"Preach the gospel at all times; if necessary, use words." Saint Francis of Assisi

Monday, October 31, 2011

Staying in Porto Alegre

Ansley stayed behind in Porto Alegre for a couple of reasons. She stayed to continue working to make money for college but her real reason for not going with us a couple of weeks ago was so that she could stay for one of her best friend's 18th birthday party.

She leaves home to head to the states next Monday. So she is finishing up her last few days of teaching and saying goodbye to her students.

The other day she sent a couple of pictures to us from her "goodbye" classes. The pictures of the kids have their faces blurred out (or wearing a mask) because the school can get sued if their images appear on the internet without permission.

Here they are:

The kids that she teaches LOVE her.  She told us she's been crying a lot as she tells the kids goodbye. God has given her a real gift with kids and she's bonded with so many of them.

She really didn't want to teach English to kids when this year began. It was hard for her when all her friends were in college and making new friends and not working. She grew up a lot this year, took on a bunch of new responsibilities and really matured as a person.

She has grown to really enjoy teaching and she really loves those kids.

My girlfriend and I ran into her boss about three days before we left to come to the states. We had never met her before but my girlfriend recognized her from a presentation she had done about her English school at our kids' school.  We introduced ourselves, and after the introductions she began telling us how much Ansley meant to her company. How she was a little concerned about Ansley's age when she started since they had never had a teacher that young before. How she started as an assistant but now was one of her best teachers. She shared how much she loved Ansley and told us she would take care of her after we left to go to the states.

Ansley called the other day and shared about her last meeting with her boss and fellow teachers. She was  very humbled by the words that her boss said about her in front of everyone else as well as what some of her colleagues said. They gave her a gift and wished her well as she starts the next stage in her life. Ansley said she cried quite a bit.  The words that were said about her were very kind and, even though Ansley would never say it, all very true.

Here she is with her teacher buds.
Ansley has a great personality, makes friends so quickly and easily and is very outgoing. I think she has realized this year just how much God has gifted her and it's been really cool for my girlfriend and I to see her use those gifts to grow God's kingdom.

We are super proud of Ansley and what God has done through her this year with her friends, her students and her house church. She understands that she doesn't go to church but she is the church.

We know it's tough for her to say her goodbyes but we are very excited to see what God does through her while she is in Ecuador and then when she goes to college next year.

We are even more excited to get to see her again in just a few days. Just seven more days!

We love you Ans!

Sick Andersonisms

Since we've back in the states some of our friends have asked us about sharing some more Andersonisms. He always gives them out and he gave us some good ones from this past Saturday.

For lunch on Saturday he ate a hot dog and cheetos for lunch. You might already be able to guess where this is going.

My girlfriend, Garrett and I had an appointment on Saturday and as we were walking out the door my girlfriend told me she needed to stay at home because Anderson wasn't feeling good.

I went in and looked at him and his face had a greenish/beige glow. He did not look good.

Garrett and I left and came back a couple of hours later. When we got home we found out he was sleeping because he had puked a couple of times.

We heard the puke conversation went like this:

Anderson: (puking.........stop) "Hot dog." (more puking.....stop) "Hot dog."
My girlfriend: "It's okay Anderson you don't need to say what you are throwing up"

Anderson: (more puking.....crying) "Mom, are you sure this is God's plan for me?"
My girlfriend: "Hey Anderson you are just sick. Sometimes people get sick. Sometimes God teaches us when we get sick. When we get sick we can remember how yucky it feels and can learn how to take care of other people when they get sick."
Anderson: "So is the devil doing this to me?"

Even when he's sick he's funny.

Later his mean uncle and cousins scared him with Halloween stories and he got so scared he puked again. Fun day.

Positive side note: Pretty soon we'll be done with hot dogs forever. Bronwyn and Garrett already don't eat them from previous puke experiences. Now Anderson has also sworn them off forever. Can't say that I'm sad.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Come before God regularly. Remember that you carry the gift of God in an earthen pot! Strengthen your inner life through reading, praying and distrusting your old way of life.

Although you have lived far from Him, you need not be afraid to come to Him like a child. Tell Him how weak and miserable you are, tell Him what you need and what bothers you. You may even tell Him that sometimes you are not exactly thrilled to serve Him. You cannot speak too freely or too truthfully to Him. He likes simple people and talks with them often. Put away all your grand ideas and just be honest with Him. Listen to what He tells you with an open heart. Turn a deaf ear to to the world and to your unruly passions.


