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Friday, December 4, 2009

Our Conference and Celebrating American Thanksgiving in Portugal

Thank you all for your prayer support for our conference/retreat!  We had a wonderful time being refreshed through time in the Word and sessions with guest speaker, Pastor Dave Cortner, from Cherry Hill, New Jersey; through fellowship with our teammates, some of whom we do not get to see very often because the spread out locations of the 8 ABWE churches; and through the beauty of God's creation.

Jenny and Jeff Thomas led in worship throughout the week, and it was such a wonderful blessing!


Pastor Dave sharing with us on prayer.  It was such an encouragement!


Tammy leading the kids program of The Boomerang Express


Outback Jack welcoming everyone!


The hotel had a great kids' room that was perfect for their meetings.


It is a beautiful area.  I didn't know poinsettia trees existed!  Did you?



No bugle playing in the parking lot!


One night as a treat, a few of us went to an Irish restaurant.  The side of "Mushy Peas" made me laugh...and gag a little.


The view from our back door.  A little construction underway.

But turn to the right and what a sight!


Getting ready for Thanksgiving dinner!


Table decorations, complete with fall napkins and Chinet plates brought from the States.  (Thanks Tammy!)


Little Josiah hanging out with "Uncle" Doug (the MKs refer to the other missionaries as "Aunt" and "Uncle")


Three sweet MK girls - Luisa, Nina and Leah


Just as I was taking the picture, Noah did something to his sister, Ellen and friend, Keegan is caught in the middle.  Note the slightly mischievous look on Noah's face!  Hahaha :-)


Cal, me, and Joyce - sweet friends and respected boss :-)


New friend, Tammy McComb - praying she will raise all the funds she needs to come as a career missionary next year!!


 Kathy and Dave Cortner - our special guests!  (and John Rust enjoying conversation in the background :-)
 

And the feasting commenced!



Thank you, Kathy, for bringing these little packets of joy!!  (Starbucks on the go)


After the meal, field council director, Brian Dix, led us in a time of sharing and thanksgiving.


New friendships, new blessings - one of the many things for which I am thankful!!


The annual MKs  vs.  the Dads soccer game


There were two separate games, one with the younger kids and one with the teens.  Here, the teens waiting for their turn to take on the dads.  Dads, how did you last that long??


Little Noah, who so desperately wants to join in the game, dreams of when he can play with the big boys!


His favorite toy - bola!


Cheryl & Jack Shiflett - Sweet, sweet folks.  He serves as the head of  the Western Europe division at ABWE headquarters in PA, but it turns out he grew up in Birmingham, AL and is good friends with Frank Barker, pastor emeritus of Briarwood Presbyterian.  What a small world!


The skies looked promising for a beautiful sunset, so Tammy and I headed down to the beach.




And boy was it amazing!





Later that night we went to hang out with Chris, Catrina and Little Josiah.  We had frozen pizza and I found this soft drink in a grocery store there that carries some British products.  I'd never seen Dandelion & Burdock soda before.  It was interesting to try but probably won't do it again.  It was a cross between creme soda (which I like) and black licorice (which I am not a fan of).
 

They Skyped with their family and kindly let me use their computer to Skype with my folks who were in Indiana with other extended family.  It was neat to be able to do that!



He's a sweet little thing!



The next day I helped Tammy pack up her stuff from the children's program.  Do you know how hard it is to deflate a 5 foot kangaroo quickly???  Not easy!


It is team tradition to eat lunch at McDonalds on the last day on the way out of town.


Headed back home after a wonderful and refreshing week...some beautiful clouds on the horizon.


Thank you again for your prayer support for this week!  God really blessed, and it was a great time of encouragement for us all!




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