Saturday, January 24, 2009

Hey Avid Readers...

I've had a great time back in the States for my "Christmas" vacation, but now it's time to head back to Gambia.

This has been a great break and change of pace, getting the opportunity to see so many family members and friends, and getting to talk to so many people over the phone, IM, email and even facebook chat. (which I didn't even know existed until I got back for Christmas!) And I'm sorry I wasn't able to get in contact with everyone I was hoping to. But please be sure that it wasn't a matter of me not wanting to catch up, but just simply the constant issue of too much to do and too little time.

I'm glad to see and hear that so many of you are enjoying where you are, and the places you have been blessed to call home, work and life. I was pleased to get to see a few friends I hadn't expected to see, but then also thrown off when weather prevented me from getting to visit South Dakota as I had originally planned and hoped for. Nevertheless, it's a blessing to have friends who you can go for months, even over a year without seing, but then when you do get back together it's as if we were hanging out just last weekend. And I'm truly blessed to have so many friends who I can share that closeness of friendship with.

I'm glad I was able to clarify some questions, share some stories and even vent a little bit in the atmosphere of family and friends. The food has been great, and just getting to relax (and sleep in without the morning noises of donkeys and chickens at 5am) has been truly refreshing. But now, well over half-way through my service, I'm excited to get back. I'm blessed to also call so many people in Gambia my friends, and I look forward to getting to spend these next 9 or so months back with them. And who am I kidding...I really miss Khiva! I know the time will pass all-too-quickly, and before I know it I will once again be looking for gainful employment. But I also hope to cherrish these next months and the experiences (fun and character building) that I have.

I will continue to keep this blog updated with stories, pictures and movie clips (with a new camera that has NOT been dropped in a river or have the sound of sand rattling around when I move the zoom in and out).

So I will be flying out from DesMoines at 5:45am on Sunday the 25th of January, but I'll be back soon enough around Thanksgiving this fall. I don't have to tell this croud how quickly that time will actually go by.

Thanks again for all the support and prayers you offer. I'm having the time of my life, and hope that you are able to experience even just a bit of the experience I'm blessed to have through my stories, pictures and video clips.

And please, keep the emails and letters coming. It's always great to get YOUR updates!

Until next time, best wishes and take care!