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Quick trip back home

We've been skyping with Ansley a lot lately. She's doing great and winding up her last days at home in POA before heading to the states to hang with us for a couple of months and then heading off to Ecuador to live for a while.

In those conversations she told us about the rain they've been getting this week.

The bad thing about our city is that many people throw their trash on the ground. We also have quite a few people that live in the streets and it's easy for them to leave their trash on the ground. City workers try to keep all of it clean but too much gets down into the drainage sewers. When it rains real hard and real fast the sewers can't take it and everything starts backing up.

These were taken by our brother Freitas right in front of his hardware store a couple of days ago. 
Thankfully the water didn't enter his store.

We have one family in our church that used to live in a not-so-good neighborhood and their home sat in basically what was a big ditch. Every time it rained their house got flooded. Thankfully the government bought out their neighborhood to be able to extend the airport runway to get ready for the World Cup. Now they have moved to government housing and no longer have the flooding problem. But many, living in POA, continue to live with the fear of constant flooding with any type of big rain.

Don't know why I decided to share about the rain back home. Guess keeping up with the day to day there helps to keep us tied in to our family.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Staying in Dallas

We found out we were coming to the states at the end of August.

We sent an email out to Andy (yesterday's blog) and our other brother (also mentioned yesterday but not by  name), Morgan letting them know we were coming their way.

Andy and Morgan used to work together. They both are always so gracious to us and, not surprisingly, they both offered up their cars for us to use during our stay there last week.

As I mentioned yesterday, Andy and Jennifer have always offered up their house and their big car, that fits all of our family, to use during our Dallas visits.

We usually get to see Morgan over a meal when we are there. I honestly didn't think Morgan even owned a car that could hold our family.

After we emailed them Morgan emailed a response first and told us that we could use his "Man Van." He then sent pictures for our kids to check it out and they thought it looked like a playground. We emailed back that we would love to use his van for the week. Ten minutes later we got an email from Andy telling us we could use their Suburban for the week. That's how they both are. Completely giving everything they have to our family. It didn't surprise me that both Andy/Jennifer and Morgan all offered up their cars. We never assume or expect anything from them and they always bless us so much.

Anyway, Morgan and a business associate met us at the airport when we arrived. Morgan showed us a couple of things that we needed to know and then we were off.  No, "be carefuls" or "try not to scratch it" or "please try not to this or that." He just gave us hugs, dropped the keys off in our hands and was back to work. The Thomas' do the same thing with their house. Give us house keys and that's it. It's very humbling.

Morgan's van was the biggest car I've ever driven (other than a moving truck). It was amazingly big.

If you know Texas, you know they like things big. Even the Texans were driving by gawking at this van. We came out of the conference one day and two families were just staring at the van. People slowed down or sped up  on the interstate to get next to us. We had fun trying to read people's lips when we stopped at red lights.

My girlfriend is horrible at remembering where she parked. She never had that problem the whole week. Not once. She just looked for the tallest vehicle and we walked right to it.

What I'm trying to say is that it was big. Understand? It was big!

How big? This big:
 Crazy Big.
Morgan, once again blessed us during our time in Dallas. The sad part is we didn't even get to see him after he picked us up at the airport.  He had a crazy busy week as he got ready to leave for Sierra Leone to work on the Mercy Ship. The same day we left Dallas to go to Alabama he left on his mission trip to Africa.

Morgan, just like Andy and Jennifer, always just "It's really no big deal's" us every time we go to Dallas. They act like it's nothing for us to come an invade their homes, use their cars, eat their food, etc., but it's a huge deal to us. They all show us Christ with each act of kindness.

The "Man Van" was fun to drive and opened up lots of conversations for us last week but at the heart of that beast of a car was a man who shares his worldly stuff with some goobers from Brasil.

Thank you Morgan!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Back to Dallas

I have to share a little history to get to the meat and taters of today's post. It will take me a while to set it all up. Bear with me.

Many, many years ago I was a senior in college. My girlfriend had graduated already and was living 5 hours away. I was madly in love with her and so I, literally, lived for the weekends. I would leave every Friday as soon as my last class finished and would drive 5 hours to where she lived. Sometimes she would drive the 5 hours my way. Usually we met at my parents' house in the middle.

