Monday, September 24, 2012

Travel Update

Our journey Aug 2 to Sep 11, 2012
We arrived in Winnipeg around 7 pm after 26 hours between flights and airport stays.  We were exhausted.  While in Winnipeg we had the opportunity to visit family and the GNM Church, which supports us.  We are so grateful to Orest’s sister who provided a place for us to stay, and to others who supplied meals and transportation.  We were able to do a presentation at the church and are grateful for the strong support we received.

After Winnipeg we travelled to Lloydminster with Grace’s brother.  While in Lloydminster we were blessed with the opportunity to stay at a beautiful cottage trailer in the country.  This was great because it truly gave a chance to rest after many hectic days.  After doing our presentation at our home church SCC we were overwhelmed by the response of people who wanted to spend time and visit.  We were totally booked during the week between dental, eye, and appointments with 54 people.
While we were tired we were also greatly encouraged and inspired by all the people we visited with and by the outstanding level of hospitality and fellowship we received.

We were blessed again as wonderful friends drove us from Lloydminster to Didsbury and even had the graciousness to let us have time to stop and visit with friends in Bashaw.  We spent a few days fellowshipping and  relaxing in Didsbury with the former pastor couple from our home church.  Again blessed by dear friends whose home is peaceful and hospitality is gracious and we are treated more like family then friends.

Our experience in Canada, seeing family, friends and supporters was amazing.  As missionaries going home for the first time we did not know what to expect.  What we received was an incredible gift from God in terms of hospitality, friendship, inspiration, encouragement and an overall sense of love.  We are eternally grateful to all who show so much support to us in this call we received to serve in Niger, Africa.  We are also grateful that SIM wanted Orest to go to the international Treasurers Conference in North Carolina and that we were able to add some holiday time to be able to do this trip.

Aug 21 we arrive in Charlotte, NC.  There we spend a few days at the Charlotte SIM guesthouse.  Most of our time is spent in actually shopping for needed items to ship to Galmi – for the guesthouse, for ourselves and gifts.  Amazing how much time can be spent on shopping when cost, practicality and weight are all important.

After Charlotte we would spend time in Charleston where we experienced hospitality of short term medical missionaries who come to Galmi on a regular basis.  We had the opportunity to visit some historical sites and experience directly the deluge of rain that was part of hurricane Isaac.  We valued the time with our hosts and with other missionaries who were also in the area.

The final leg of our journey was in Asheville where we would spend time at the Billy Graham Training Center.  Here Orest would attend the Treasurers Consultation for about 7 days and Grace would participate in a Stormie Omartian prayer conference.

Grace would experience the joy of meeting 11 new sisters of faith who continue in contact with each other.  She would also be able to tell about Galmi and enlist the interest of 2 potential new medical missionaries to Galmi.
Orest would be able to participate with an international team of financial missionaries with varied backgrounds and experiences.  He would hear many testimonies and would be enthralled by the complexities involved in maintaining an international organization where rules from various countries add a complicated and sometimes confusing set of operational rules for those involved.  It is this complexity that establishes the need for administrative strength in such an international organization.  Other organizations have faltered, not because of the strength of their ministries but because of the lack of organizational strength in their administrative bodies.   Orest feels that SIM has a solid strength in this area.

After many hours of travel we returned to Niger on September 12.  After waiting far too many days we received our driver’s licenses and returned to a Galmi that was much greener due to a good rainy season.  We also returned to a Galmi that was experiencing a dearth of deaths due to malaria and cholera.  A hospital that is overrun with patients and an extraordinary medical team that continues to endure despite the hardships.   There have been many rumblings about protests and other difficulties but we remain calm and safe.

It is a blessing to be home at Galmi.  To have our first meal at Galmi with Sani and Sara and to see that our porch had been completed.  For now our garden is green and lush – so far lots of green and not a lot of veggies, but we hope that will soon change.
We want to thank all of you for your support and your love.
Orest and Grace