The Ethiopian Cowboy Rides Again!

The time has come for Lonny to head off on his second journey to Ethiopia! We have had a wonderful 2 months with him, and we have been so busy doing fun things with our Dad that we haven't made the time to post any pictures or anything else! And there are TONS of pictures to post, so I will post them over the next 5 weeks as we get news of his new adventures. This will probably actually be a blessing in disguise, because it is extremely difficult for Lonny to send pictures over the internet from Ethiopia, due to restricted & slow access. SO, it will be good to have a whole database of pictures to use that will match with his stories. So, no worries, you haven't missed you'll get to start hearing from us again!

Lonny is headed off early Wednesday morning, and to avoid having to get up at a ridiculous hour, Lonny & I are going up to a hotel near the airport in Salt Lake City tomorrow evening. So, tonight is Daddy's last night with the family until Thanksgiving Eve! We've had a nice evening, and a nice American meal of cheesy meatloaf, courtesy of Jessica's cooking. was really delicious! Then we gathered as a family and discussed our Christmas plans.

This year we're going to do something different, a simpler Christmas, in honor of the wonderful people of Ethiopia. Ever since our involvement with this International project began, we have become more acutely aware of how blessed we are, and how little so many people in the world have.

SO - for this Christmas we decided to do a three-part plan:
1. We traded names to choose someone in the family to secretly MAKE a gift for. The only rule is that it needs to be something that you spent significant time on, that will be cherished by the other person.

2. We're going to spend the next two months thinking of gifts that we can give to the baby Jesus. We'll give these gifts by doing acts of service for others, and then writing down what we did on a piece of paper (anonymously), which will be dropped into a large wrapped gift box that will be under our Christmas tree. On Christmas Eve we'll read all of the gifts we have given to Jesus, and see how much service has been given in his name.

3. We are going to do some kind of significant financial donation to a worthy cause, using the money that would have normally been spent on Christmas gifts. We are going to gather ideas over the next month, and then make a decision on Thanksgiving about what will be done.

SO -- simpler Christmas for simpler times! Santa will still fill our stockings as usual, Mom & Dad will probably buy a gift or two for each child, and usually the kids make things at school for Mom & Dad. But in general, our Christmas will be cut way back from a normal year. What's the most amazing? Not ONE child has complained AT ALL! Wow, how about that! I thought I'd hear concerns about not getting all the presents they wanted. But not even one. I'm so proud of them. It's just another sign of how much this experience has changed our lives.

So, that's how our last night with the whole family together (at least for awhile!) went! I asked Lonny if he had any thoughts to share, and he said that when you are sitting in your comfortable homes, with your heaters or air conditioners, good food, clothing, electricity & other comforts of home, remember the Ethiopian Cowboy in his primitive surroundings! ;P

But most importantly, remember the people of Ethiopia who have so much less. Pray for them, that they will begin to catch a vision of what their country can become. Pray for Lonny that he will travel safely, and pray for us that things will go smoothly with our husband and father far away.

THANK YOU for all of your support, love and prayers!!!