Reese’s Moldova Trip Report

I must preface this with a cautionary statement that you shouldn’t count on me to contribute to this blog too often. But I had a Bible Institute assignment that seemed to lend itself well to public display, and so I’m posting it here. I’ve added a few pictures for this online version, so now it will be way over the word count if each one is worth a thousand words. I already went about 25% over the assignment’s required word count.

Upstate Bible Institute English class

Instructor Dylan A. Parfitt

April 21, 2018

Moldova Missions Trip Report
by Reese N. Parfitt

Sometimes when I think upon my imagined prowess as a world traveler, I like to make comparisons between the different countries I’ve been to. My young friends listen with gleaming eyes as I tell stories and describe faraway lands. But when I went to Moldova this March, I was in for an experience that made me feel like I was starting all over again on my first missions trip. It was good for me to have this reset, to humble me and to help me sympathize with my teammates who were learning the same new things. 

Moldova is a small republic in Eastern Europe that doesn’t garner a lot of world attention. It’s a former Soviet socialist state, and is currently the poorest country in Europe. I had only heard of it because of missionaries Paul and Susan Hamilton. A group of 21 of us (mostly youth) from Old Paths Bible Baptist Church went to visit the Hamiltons in Moldova’s capital city, Chişenău. It’s pronounced “Kishenow”, but it can also be called Kishinev, and then there’s the Russian version of the name: Кишинёв. Welcome to the language barrier in Moldova!

I won’t have time or space to tell everything that happened on this trip. I’ll have to pick a few meaningful incidents to give you a glimpse of some of the new things that I learned. If you want the whole story, you’ll have to come with us sometime!

Our mode of transportation was Turkish Airlines, with a connection in Istanbul. That detail is significant because of our first team-building exercise. It was an unplanned team-building exercise from our point of view, but it became obvious that it was a divine appointment. Our flight from Istanbul to Chişenău was canceled because of foggy weather in Moldova, and we ended up walking minutes on end through that huge Istanbul airport, following an airline employee to different transfer desks and information booths until we finally got new boarding passes for the next morning’s flight. They wanted to put us in a hotel, but we would have had to get visas, go through customs, and leave the airport for some unknown location only to pack up and head back very early in the morning. So it did not take a very lengthy team meeting to decide that we were staying the night in the airport. The four adults in our group were champions. I’m sure they would have appreciated a bed, especially after 9 hours in economy class over the Atlantic. We had to go back through security, make a plan for where we would sleep, figure out the meal voucher situation, find the food court, eat… So it was quite late before we headed to our intended place of repose, Gate 203.

By the time we finished supper, Gate 203 was occupied by departing passengers. So we went next door. Between jet lag (meaning we did not think it should be night, even though it was night in Turkey) and the unusual surroundings, we didn’t have much hope for solid restful sleep. We bedded down in the waiting area of Gate 204, but around 1:30 a.m. there was a stirring as passengers began accumulating for a flight that would leave out of that gate at some odd hour of the night. So we gathered up our stuff and moved to Gate 203, which was now empty. Few of us felt like we were going to fall asleep again, and we were planning to go for breakfast in just a couple of hours. After breaking the tennis ball pitch-and-catch world record for Gate 203 of the Istanbul Atatürk Airport, and having some intense bowling competitions with the tennis ball and water bottles, we all gathered around for a time of Christian fellowship and giving of thanks.

That assembly in Istanbul at 2 or 2:30 in the morning, where everyone was exhausted and no one could sleep, was easily one of the highlights of the trip. We had rushed through the airport the night before in New York City, with the team divided into three or four fragments in different places, going different paces. We barely got through security in time to find our places in the boarding line and get on the aircraft. Some groups of seats were together, but the team was split up in different sections of the plane and we didn’t have too much communication. And if we had flown on that same night to Moldova as planned, the ladies would have been down at their house and we men in ours, and it would have been difficult to feel that we were one team. So while the circumstances here in Turkey were strange, they brought about some of our favorite memories of the whole trip and taught some of the most important lessons.

We sang a few songs (very quietly!) and did some praying. Then Pastor Folk, in his wisdom, suggested that we go around the circle in turn and each person tell something about themselves or their interests. At first, this struck me as an activity that would foster individuality or cliquishness. Instead, it helped us to learn more about each other and appreciate each other. We were given opportunity to “Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others” (Philippians 2:4). And we were drawn close together by it.

