We just got back yesterday from attending a missions conference at my Mom's sending church over in Tulsa. I'd forgotten that my family has such celebrity status over there in that church, we were treated like royalty! We were only going to attend, but they included us as featured missionaries which was rather unexpected. It was good to reconnect with people that know my family and hear from the various other missionaries that attended, including my Mom. Todd Ahrend from The Traveling Team was the main speaker on Sunday for both services, what an incredible speaker!
The kids weren't too sure about the conference at first, but they were hooked the first night when some folks from the Voice of the Martyrs spoke and then the kids had the opportunity to try to smuggle Bibles through an elaborate darkened tunnel. The church even provided an EMT to stand by in case any of the kids got too stressed out because apparently it was quite intense! My kids loved it though and then couldn't wait to go back...they weren't disappointed with the other events like learning about other cultures, trying some exotic foods and worshipping God under an Angolan hut.
Miguel and I were asked to teach the 1st and 2nd grade Sunday school class...they weren't sure if they could get a missionary to speak in their class, so they were thrilled to have us there. We requisitioned some of Mom's tribal stuff and Miguel put some pictures together, so we had a decent presentation and wowed them with monkey teeth and Yanomamo arrows (10 feet long) and the blowgun and darts (Miguel shot a picture of a tapir we projected onto the wall). I did the talking and we pretended like Miguel didn't speak English so they had the chance to experience a language barrier. I think it went well and we heard from several parents later how much it had impressed their children.
I had a bit of a cold when we went, but all that talking I did brought about the usual laryngitis I get when I talk too much. I mean, I usually DO talk to much anyway, but I always get laryngitis when I go on translation trips or have to talk constantly like at a conference, etc. Speaking to the kids for 45 minutes on Sunday morning was the final straw and I could barely speak the rest of the day and I had a lot more talking to do!
We stayed with a wonderful couple while we were there, an older couple who spent a few years on the mission field after their retirement. They loved our kids and have a gift for hospitality. They have a full basement that we stayed in and we were very comfortable there at their house, which made our time there so much easier. They even introduced us to their neighbor who is a pastor from Venezuela! Small world...
Overshadowing this event, however, was the fact that Papa John (my stepdad) had to be admitted to the hospital overnight because he had been having all the symptoms of a heart attack and therefore missed part of the conference. It turned out not to be a heart attack, although it might be some sort of blockage, but it was a bit alarming and we were faced with Mom and John's mortality once again. Not something that's all that fun to face, but necessary at their age (Mom turned 65 on Friday). Papa John has an appointment with his regular doctor today, so we're waiting to see what results that might have.
So a rather eventful week for us and we're enjoying a day of rest today...I was planning to do school, but that's kind of hard to do without a voice! The kids aren't too disappointed, though...