The days and nights since then have been filled with projects, chief among them for me is helping Dave complete the annual inspection on the super cub they use for the mission hospital. For Heidi, helping out at the hospital and hanger where ever needed has been her work de jouir. On the mundane side several of Heidi's hours were filled by plucking a pinch of cotton from a pile to make a cotton ball while listening to the fellow laborers talk, in Spanish, about all the goings on around the place. Heidi has also been asked to cut and paint and install trim in the guest bedroom and tend to the home made water filter that is being tested for use with the locals for personal use. We are stoked to feel needed and soaking up the experience, loving every minute of it!!
It is a good harvest this year, they will have corn through the winter. The peaches and apples have come in strong as well and canning will allow for more good food this winter. It is a privilege to be a part of this process. No machinery is available so the work is all done by hand. We hand shuck the corn on the plant, with sore thumbs to prove it, then toss the cob into a burlap bag to haul up to the cabin. We kick the stalk over when done and when the bag is full heave it to the shoulder and walk up the hill, climb the ladder, and add it to the drying pile!
The "disco" did come in handy in the middle of the days work. The "disco" did not provide just the right atmosphere for a party though in one sence I guess it did. It is a cast iron concave cooking pan with legs to straddle a fire. Dave's wife Delia made us an amazing lunch on the device and we ate like royalty under a juniper tree in a picturesque valley of the high sierra.
Back to the beginning. Our last few days in Portland with Laura were chuck full of activities. One of the highlights was running to Goodwill to grab a couple wallets to fake out the pickpocket's when a spontaneous cloths swap happened. We really felt bad about rousing Laura the morning we left at four AM to catch our six AM flight but we were off and made it to Chihuahua with out a problem and our bags followed like faithful puppies. Dave from Mexico Medical Mission, a college friend, met us at the airport after driving all the way from San Antonio, TX. After a spectacular drive through the high sierra and down through some rugged canyons we arrived at the mission hanger that we would call home for the next month.
"He was like a butterfly that flew over several flowers and landed on a cow pattie."
John the Menonite
In order to get Mom and Dad Robertson to ourselves for a day Heidi and I left early for Maupin Oregon before her brothers, Nathan and Jared, arrived. We filled our days with them seeing the sights including the local Bible camp, hiking the gorge, seeing White River Falls and scoping the Deschutes river for our rafting trip. When the boys showed we headed down to the river and Heidi and I tried our hands at the rapids first. The first section was punctuated by long flat stretches on the water where I became convinced that days in these little crafts might not be all that comfortable. The second half of our journey made me forget my aching legs and concentrate on navigating the walls of water ahead. Shooting the largest rapid just as planned we hooped and hollered as the family watched from shore. The good sections of river came in quicker succession and we rallied through them all. At the end Heidi didn't quite get up her speed and a big standing wave caught her and sent her over. A short swim later we met on shore with all our parts and pieces. Twenty pushups on the rocks made me the loser as neither of the boys flipped their rafts as they plied the same waters.
Alaska to Portland - October 3rd
Portland to Mexico - October 21st
Mexico to Thailand - November 18th
Thailand to Egypt - February 11th
Egypt to Kenya - February 27th
Kenya overland to South Africa
South Africa to Brazil - April 6th
Brazil overland to Peru
Peru to Panama - May 6th
Panama to Alaska May 15th
All right now you know, its your job to come! See you there!
When I think about the last few years and the year to come I think of Lyle's analogy of life being a river with many unknowns, rappids and whorlpools, shallow water and deep water. He is right I think, life, as God intended it, is an ADVENTURE! He intends for us to have an intimate, meaningful, completely fufilling relationship with Him where we take His out-stretched hand and willingly follow Him wherever He leads. He can lead into some crazy stuff, but there is a place inside us that desires that kind of adventure, the kind of adventure that has purpose, passion, meaning, value, the real gut wrenching stuff that cuts right to the heart and really means something because it cost something!! This kind of adventure, this kind of life attitude that is willing to abandon worldly security and comfort to follow a sometimes crazy God of the univeres is scary, terrifing, and risky. He could ask me to give up everything but that is still what we want! So, we find ourselves coming into another turn on our river and asking that the Lord will strengthen us and humble us to follow where He may lead.
Success is measured in many ways. We consider ourselves successful. We made it through the season and kept all our fingers, none of us left the boat unintentionally, Heidi and I are still married and love each other more than ever, and we caught that gigantic pile of fish we were praying for and more.
Maybe the married folk will relate but Heidi and I had so much time together through the salmon season and we enjoyed our time together but we seriously lacked the quality time that we were use to up to that point. Quantity doesn’t make up for quality I am finding. We have had a few days of rest recently and the chance to reconnect has been great. I have found a jewel of a woman, she is truly a Proverbs 31 woman!