It was my first time to travel with a group this size, and I had been a bit apprehensive of how it would go. How could we achieve teamwork and stick together? Though it could not have  been planned, this travel delay was essential to building our unity. There seemed to be multiple scenarios of “hurry up and wait” as we rushed from one end of the airport to the other. But everyone had a fantastic attitude; the strong supported the weak; the leaders “ruled” with diligence (Romans 12:8), keeping track of everyone; and the followers cooperated in one accord. Our chapter to meditate on together was Ephesians 4, and so many things from it were amazingly demonstrated to us as we each did what we should.

We weren’t even to Moldova yet. But we found that it didn’t matter! God dropped us off in Turkey and picked us up the next morning. It was as simple as that! I count our time in “The Oasis” (as Gate 203 is now affectionately called) to be a very precious gift from the Lord. It was a once-in-a-lifetime meeting that we didn’t even plan. God is good.

Boarding our plane for Moldova

 

We did get on the plane the following morning (Saturday) and arrived in a chilly, drizzly Moldova. Almost every other “mission field” country that I’ve traveled to has a tropical climate. So the weather took some getting used to. The first thing I noticed on arrival was the worn-down concrete buildings everywhere. They looked as if no one had cared for them for the last forty years. A lot of things, like the roads in the countryside, gave the same impression. It felt like since the fall of communism over 25 years ago, nobody had gotten the fortitude of heart to move forward with anything. As we taxied toward the airport, we passed the derelict carcasses of former Air Moldova or Ukrainian and Russian planes. They had apparently been passenger airliners, but almost all had machine guns at the nose. That was a new sight for sure.

A run-down arch in front of what was once a stadium

A rare moment of sunshine — but the buildings still look sad to me.

 

Customs was confusing for me. We had not been given forms to fill out on the airplane, so I expected to do it in the terminal before going through passport control. I was going to be the big expert and show everyone how it’s done, and help them fill out their forms. Maybe I would even be called upon for my language skills to try to interpret something. But everyone got in line, and when we got to the desk, no questions were asked. In fact, the customs officers didn’t even say a word to most of us! There was no incoming passenger card, no declaration of intended length of stay in the country, no questions about where we planned to visit. Just a small stamp in our passport and we were on our way. If you don’t have anything to declare in your luggage, you just take it and walk out. There was not even anyone guarding the door! I have never had any other customs experience where there is almost literally nothing to it! I have a feeling it would have been different in the Soviet days.

If I was hoping for an encounter with Russian border guards, we got a little taste of it when we traveled two different days that week into the region of Pridnestrovie. It’s an area on the eastern side of Moldova, occupied by Russian forces, with many of its people tending towards affiliation with communist Russia rather than the EU. (The UN doesn’t recognize it as a sovereign state, but it’s recognized by three other unrecognized states so that must make it all right…!) There is a border crossing on the road, where the KGB agents check your passport and give you a piece of paper to put inside. You have to show the paper when you come back through the border, and it tells you by what time that night you have to be out. Oh, by the way, the KGB hasn’t been in operation since 1991 — unless, of course, you’re in an unrecognized state.

Editor’s note: I don’t have any pictures of the border crossing, for what should be obvious reasons.

In this illegally-occupied sliver of the country, there are little churches with faithful people, probably not known to many people in the world. It is really amazing to pull into a little driveway and crowd into a tiny room with people you don’t know and with whom you can’t communicate because of the language barrier — and find out that you have so much in common. The apostle John wrote almost 2,000 years ago, “That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ” (1 John 1:3). After Pastor Folk preached (through our wonderful interpreter, Brother Vonea), a lady made a confession to the church about some wrong attitude she had been having. She was clearly repentant and there was a blessed spirit of forgiveness and restoration in the room. I don’t recall the confession having much to do with the sermon, but the Spirit of the Lord had done His work and it was precious to see. Again, God sent us there for a purpose unbeknownst to us, and He was able to use us simply because of our availability.

In Pridnestrovie

Most of the week, the weather was dreary. The sky was gray and the sun only appeared a few times. Walking down the street, you would notice that many people’s faces wore a generally tired and downtrodden expression. I felt discouraged because I could not really communicate and I was not even picking up much language to be able to use, especially not on the Russian side of things! But even Romanian was much more different from Spanish than I had hoped. We spent numerous hours traveling in the vans to different places to minister, which was a bit tiring. But there was one particular thing I experienced that was just about downright depressing!

