Flight from Salt Lake to Chicago

               Joseph and I are on the flight from SLC to Chicago.  Last night we stayed at the Sheraton near the Salt Lake airport, then arose at 5:00am after a very restless night’s sleep.  When we checked in we found that United didn’t have a flight for us, which was strange, since we had booked it a month before. But they quickly found an American Airlines flight that left an hour earlier. {Erika: "Good thing they got up so early!"} It was a little more hassle for us to get all of the arrangements made, but we made it through and to the gate, just in time to board.  This will give us an extra hour in Chicago. {Erika: "famous last words!"} 
              Our suitcases came in just under weight at 49.5, 49, 48.5 and 46.  The lighter suitcase was packed full so we couldn’t get any more weight in it.  I was relieved because I thought that two of our suitcases would be overweight. {Erika: The suitcases were full of items for an orphanage in Addis Ababa (see www.whereloveis.org) that Joseph collected for his Eagle Scout project. They contained over 300 children's books, two dozen sports uniforms, as well as vet supplies and the clothing and supplies that Joseph & Lonny would need on the trip. I think they did very well to get so much with only 2 passengers checking baggage!}
              The past month and a half have gone by very quickly.  It has been a busy time for work and a very enjoyable time with my family. One of the biggest challenges that I face is the enormity and variability of the assignment that I have. I often go to my knees and plead for divine guidance and support.  I recognize that over the years the Lord has blessed me with many opportunities that have helped prepare me for this adventure. I am overwhelmed with the miracles that I have seen already, some easily recognizable others almost imperceptible. I feel very honored to be in such a position.  I have to thank my wonderfully supportive wife, Erika, that helps me to see that with the Lord’s help I can achieve the goals that are set before me.
              The past couple of weeks I have been reading the biography of George Washington.  He is one of the greatest men to live on this earth.  He served this country so unselfishly during some of the most difficult circumstances imaginable.  He recognized his human frailties, and diligently sought divine help to buoy up his weaknesses.  It has given me great strength to read of his great life of service. George Washington’s biography reminds me that I have to humbly do my part if I want to help in some small way to benefit the Ethiopian people. 
              The time at home went fast.  I met with Roy Silcox and Jared McNaughton to review my embryo program and results.  They were very helpful and gave me some good ideas to think about.  I helped Jared out on a couple of flushes to keep my skills honed.  I met with Steve Larsen, who put together a good bid for building a cheese processing facility in Ethiopia.  I contacted Steven Smith at DHIA about getting some software for tracking dairy records for Genesis farms.  I put together a couple of presentations regarding my work in Ethiopia.  I had quite a bit of correspondence with Abera coordinating work in Kokosa.  I also emailed with the researchers, and in fact, one of my best Christmas presents was when Dr. Tamrat informed me that they had successfully flushed two cows and recovered four embryos!  I am anxious to see how the other transfers went.  If they all did well, then my plan is to implant as many embryos as I can, with their technicians doing a lot of the work.  I would love to get all of the embryos implanted this time.