I would come in late on Sunday night and go straight to bed to make Monday come faster which, in my logic, would make Friday hurry up and get here.

Let's just say I didn't enjoy my senior year of college. I had lots of great friends and still had fun but I just couldn't wait until I got to see my girlfriend.

How does all of that play into today's post? Well my senior year I had a roommate named Andy. He was a great roommate and we got along great. We had known each other pretty much since our freshman year. His family even invited me to an A&M (Whoop shout out to my Aggie buds) game against Arkansas in Little Rock one year. I have to admit I liked the Aggie traditions.

Anyway, he, unfortunately, got me at my worst year but we still managed to have a good time. He had to put up with a lot of my grumpiness of being away from the woman I knew I was going to marry and he was really great to me. Better than I deserved actually.

We graduated and Andy and I, as is easy to do after college, got out of touch. In fact we didn't talk to each other or see each other for 13 years.

Then one day we got an email from an address that I didn't know. I thought about not opening it because I didn't know the address and I was afraid it might be some kind of virus. I stared at it a little bit and decided to open it. It was from Andy. He asked how we were doing and then shared that "they" would like to talk to us about our fundraising. We were leaving for Brasil the next year and still had a shortfall so it was a blessing to get his email.

We found out he received a Christian magazine at his work (one he had never received before). He was putting it in the trash when he looked at the cover. It was about a missionary to Brasil that had died. Andy decided to read about the man and as he looked through the magazine he saw an ad about our team. He saw me and he began to laugh (a common reaction from those that knew me in college).

Anyway, he reached out to us and I assumed that the "they" he was talking about was he and his wife. I was wrong. It was a business that he worked at. He and the owner (another guy that went to the same college we attended) asked us to come in and just share about our mission. They had been supporting some missionaries in Africa who had returned to the states and they were looking for new ways to use their tithe.

Since that day the company, and both of these guys, have been partners with us in what God is doing in Porto Alegre. Strong partners and not just financially.

Before we moved to Brasil my girlfriend and I went out to eat with Andy and his wife, Jennifer. It was the first time we had ever met her and we all just hit it off.

We come back to the states every two years and each trip back we go to Dallas to visit our buds. Every time we go back Andy and Jennifer offer up their house to us.

They have 4 kids. Caroline is the oldest and Jonathan, Sydney and Alexandra are triplets. Caroline is close to Carys' age and the triplets are Anderson's age. Our kids always have a great time when we go there.

We've come in and stayed a week with them on three different times. First time we had 5 kids (Giovanni wasn't born yet). Second time all 6 kids and this time 4 kids (Ansley is still in Brasil and Bronwyn is in college).

We invade their home and they always make us feel like it's our house. Even the kids don't complain about sharing rooms, toys or whatever. They even let us use their car to get around in. I don't know if most people assume our transportation is provided for us when we are stateside. It is not. We rely on the generosity of people in sharing a second or third car. These guys have always shared everything they have with us. Humbled and grateful are two words that come to my mind when we think of Andy, Jennifer and the kids.

One of the tough things about doing what we do is having a family in the states and a family in Brasil. You always have your heart ripped out when you have to say goodbye to one of those groups but that same thing also brings so much joy. As we said goodbye to our family in Brasil the Thomas' were welcoming our family and being our family at our first stop in Dallas.

They are an awesome family and are a great reminder to us of how good God's family is.

Thank you Thomas family for another incredible week! We can never repay your kindness to our family. We love you guys.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Big D to Huntsville

We left Dallas yesterday. Many more blogs to come about our time there but today we wake up in Huntsville, Alabama. City where my girlfriend grew up.

Our flight from Dallas left at 8:20 at night. When we made our plans in August we decided to stay in Dallas on Sunday as long as we could to be able to worship with a church family. It worked out just as we had planned and we were able to worship with our brothers and sisters at The Hills. We were uplifted and encouraged by our time with God's family there.

Anyway, after worship, we ate lunch, went to Andy and Jennifer's (more on them later) to finish packing and then Andy took us to the airport around 6.

We ate supper and then waited to board.

It had been a long day and some people were tired when we got on the plane.

Like these guys.

Like this cute girl (if you couldn't tell she was on her way out from the picture above).

