Hello to all on the other side of the world! We are back into everyday life after a lovely six weeks furlough in the states in early summer.

We were so excited to finally meet the first grandchild who was a year and a half old already! That reunion was the sweetest out of them all, this summer. I can’t count the times I dreamt about wrapping her in my arms and squeezing her. It was surreal when I got out of the van and saw her in person. I gave Lori (the oldest and married of the Helmuths) a hug, but Avianna wasn’t quite so sure of us right away. It was so different to actually see this little girl walk around and know that you could reach out and touch her. It was like someone out of a book or movie became flesh. Thankfully, Avi warmed up to us pretty fast. Everyone was more than willing to take her to play or entertain her. (Lori and her husband Cordell Loewen live in Canada, and came to the U.S. to see the rest of the family).

We spent the next two weeks together with the family. We stayed at my uncles Airbnb, so we did a lot with them. We spent a couple afternoons at the park, disc-golfing, wading in the creek, playing games, and snacking on food. We went to the zoo one day, it was Avi, Alaina, and Forrest’s first time going to the zoo. It was so much fun to hear them exclaim about all the animals, and to see Avi’s pure joy on the merry-go-round. We cherished all the time that we had together, but it flew by so fast! Before we were ready for it, we were taking Cordell’s to the airport to say goodbye agian.

After they left, we packed all our belongings up again and headed to beautiful Tennessee to spend a week with Luke’s. This is where we are thinking of settling down when we move back to the states. So, it was really nice to be able to get to know church people a bit better. They were very welcoming and made us feel at home! It made a couple of my siblings excited about moving home to the U.S. again.

The guys worked on the job with Luke a couple days and helped out with other jobs that needed to be done. When there was nothing to do, I’d either read a book or go on long walks in the beautiful hills behind Luke’s house. In the evenings after the guys were done working, we’d play a game, make a campfire, or just sit around and talk. Luke wanted to have Khmer food one evening, so we invited a couple of youth from church over so they could try it. I tried my best to make do with the ingredients that I was able to find in town. It wasn’t quite right, but it was good. After supper, we hiked up to the bluffs to watch the sunset and ate root beer floats. It was a lovely sunset and we made good memories.

From Tennessee, we made our way to Ohio to spend the weekend with Dad’s side of the family for Grandad’s birthday. We had a lovely weekend together. The men thoroughly enjoyed a fishing trip on Lake Erie. I loved listening to the uncles retell stories from their childhood. We stayed in Ohio a couple days after everyone else left. I was able to meet up with both Lydia and Veasna. That felt like having a piece of home (Cambodia) with me.

We spent the last two weeks in the south with our home church family and uncle’s family aagain. One of the families from church was abroad for the summer doing mission work. They kindly offered us their house for the time that we were there. Some evenings we stayed at home, spending time with Ryan. I was so grateful for the time that I was able to spend with friends. We were also able to go to some of the youth events. It was time to come back before I was ready!

All of us enjoyed our time in the states. It was so good to see friends and family again. It makes me more excited to think about the move home to the U.S. again next spring.

We knew that there was a possibility that we would have to quarantine since we weren’t vaccinated. We were hoping we wouldn’t have to since the board members got through fine. We didn’t though. We had to quarantine in a hotel for a week. We were scared it would drag out and we’d sit there twiddling our thumbs. I think God thought we needed a week of pure rest! I enjoyed myself so much! Honestly, I wouldn’t have minded a couple days longer.

We ate up the majority of our food that we brought from the states. Thankfully, we were able to order food from outside. The last people who we knew that were quarantined weren’t able to. Meals were probably the most exciting part of the day. I was more than happy to have an excuse to get food I’d been wanting to try for a long time! We were able to go to and from each other’s rooms after the guards heard we were all one family, so we were able to eat together for some meals.

Tea party with what little food we had.
Surprise delivery from a friend
Rainy days
Some friends sent up some goodies.
Meals together
Interesting foods.
The busy intersection was good entertainment

All in all, it was a good quarantine. Thanks for the prayers!


2 thoughts on “Furlough

  1. Thank you for the update! We were sorry that it didn’t work for the Yoder family to get together while you were in the states, but hopefully next summer!
    Blessings to you, Irene

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