues to baffle me, but we are all the more blessed for it. 

Getting to know Debbie's grandma who was also visiting with them was another was getting to see their farm and animals. 

Who knows, maybe we can get some chickens with blue feet, Tina Turner hair, and different colored eggs in Honduras? 

It was encouraging to see them doing that there, with some chickens, ducks, horses, sheep...knowing we are slowly working our way towards some of that (ok...maybe the blue feet on the chickens won't happen any time soon) in Honduras, specifically trying to do that in Las Botijas. 

From there it was on the next day to Jacksonville Florida.  We were extremely blessed to have very generous, gracious, fun, life-probing, friendship-deepening hosts of Denise and David Hamilton while we were there for a week.

Valerie seen here with Denise at Clark's Fish Camp...quite the experience as Valerie discovered.  (we recommend the gator tail by the way...and in keeping with the website name dropping...

So what else did we do?  We got to visit so many people that continue to make His Eyes what it is around Jacksonville, it was very encouraging, and we got to share praises, struggles, and prayer requests. 

One of the biggest prayer warriors I have ever met is Jo Blevins.  It was Valerie's first time in JAX, and first opportunity to meet Jo, who has done so much for us and especially the kids over the years.  Take a minute right now and pray for her as she prays and works for so many across the world right now would you? 

We also got to participate in worship on Sunday with a new supporting Church, Swiss Cove Christian Church, and talk to a men's group about a short term mission group they will be bringing next March. 

Men's groups are fairly rare, we are praying this one will do much for God's Honduras, and equally if not more so back in Jacksonville.

What is up with this road sign?  What was I supposed to not hit?  Why?  Are there sloth crossings in Florida?  Was it the chupacabra in sign form? 

We also got to visit a store that rescues women from the sex trade and teaches them sewing and other skills.  While it is not my forte...we did get some ideas and some inspirations for the future of the sewing ministry (take a minute and pray for it as well...struggling and it is challenging right now to keep it going the way we feel God wants to use it.)

 These rugs were of particular interest for us, as well as some different ways of making blankets.

One of the perks of visiting the South I had forgotten was okra. 

Ah okra, you are so good fried,
you are tasty with curry...

whether with oil of corn or truffle,
where you are I am not in a hurry

After Jacksonville, we drove to Sarasota to talk to another Church, South Shore Community Church, that brought two teams last year. 

It was great to get to see so many of them that came for supper one night, get to talk to their mission's team about the big changes we hope to bring to the milk project, and meet with the entire Church staff for lunch the next day.  Again we felt very much loved, and it was an encouragement to see so many people interested and excited about what God is doing in Honduras.

Valerie giving a presentation to two of the mission's youngest supporters.  They took from their piggy bank to give to His Eyes.


I was humbled...yet again, as with the rest of the trip.

To God be the glory!

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