But not this little 3 year old.

The photo above is of him kneeling down by his seat watching a t.v. show on our itouch. He was worn out but he couldn't get still long enough to go to sleep.

It was a battle until about 20 minutes before we landed. He finally agreed to lay down in my lap and about a minute later he was out.

It was a long, good day.

We had an awesome week in Dallas. Better than we could've imagined. God put many new people in our lives and we were blessed to see lots of old friends as well. Some we haven't seen in 20+ years.

I'm not a big conference person at all but I would love to come back to the Global Missions Conference again in 3 years. It was an amazing, encouraging and Spirit filled few days for us.

We now enjoy some time with grandparents and a week in Huntsville.

Lots more to share and we've only been in the states for a week.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Stole this quote from one of the conference speakers (Randy Harris) this week as he stole it from James Bryan Smith:

"You are a member of the kingdom of God and the kingdom of God is never in trouble."

Saturday, October 22, 2011

North Richland Hills, Texas

For those that don't know, our family is looking for a new sponsoring church as well as some supporting churches. This year has been a tough year for us financially as we lost about 40% of our support.

When all of that happened we turned to our friends at Missions Resource Network (MRN).

They have been an incredible encouragement to us as they've met with us weekly on Skype to help us learn more about the Disciple Making Ministry and how we can implement that when we return home in January. They've also encouraged us spiritually as we've begun looking for new support. And they've also helped us look for new support. They've given us names of people to get in contact with about becoming a financial partner. I don't know where we'd be if it weren't for MRN.

We were originally planning on coming back to the states in November and leaving in January. MRN encouraged us to come a little bit earlier. Why? Because they wanted us to attend the Global Missions Conference in North Richland Hills, Texas. They told us it would be encouraging to us and would be a good place for us to network and share about our needs.

This is a conference that is held every 3 years and it, literally, brings people from all around the world to share about missions.

I don't believe we could have done anything more important to us personally and for our ministry in Porto Alegre than to go to this conference right off the plane.

We were able to hear some great speakers from the states, from Kenya, from S. Africa and from Ghana. We worshipped in English for the first time in a long time. We got to see friends and fellow missionaries from Brasil. We ran into old friends of ours from college. Friends from A&M and friends from where we used to live. We had some good, deep conversations with people about what God is doing in POA and what our family needs are. The kids had great classes and made some friends. 

We also got to spend some good quality, face to face time with our family at MRN. We can't share how much we love those guys and how much they mean to us.

The entire week has been a huge blessing to our family.

We wanted to share about a specific person today and we'll try to share more specifics later on about our week.

After two days of searching for her, we finally got to see one of our most favorite people in the world.
Her name is Dottie and we got to know her a few years ago when she came to be a speaker at a conference we were at. She stayed in our house after the conference and we grew a deep love for her.

Dottie was a missionary to the Netherlands for many years. She now works for MRN as their director for missionary care.

She is wise, loving, caring and, like I said, one of our most favorite people in the world and that is not an understatement. I can't tell you how she has blessed our family. When we see her somehow God just transfers His peace to us through her. She is definitely a woman after God's own heart.

This is a long furlough and it's tough being away from home for so long but being able to spend time with people like Dottie is already making it worth it.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Dallas, Texas

Last night these goobers....
....drove in from Abilene to stay a night with us before going on to Austin.

Stephen got the Blume family welcome.

They went with us this morning to the Global Missions Conference and then we all went out to eat lunch before they had to leave.
We had a great, short visit with them.

Thanks Stephen for bringing our daughter to come see her family. Okay, we were glad to see you too.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Wylie, Texas

So I've decided to title some blogs during our furlough based on where we are when it happens.

Yesterday it happened in Wylie, Texas.

We were invited to eat lunch and hang out with these guys:
For those who don't know we lived with these guys in the same city and did ministry together in Brasil for 5 years.

It's Sascha and Jennifer Terry and their little girls (Elisa and Kira).

They left Brasil in the beginning of 2009 but continue to keep up with and know what is going on with their church family there.

We had a great time, had great food and great conversations with them yesterday. I love how time and distance can't mess up God's family. It's been a while since we've been with them physically but it seems like they never moved away.

We will always be together in Spirit.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

15-Part 2

We burned through the birthday boys list yesterday.

