A few days after returning from Branson, Chad and I left with our church's youth group for a quick missions trip. This is our second year working with the youth group and each summer, the group goes on a missions trip of some kind. Last summer, they went to Joplin, MO to help with tornado cleanup. This year we went to Voice of the Martyrs (VOM) in Bartlesville, OK. VOM helps Christians around the globe who are being persecuted for their faith. They provide medical assistance, food, clothing, and other forms of aid to these people. Also, they help inform Christians in the US about the persecution happening abroad and what we can do to help. Our volunteer work while there wasn't earth shattering by any means (mostly stuffing envelopes, shrink wrapping materials, etc.), but was a great trip, because it opened our eyes to what other Christians in the world have to face and how much we take for granted. We are posing here in front of a memorial "Wall of Martyrs". It listed different Christians who have perished and either a brief story about them or a quote from them at the time of their death.
This is a Bible that was burned. It was the pictured girl's Bible.
If you can read the caption below it explains these objects. The burned microphone was from a church that was burned to the ground.
The reunion was only a couple of hours from Branson, so afterwards we headed there for 2 days. I am a pa.the.tic. mother and have basically no pictures to show for it. Not even one fun family vacation photo. Basically, we did a little shopping, checked out the Titanic Museum, and walked around on the strip. The second night we were there, there was a fireworks show following a free outdoor concert. Luke loves fireworks, (so does his mama), so we headed there. He said his tummy was hurting but was trying to be brave because he really wanted to see the fireworks. He may or may not have vomited in the street. You can judge us if you want, but we stayed and watched the fireworks anyway which made everyone happy! He threw up again the next morning (the day we were supposed to drive home!). We milked every last moment in our hotel room before having to check out, dreading being in a car with a sick child. We headed out around 11:30, and within a couple of hours he was good as new! So...24 hour bug?? Reaction to being in too much heat?? We don't know but were so thankful it didn't last long! So we took our time driving home trying to stretch out our short vacation, stopping to check out a Bass Pro shop in Columbia, MO, and then a random spontaneous stop at Big Brutus in West Mineral (nowheresville), KS. What is Big Brutus you might ask? That would be the largest electric shovel in the world (16 stories tall). Isn't that exciting?? Well, not to me, but it is to my 3 year old son and my 30 year old husband! Here are the boys sitting inside the bucket.
Some size perspective.
Fortunately, it wore them out, and we had a few hours of peace driving home!
And, though we didn't plan for it, we drove into our hometown just in time to watch our local 4th of July fireworks only blocks away from our house. It turned out to be a great day! :)
We've had a busy month! We brought in July by heading to Missouri for a family reunion. It.was.hot. Despite the sweltering heat, we had a nice time. Pictured below are my siblings. It's not very often we are in the same place other than at Christmas!
This is my mom with 6 of her 7 siblings.
These are the great-grandchildren of the family (a small portion of them anyway).
Here's our clan!
We checked out the paddle boats. Luke was in heaven riding with Uncle Matt. He still talks about how "fast" they were and how they won the "race". Adam didn't really share his enthusiasm.
Like I said, it was hot, so we were either in the water or in the A/C! I'm glad we went and we had a great time reconnecting with family we don't see very often!