// U.S. Trip // Part Two

DISCLAIMER: If you’re subscribed to this blog and are hoping only for updates from Australia, I’m sorry. This is the last U.S. update. I will be posting an Australian update very soon, but some people wanted to hear about our U.S. trip, therefore I obliged.

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I take a break from studying and visitors to update you quickly on the last two weeks of my U.S. Trip.

 So, my cousin Kenneth found a really lovely girl (Charis, by name) from Kansas and decided to fall in love with her. They mutually decided to get married and have a wedding. This was the main reason why we decided to go back to the States. I stayed in Ohio for a few days after David & Carolyn travelled to Georgia, then I flew to Kansas a week before the wedding.

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The rumors are true. Kansas is really, really flat!

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A blurry picture of the happy bride and groom with us, the flower arrangers. It was so, so special to be with these people before the wedding for a few days.

Unfortunately, I really don’t have many photos of the wedding. It was such a beautiful day, a testimony of God’s faithfulness and His goodness to them. It was a simple celebration, full of happiness, smiles and music, and I am so thankful we got to be there to see them commit to each other for life.

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After the wedding, all of the Kauffman family travelled out to Arkansas where one of my uncles lives with his family. We rented a pontoon one day and enjoyed a day on the river.

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After Arkansas, we travelled down to Georgia, but swung through Alabama on our way to Georgia. Alabama is our home-state pre-Australia, so it was fun to see some old haunts and catch up with a few old friends and neighbors. And it was so fun to be with our cousins for hours-on-end while we drove. We made lots of happy memories.

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Georgia summers are hot and gorgeous. We spent a lot of time outside. My little cousins took me on a Gator ride back to their farm one afternoon and taught me how to hop hay bales.

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Blueberries were in season over our time there, just as we had hoped they might be. My aunt bought a huge box of them for just a few dollars and we helped her sort through them for freezing and in the process, experienced a major antioxidant overdose.

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I got to fly up to Lancaster (PA) and spent parts of two wonderful days with this dear friend and her husband. Lancaster is fascinating and beautiful.

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This afternoon with this family was pretty much perfect. We miss them so much since they moved back to the States. They drove several hours just to meet my cousin and I near Atlanta and spend an afternoon with us. We ate ‘barbecue’ (and fried okra!!) for lunch, caught up on their lives since moving back to the States and talked all-things-Australia. It was refreshing.

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David and Carolyn left nearly a week before I did. During the last week of my stay, I helped out at my uncle’s sandwich shop, went shopping with my aunt and grandma, ate Mexican food, and finished up shopping for my family.

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I love this little family. She’s my favourite (and only) Kauffman aunt and has a dear husband and children. They took me to church on Sunday, ate barbecue with me and dropped me off at the bus station so I could be taken to the airport.

Just because I can, I’m going to go on a little bunnytrail and share two stories from my time in the States which reminded me how much Jesus loves to answer prayer and how much He cares about little things.

On one flight from one place to another (there were a lot of those), I was sitting in an empty row of seats. Earlier in the flight, I had asked Jesus to give me a chance to tell someone about Him. I was sitting in my seat, journalling, when a lady stopped beside my seat, iPad in hand, waiting for her turn in the toilet. I don’t know if I showed my amusement over the fact that she clearly intended to take the iPad with her to the bathroom, or what, but somehow we struck up a conversation. In the course of the conversation, I must have said something about my iPhone and how much I like it, because, after her toilet trip, she plopped down beside me and asked, “So….which religion are you a part of that allows you to have an iPhone but makes you wear that thing on your head?”. (I hope it’s not rude that I laughed when she meant it in all seriousness). I told her I’m a Christian and explained why I wear ‘that thing’, and then discovered that she’s a Universalist and believes all paths lead to Jesus–Jesus did says He’s the Way, but that is just one religious leader saying that, while all other religious leaders say the same thing and are just as credible. She grew up with a Christian religion of some sort, but hasn’t seen fruit of Jesus changing anyone of her acquaintances and doesn’t believe His followers offer anything more attractive than other religions offer. It was sad to hear her all-too-common story of being turned off of Jesus because of His followers. I am grateful that it was at least a chance to share about Jesus, His character, and His expectation for His followers even though she seemed very settled in her own beliefs. Who knows what influence sharing simple truth about Him might have in her heart?

While preparing to fly back home, I had to juggle a lot of stuff to bring back. I packed quickly before leaving for the States (I finished exams one afternoon, and had a few hours to get ready to leave for a month) and wasn’t very wise with space. While in the States, I did shopping, both for myself and for gifts for my family. Between those gifts, clothes, the many journals I bought on special (who can resist buying necessities when they’re on special?) and the 25+ books my sister ordered for me to bring back, I began to rapidly fill up my suitcases. I weighed the bags at my grandparent’s home and they were just under the maximum limit. I took a bus into the airport. It was raining on the way there, but everything was going smoothly until suddenly our driver slammed the brakes and just, just stopped in time to avoid crashing into the car just in front of us, while the car behind us swerved around us to avoid crashing into us. The bus was dead quiet. 🙂 Thankfully, we made it safely. I took my bags up to the check-in counter and a friendly guy began weighing my bags. Apparently my grandparent’s scales were wrong because I was several pounds over the limit. Of course, I got scared because Delta charges a lot of money for extra baggage. The guy who was helping me must’ve seen the worried look on my face and shrugged and said, “It’s alright. Normally, I’m supposed to charge you $100 for those few pounds, but I’m so not in that mood today” and he waved me through.

 I hope you all have a wonderful day/night.

IMG_6704While I love travelling, and I loved being in the U.S., these three faces at airport were such a happy sight. Coming home is the best feeling!

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