Go eat donuts......

Come back home and open presents......

Go bowling.......

Go eat hamburger and fries......

Go to FC Dallas soccer game (check out the cute girl walking next to my son).....

Everyone bailed on the game except me and my girlfriend which was fine because the little guys were tired from our trip and it was a little cold and windy at the game.

Even though Dallas got beat 3-0 and it was way different than the soccer we are used to,

we couldn't wipe the smile off of Garrett's face as he talked about how much fun he had.

He had a good day.

Oh yeah, I left out number one on his list. Working out together.

Well, you can't get everything you ask for you.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Today our oldest son turns 15. 

The 15th birthday is a big deal in South America. We wish we could have done something with his buds back at home today but God planned for us to be in Dallas, Texas on this special day. 

Garrett has always been super laid back in just about every aspect of his life (except being late for soccer practice or an Inter game.....then he turns into Rain Man) and he's been like that about this birthday. I think we've been more worked up about him not getting to celebrate with his best friends than he's been. He's understood the mad rush that we had to do to get everything ready for our trip to the states and took it all in stride. 

Anyway, we continue our tradition of allowing the birthday child to pick the day's activities. Here is what he has come up with so far for today:

1) Work out with me. (He wants to get stronger for soccer and I told him my PT background has been dormant long enough. We'll work out together on this furlough and he wanted to start today.)
2) Go eat doughnuts. (Always important to refuel with good/healthy food after a tough workout)
3) Come back and open presents. 
4) Go bowling. (Not much bowling going on in Brasil. It exists but if we went to those places we would pay a fortune.)
5) Go eat a good hamburger, fries and milkshake. (More important refueling after stated workout.)
6) Go to the FC Dallas (professional soccer team) game tonight. (We love soccer.)

Jennifer, our friend in whose house we are staying this week, gave us good places to go for all the above. 

So being in a super cool big city has helped to ease the pain of not being home with his buds. Especially when you can find tons of junk food to eat that we don't have in Brasil. I mean, come on, he is 15. 

As is our tradition on special days we allow the family to share some stuff about the birthday person:

Giovanni (translated by his mom): " Garrett, thanks for taking care of me and especially for playing with me.  I LOVE to play cars with you.  You are an awesome big brother.  I wuv you."

Anderson: "He is a Colorado doente. He plays soccer VERY good. He is younger than he looks. Sometimes he loses his kooks (mind). He's a very nice brother but sometimes he bugs me but he's still important to me no matter what."

Carys: "He is so cool and awesome. I love to play and wrestle with him."

Ansley:  "I miss you Garrett and I know you are having tons of fun!! Eat a couple of donuts for me!! By the way... I am still taller than you. happy birthday!!

Bronwyn: "Happy birthday Garrett! I hope you have a really cool day. I wish I was there with you, but I'm so excited to see you in a few days. I love you, and maybe someday you can take me down. Maybe."

Girlfriend: "Garrett, I could not ask for a better son than you.  I love you so much and am so proud of you in every way.  I know that God is going to bless you and that you will be a great example for a lot of people in your life.  And.... you give the BEST foot massages in the world (come to think of it.... isn't it getting about time for another one of those???) "

Me: "I remember going to the hospital for your birth and wanting another girl. From the day we got married mom and I always wanted lots of kids. Before you, all I knew were girls and I loved it. I remember, after Bronwyn and Ansley were born, only wanting 2-3 more girls.....and then you showed up. All Boy!!  My little chubby baby who loved to put on the Batman cape and run around buck naked in the house. My sports buddy who likes any kind of sports (to watch and play). My army guy "set up" man. My wrestling buddy (even though you still CAN NOT take me down). My "want to read everything all the time on the internet about Inter" soul mate. My man that does all the "guy stuff" with me. I still love having girls and always will but God showed me, through you, how much more stuff he had planned for me through having boys and girls. I love that we do all the guy stuff together but there are things about you that are way more important than those things. You are almost as big as me now and have become my co-protector of the girls in our house. You protect your mom and sisters and I love that. I love your laid backness. That quality will serve you well in life. I love that you've always been compassionate and felt for those in need. I love that you've taught me way more about the importance of persistent and consistent prayer than I could ever have taught you. You have been my prayer role model. Thank you! Our family is very blessed to have you in it. I'm glad God gave me boys and that you are the example to the other little men in our house." 

