Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Sam's Birthday in Cassablanca

Hey... about Sammy's day in Casablanca...

It was good to be at the hotel near the airport (15 miles from the city) for our 8 hour layover thanks to the kind folks at Royal Air Maroc. We were so so tired that we didn't have time to really celebrate Sam's birthday, unfortunately.

We got into Casablanca ("Casa" for short) around 10:30am local. The night before, in Paris, the girls got a couple hours of sleep in their room, however, us boys couldn't seem to get to sleep... so we were very tired all the day.

We made it through the customs at the Casa airport and then looked for about 10 minutes until we found where to go for information on the hotel that is available for day rest. This is a free service of our airplane ticket with Royal Air Maroc- a nice touch!

Most of the people at the airport speak French and/or broken English, so we were able to get around. There were people there to show us to the bus that carried us to the hotel and, of course, they did this for a tip. We only had American dollars... they said that would be fine.

We got into our hotel rooms (which were very nice... I'd give the hotel a 3 star rating) and found the beds to be irresistible! We all napped until about 1:30pm and then had a lunch buffet of chicken, some bean dish thing, squash, rice, salads and a desert. This meal was also a part of our airfare!

After lunch, we decided to take a dip in the pool quickly- we would need to make the 3:30pm shuttle back to the airport. The kids had a good time in the pool as Alace and I relaxed in the shade (probably about a 90 degree day... very sunny) and took some photos. Getting pool towels was interesting... we were sent one place and then were sent back to the first place who insisted that the second place should have them... Those people finally got on the phone and it all became a 15 minute ordeal. The kids and Alace got tired of waiting around, so we went back up to the room, showered, and then used the shower curtain and blankets to dry... there weren't even towels in the room!!! Oh well.... memory makers!

So, we got back on the bus shuttle, back to the airport, back through security, back through customs (after filling out more forms), and then to our gate after finding out that our gate changed from gate 10 to 25 to 20 to 25 and then back to 20 again! HA! Thankfully, they were all down the same large annex/hallway thingy.

So, that was our time in Casa. It was a little crazy and there was not much time to have special time set aside to Sam...


Sam had yet another birthday cake tonight (Tuesday 8/26) that a couple of the ladies put together. That makes 3 birthday cakes for him this year!

So... there's our summary of Sam's special day that wrapped up with a group of about 10 folks cheering for us as we came through customs at the Libreville airport ... not a bad day for a 10 year old kid!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

SUMMER '08 Wrap-Up

As I write this, I'm struck with a rush of emotion- excitement, sadness, gratefulness, nervousness, anticipation, and more.

At 6:15pm (Eastern US) tomorrow (Friday, August 22) my precious family and I will board the first of 5 flights that will take us to our new home in Libreville, the capital city of GABON. At 6:30pm (Eastern US) on Monday, we will climb out of our last flight and enter into a new chapter of our lives.

Will you please pray for us as we take this journey? The LORD has graciously gone before us as we have moved through our time of preparation that has lasted over 2 and 1/2 years! Psychological evaluations, interviews, paperwork, over 90 formal ministry presentations, countless miles on the road and in the air, pilot & mechanic evaluations, cross-cultural training, 10 months of language school abroad, and more! We've been blessed to have you on this journey with us, supporting us and lifting us up in your prayers. Our family has been blessed and strengthened as a result. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!


We hope that you all got our summer newsletter in your mailbox. However, we know that many of you have only given us your email. We have many newsletters that still need to find a home, so PLEASE email me ( your "snail mail" address and my associates (aka. my parents) will gladly put one in the mail for you.

Airplane or no airplane, we begin our time in Gabon with faith that our Great Provider will accomplish the task in HIS timing. HE is always faithful. We still have our eye on an aircraft (C207 Turboprop) that is currently in the state of Washington, under contract doing for parachute jumping. As the contract ends this fall, please pray that the Lord would provide the remaining needed funds so that a purchase can happen. These aircraft are rare and in high demand. We need about $200,000 more raised. Those funds will then be matched, by a very generous donor, and we'll have the $630,000 needed. At that point, I will return to the US for pilot and mechanic training before crating the aircraft on a shipping container bound for Africa.

OUR NEW HOME: Arnie and Cheryl Solvig have been working hard to find just the right place for our family and they've done it! We'll be living in a home just a 1/2 block from the Libreville guest house that their family of 5 currently administrate! WOW! The Lord graciously provided a 3 bedroom, 2 and 1/2 bath home! Being close to the Solvig crew is great- our kids are homeschooling together, Alace is learning to run the guesthouse, and they'll be helping us "new-bees" in our new community! We are so thankful. If you're interested in a tour of the home, thanks to Meredith Brokopp, CLICK HERE . The Brokopp's, Sovig's, and others have already started to do some prep work on the house to be more liveable by our arrival... THANKS GUYS!

COMMUNICATION: No doubt, we will experience a "blackout" period as we get settled in Libreville. As soon as possible, we'll have a vonage phone, email, and more set up and running. Be patient as we "find our feet" in Gabon. If it's anything like France, it may be a month or more... YIKES! We'll provide new contact info as it becomes available. Until then, you'll find me making frequent trips down the street to borrow the Solvig's computer... get ready Arnie! HA!

SUMMER WRAP-UP: This summer has been a mix of excitement and frustration as we have had time to meet with many, but not enough to meet with all. We've been taken care of so well by our family and home church, York Alliance Church. They have all gone "over the top" for us. I can't tell you all of the times that people thoughtfully had taken care of our needs, paid bills for us, provided fun events and sleepovers for the kids, and much much more. In fact, I'm writing this in the tranquil environment of Tim and Margaret Shuey's back yard in York, using their "wifi" connection... or maybe it's their neighbors... I can't be sure... THanks to all! You've blessed our socks off!

We'll talk to you soon! Please stay in touch and come visit anytime!