Friday, 3 June 2016

USA Trip Update from the Road!

 HEY ALL! I know it has been a while since we updated you guys... we have been on the road for quite a while. God has been so good... we've done over 10,000 miles so far, and gone through over 20 states! Our trip has gone well, car has run smoothly, and we have been so encouraged by the saints all over the United States! We are so thankful for all of you who have helped make us feel so welcome and sent us on our way! SO, here are a few pictures from the first half or so of our EPIC road trip! 

From Missouri, we headed out on April 1st (seriously we did), for Oklahoma City. It was good to see family and reconnect with friends there as well! 
Our friends, the Nichols, stopped by to hear our presentation and see us while we were there! 

The folks at Northwest Church of Christ are some of our favorite people! They are always a tremendous encouragement! We are grateful for such tremendous ministry partners, 

While I have been teaching and preaching a lot, it is nice to have a chance to be spiritually encouraged and fed with the Word. Really enjoyed Kent's Sunday School class, as well as Bill's sermon at Northwest! 

Rocking our Africa wear! Isn't my wife lovely?!?
Our dear sister Claudia introduced us to this lady from Cameroon who works in OKC! It was such fun to meet her and talk so Pidgin together! 
From Oklahoma, we headed south to Texas. Along the way, we got to stop for lunch and see my cousin Savannah, who I haven't seen since she was in middle school! She is now studying Law at Baylor, and is a wonderful young woman. 

While the food is great, the roads nice, and the comforts enjoyable, it's the brethren and family in Christ that we have most enjoyed about our trip to the US. 

Mark and his wife Sharon showed us some wonderful Texas-sized hospitality! It was a lovely time down in Austin!
While in Texas, we had a chance to meet up with Brittney's Aunt Brenda who lives in San Antonio. This was her first time to meet Carys, and the kids really enjoyed it. 

Being on the road and with so many people sharing such wonderful food, we have been trying to hit the gym when we get the chance. The couple that works out together, works out! :D 

Cascading connections! Mark introduced us to friends in Arkansas, where we stopped to visit Harding University. The Roberts were so kind as to open up their home to strangers and share their lives with us. 
Got to meet up with Ryan at Harding. He was the youth minister at Northwest for many years, but taught this year at Harding. Had an encouraging chat over coffee together! 

Some more folks that we met in Arkansas who we'd known elsewhere- the Bassay family! They are studying at Harding, but are from Cameroon. It was a sweet little taste of home. 

From Arkansas, we headed to Tennessee, where we met friends... 

The Risk family were a great encouragement to us! What a blessed couple of days we spent together! 
After Tennessee, we headed south... WAY down south, to visit the Hartford family in Florida! It was our first time down in the Sunshine State, and it was truly lovely (except for the gators, but they were interesting in their own way!) We were blessed by the time together and the tremendous spiritual discussions we could share.
We also enjoyed seeing the Maher's who serve at Teen Missions International. They helped us to get our paperwork for Cameroon several years ago. We appreciate their heart for missions. 

The food HAS been pretty amazing... whether it is our first time to try Vietnamese fare (thanks to the Hartfords) or the fabulous barbecue I've eaten (so far, I think I have had barbecue in 7 or 8 states... it has been a good trip, ha ha). We even had a complete stranger come up and pay for this amazing barbecue meal. 
A little over 10 years ago, I left Marist College for Ghana to get married to Brittney. I have not seen any of my friends that I had there... until this trip! It was great to catch up with Maggie and Dan who are now in Florida as well! What a fun couple they are. 
Another cool stop along the way was seeing Beth Barrow in Georgia. Brittney used to do Bible studies with her many years ago when she was a volunteer in Ghana. We got to try some gator tail with her!

I would not be doing missions were it not for this man right here: my Grandpa Hostetter. In 1966 he and his family headed to Africa to send the Light of the Gospel. My son Jonathan is the 4th generation of Hostetter guys to be on the mission field in Africa now! So glad I could see Grandpa and my Grandma and for their legacy of faith. 
Equally encouraging and as important to my development, my Grandparents Broyles were a highlight of our trip. Grandma's cooking is the real deal! We really felt at home with them.

We had a berry good time with Grandma and Grandpa Broyles! 

You could say missions and ministry "runs in the family." My cousin Dave and his wife Katie serve with Maritime Ministries, a mission which reaches boaters and those who cruise up and down the inter-coastal waterways. They are sailing their way to Maine right now.  Proud of the heart for God that my cousin and his wife have! 

It was good to also see Jackson, my brother-in-law, again. He is a student at Mid-Atlantic Christian University. As a side note, you can tell Grandma was feeding me good... :D 
It is rather amusing the number of snakes we have seen on our trip. This is one of at least 3 different species we've seen (one was a copperhead, then there was a group of water-snakes in Viriginia). Can anyone identify this species? Fortunately, we haven't seen any cobras yet (except maybe at the zoo). 

Their ain't no cookout like a Broyles' family cookout! Great times with family! 

Got to preach in North Carolina and see our friends the Sarpongs, who were in Ghana with us a number of years ago. This congregation supports our coworkers, the Harrises. (Check them out: 
Another wonderful family visit was with the Thomas family in Abingdon Virginia. Brittney's family are pretty neat folks, and our time with them and their congregation was super cool.  The cousins are all super sweet, and we even got to catch a baseball game too! Thanks so much for hosting us! 

We were privileged to present at Woodland Hills in Virginia where are family are. It was an encouraging time sharing with them about the work and our lives in Cameroon. 

From Virginia, we were headed up to New York. We really enjoyed getting to stop over in Pennsylvania and visit brethren there. We had a lovely time of fellowship and sharing about our work. This congregation had probably the highest child to adult ratio of any we've visited outside of Cameroon, as there are several large families there, so our kids had an especially fun time! 

10 years ago, I was a student at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, New York. It was a blessing to be able to return to Poughkeepsie and visit with the saints there, to be able to preach there as well. Got to reconnect with and meet some really cool folks. 

Our next stop on the way was in Ohio, and it turned out that if we took a 2 hour detour, we could see the mighty Niagra Falls. It was an awe-inspiring experience. God is an amazing God, and his handiwork inspires awe and appreciation. While our trip has been long, and there have been many many hours sitting in the car, we have also had some amazing experiences, seen some beautiful scenery, and most of all enjoyed face-to-face time with family both physical and spiritual. 
We will try and update you about the rest of our trip in a month or so, but hope you enjoyed catching up with the first half of our journeys. We appreciate all the prayers and support on our journeys, and thank God for seeing you all. Please keep us in your prayers, as we travel, that God will keep us safe, help supply our needs for this journey, and those things we need to be most effective in Cameroon. Thanks for reading and see you soon.