Monday, October 17, 2011

We Made it

We arrived safely in Dallas this morning.

All flights were smooth and on time.

Thank you for your prayers for our safety.

We'd like to ask you to pray for Ansley who is still in Brasil and will be there for 3 more weeks before joining us in the states. Please pray for her to feel God's presence every day.

Also please pray for Bronwyn. We called her today after we arrived and found out she has a bad stomach virus. Please pray for her to have a quick recovery.

Thank you for praying for our safety and thanks, in advance, for praying for our girls.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Travel Prayer

A few days ago a dear brother in Christ sent us an email. I would share his name but he is a man of humility and I know he wouldn't want that or feel comfortable with that. The only words on his email were a prayer that he prayed for our family about our trip to the states. We leave this afternoon and would be blessed if you prayed the same prayer for our family. Thank you, in advance, for praying for us. We look forward to seeing how God will work and move in our lives during our time there.

Here is his prayer:

"I ask you to give the Blumes a safe and joyous trip to the US.  Protect them during their visit to the states and give them wisdom to know your heart for them during this visit.  Show them the doors you have opened for them and the wisdom to walk away from the doors you have closed.  Protect the house churches during their trip and may they meet in the power and anointing of Holy Spirit.  Protect the Blume property while they are away and particularly bless Ansley and protect her by the power of the name of Jesus.  Let this time be a time of renewal for them as they visit family and friends.  I ask you to increase your anointing on them and speak through them the Ramah words for the time and place.  I speak your peace to them during their travels.  Provide for all of their needs according to your richness in Heaven.  We love you Father and we worship you and in the name of Jesus we ask. Amen."

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Last Days

Yesterday was the kids' last day of school before we travel to the states.

Giovanni came home with a picture of him and his classmates and all the work for his school year.

He was blessed to have Janete (on the left) and Talita as his teachers.

Anderson had Janete as his first teacher 4 years ago and we love her.

Anderson had a great day as well as he came home with a book of pictures that his classmates had drawn just for him.

His teacher, Vanessa, gave him her email and asked for him to get in touch with her frequently, while on our trip, so she could tell the class what he was doing.

Here he is with Vanessa, some of his buds and the book they made just for him.

He also took a picture with his teacher from last year, Fernanda.

We had to wait for 10 minutes before we could leave because everyone had to give him one last hug.
On our walk home he said, "Dad, I can't wait to get back home in January. Imagine the kinds of hugs I'm going to get when I get back."

Carys' class had a going away party for her last night. Her whole class was invited to go to one of her closest friends house to tell her bye. She spent the night with her friend. I'm sure they stayed up most of the night.

Garrett came home from school and, with a smile on his face, said, "I've never been hugged so much in my life."

One of the things we love about Brasil is the affectionate way the teachers teach. They hug and kiss each student as they enter school each day and as they leave.

Yesterday Janete and Vanessa thanked us for the opportunity to be the teachers of our kids. This came from their hearts and they say it to every parent at the end of the school year and they really mean it. It's not just words, they teach and love on kids in a way we've never seen in the states (and my girlfriend was a school teacher for 10 years). It's a very cool thing to see.

After thanking us for being able to teach our kids, Janete, Talita, Vanessa and Fernanda all hugged and kissed us as well. It's how we greet people and say goodbye. My girlfriend and I were talking later about how just our normal greeting is something we really love about raising our kids in Brasil.

We are so blessed to have such good schools and good teachers.

Yesterday Ansley got a Typhoid Fever shot to get ready to go to Ecuador. She's been getting lots of shots lately to prepare for her mission trip.

My girlfriend and I spent a few hours on the streets (business meeting, canceling certain bills, telling people bye, grocery store, etc). We have more to do on the streets today and then we begin the fun chore of packing. We always laugh when people ask us days in advance if we are packed. That's not us.

Yesterday was a tough day to say goodbye to everybody but the great way everyone loved on our kids made it easier for us and for them to be ready to get on the plane tomorrow.

My girlfriend and I have had phone calls from friends telling us they want to come by our house to give us a hug before we leave.

Saying goodbye to your home for 3 months is tough but I guess Anderson's words are for all of us. "Imagine the kinds of hugs we are going to get when we get back."

We are blessed to have our family on 2 continents.