Minneola, Kansas

 
Friday night, we pulled into our friends' driveway in windy Minneola, Kansas.  It didn't take long for everybody to be hugging necks, visiting, playing games, and making music together.
 

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Saturday morning, we started getting ready for the houseful of company that was going to be coming and going all day long. 


For the guys, that meant playing football while the meat smoked in preparation for supper.

 
And the girls worked to get lunch ready for this hungry, sweet, rowdy crew.


This precious family has a load of chickens.  And those chickens' eggs singlehandedly support the Lavukaleve translation project.  Let me tell you, we pray for those chickens.

 
Those eggs pay for the gasoline that our translation team uses to get together.  The eggs pay for printing copies of whatever the team translates.  If money is there for anything those amazing Lavukal translators do, it's because chickens are laying eggs.  And the small boys who own the chickens are generously giving to support Bible translation on the other side of the world.

 
I don't know the last time we were able to get a picture with every member of both the Choate and the Conard families in it, but since we had some extra hands, we took the opportunity for everybody to be included in the photo.

 
After lunch, some of us went back to making music,
 
 
 some of us went back to cooking

 
sweet potato pies (three different recipes!),

 
and some of us went back to playing outside.

 
I'm so grateful that these kids treat us as if we really were part of their family.  They let us scoop them up and give them big hugs in a big, crazy, trusting kind of way which isn't common.  Especially considering we only see this sweet family only occasionally.  In fact, we hadn't seen Shawn since we left to go back to the Solomon Islands in 2013.
 

The supper guests began trickling in early enough to join in the football game.

 
The house was full of children.  Eighteen to be exact.  And ten adults, too.  It was loud, full of life, and lovely.
 

 
When the guests left, the remaining children snuggled down to read and get ready for bed.


Sunday morning, Minneola United Methodist Church invited us to share with them again.


They've been an encouragement to us during our time serving in the Solomon Islands,
 

and it's always fun to go back and see familiar faces and catch up with people.




 

After a potluck Thanksgiving lunch, Gayly took our family out for a photo shoot.  I think we could make a stand up comedy routine.  What a gift she gave us with her knowledge and camera and time and energy.
 
 
We finished the day by playing together.  What joy!
 
 
And these guys.  Involved daddies.  Loving husbands.  Running around the playground playing tag until everybody was out of breath and rosy cheeked.
 


 



The sun was creating its golden hour, when everybody shines with that beautiful light and life seems a little bit sweeter.


I can't imagine a more perfect way to end the day.
 

Except going home to drink hot chocolate and snuggle with the dog.

 
 
Eating broccoli two-fisted is high on the list of ways to end the perfect day, too.
 

As is snuggling with your buddy while she reads a book to you.

 
Monday morning (and real life) came too soon, and as we started to pull out of the driveway, the moms realized we never got that picture together.  The nice cameras were packed up, so a phone selfie helped us capture the friendship that we share.  We left feeling encouraged and loved, with hearts expanded and souls strengthened to do whatever God calls us to do.  Thank you, faithful friends.

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