SoWT #4 for the 4th: back from the Panhandle

Well, we are back! It was a fun Fourth of July.
As I said before, we went to the musical "Texas," which was great, as always. They had special fireworks at the end and a parade of all of the state flags (with about 20 Texas flags in front and back, naturally.)
We stayed in Canyon that night and drove up to Perryton Saturday morning. J.W. and Beth’s house was awesome. Beth is a very talented decorator (and chef!). 🙂  we hung out at their house and caught up with them for a bit, then my dad and J.W. went to pick up my uncle Ron (another of my dad’s 11 siblings). We girls went to Sonic to get the new chillers. (they were ok, but not great if anyone’s interested).
We met back up at the fireworks stand where we were greeted by a surprise. When my sister and I got out of the car, two of the ladies running the stand ran up and hugged us and told us how grown-up we were! Beth explained that they are our first cousins, our uncle Wayne’s daughters. They said we had met before but my sister and I couldn’t remember them at all. In our defense, when kids are very young and only see their 30ish cousins and 20ish aunts and uncles once a year it is really hard to remember who they’ve met and who they haven’t. These particular cousins kind of disappeared off the radar after Uncle Wayne died years ago. They had both been married and had kids our age and younger so I met second cousins I had definitely never even known about before.  
Well we left them to man the fireworks stand and went back to get ready for dinner. A young local teacher that J.W. disciples came over for dinner and fireworks. We had a blast (literally, haha). He talked about his camping program at the alternative high school where he teaches and his experiences with at-risk kids. It was amazing to here him talk about his everyday job and the ministry he is doing just by being a mentor for these kids who have no one else in the world. It’s awesome to me to see the effect J.W. is having on him and through him, on these teenagers.
We talked about different church structures and how small groups are really taking off. It’s funny because my parents were so impressed that J.W. would take an hour a week to meet with this guy when that’s what I’ve been doing with Heather, and then Alyssa, for about a year. In fact, I’ve been told I’m going to be leading a similar thing this next year. It was really cool to see that in other places as well.
After all our deep talk and dinner, (poor guy barely got a chance to eat), the men shot off the fireworks down by the playa lake while we girls watched from the porch. They must have been cheaply made because the stand blew off after a couple of shots and then the tube blew up completely a little later, lol! The guys were all still laughing so we knew no one got seriously hurt, but it was kinda scary to watch, big green explosion that it was.
We gave up and did sparklers after that, then went to bed. The room my sister and I got to sleep in was all decorated in Disney (they are as obsessed as, or maybe more than, we are) so we were pretty happy. haha. Made us want to go back to the magical place.
We went to church with them this morning, which was cool, because we got to see just how influential they are there. Everyone knew and loves them. The preacher was on a mission trip so they had the BSM director from WTAMU preaching. He was really good! He seems like he would be a great college pastor.
After church and lunch with Aunt Beth’s parents, my family and I headed back to Clovis. I didn’t get nearly as far on my reading as I should have, but I still have two days, a full morning of traveling to DFW, an afternoon-long layover and a nine hour plane ride to go so I’m not too worried.
Now the main task of my life is packing. Getting everything in my  backpack and suitacase is going to be really hard. It still doesn’t seem real that I’m going to be on another continent for 35 days.



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