I don’t think I’ve ever been inside a Roman Catholic church, either in the U.S. or elsewhere. But if it’s anything like the Russian Orthodox church we went in, I don’t think I’m interested! While we were on the streets of Chişenău, passing out invitations to the meetings at church, Claire Nicot and I got to go with our Moldovan friend Iochim to see the inside of the church building.  I was first perturbed at the realization that it is, for all practical purposes, a business. The church is open 9 to 5 every day, just like my place of work; and people are coming in all day long to buy candles and whatever other religious merchandise is for sale there inside the door. Then there are pictures and statues all around the room, and the devotees make their rounds to the different stations, making the sign of the cross, kissing the images, bowing, weeping, praying. The economy was decidedly different in here than on the streets outside. From the fancy roped-off chair that was reserved for some important person, to the hand-painted walls and domed ceiling, to the rich tapestries and fine chandeliers and picture frames, everything was absolutely plush and gilded. Somebody was obviously making out all right in the poorest country in Europe! I stood, somewhat shocked, observing this horrendous idolatry that dared to call itself Christianity. What treason this is, for the “church” to take all the elements from the Bible and use them as a backdrop for their false religion! How could anyone imagine that this is a denomination of Christendom? It is heathen! 

As we made our way back outside, I pulled my church invitations back out of my pocket. But I was strangely changed. What had happened to me? Now that I had seen the solemnity and grandeur of their church tradition, how could I appeal to them with a nice, glossy, eye-catching invitation to the Baptist church? How could I argue against the sincerity and devotion of the worshippers? But such is the battle of truth against error! There is but one truth, and it has thousands of forms of wrong to fight against. We do well to stick close by the King James Bible and learn from it the way to please God. “But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him” (John 4:23).

I wouldn’t exactly say that experiencing the Orthodox church was a “highlight” of the Moldova trip. But it made a deep impression. It opened my eyes to an astonishing reality of the deceitfulness of religion and gave me a great appreciation for the truth of God’s word, which makes us free (John 8:31, 32). Maybe God put me there in a place where I couldn’t really understand any of the language so I would keep my mouth shut and learn something. There is definitely a need to preach the Gospel, just about any time. But David said in Psalm 39:9, “I was dumb, I opened not my mouth; because thou didst it.” It is good for us to realize that we know so little. Lord, continue to be merciful to us and teach us.

I believe God did use us to be a blessing to others on this trip. But it was a time of much learning for me personally. The Lord can do much more through our weakness than we can do through our strength. “For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith” (Romans 12:3). May God help us to acknowledge Him in everything we do, whether across the sea or in our home. It is so fulfilling to see Him receive the glory.



A Taste of Spring

“While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease” (Genesis 8:22).

As the snow continues to make its appearance, even in the middle of April, I have to remember this verse and remind myself to be content with whatever weather God sends us. A year ago Tuesday we tilled up the garden – with temperatures in the fifties!  😕

But a few weeks ago, I started a project that is helping to tide me over until I can truly be gardening.

We bought several seed trays at Runnings, and some seed-starting soil. For containers I used old cartons from transplants that we had saved over the years. I needed 96. After throwing out some broken ones, I had 97!

Naomi and I had started some geraniums a few weeks earlier, so I kind of knew what I was doing. First I filled the trays with 12 cartons each. I poured the soil in, moistened it, and put a seed in each cup. (I spooned the soil in at first, but soon decided that pouring was much easier! 😉)

This was only whetting my appetite! I could almost feel my thumbs turning green! My sisters and our friend Tabitha Wilson soon joined me, and the work began to go much faster.

(Naomi was helping too, but she was behind the camera this time! 😃)

After I used up the smaller bags of soil, I opened the bigger bag. That was when I ran into problems. When I tried to moisten the cartons full of soil, the water just ran off the top onto the table instead of soaking in!

Hmmmm…. What should we do about this? It was making quite a mess. After a bit of consultation with my board of advisers, I grabbed a big mixing bowl and started dumping the soil in. Next, we poured water in and started mixing it up like dough. Then we refilled the containers with our exclusive pre-moistened seed-starting mix and continued our normal operations.

Viola, dahlia, celosia, hollyhocks, sage, parsley, and oregano – one by one we filled the flats. They were supposed to be covered with plastic lids, but Runnings was sold out of them. So we covered them with plastic wrap instead.

We labeled the trays and put them on the plant shelf that Daddy built years ago. I set up the heater next to it and turned it on high – the best temperature for sprouting seeds is between 70 and 80 degrees F. This is why we start them inside! 😀

Last but not least – cleanup!!! 😅

Almost everything sprouted. We got only one watermelon, but I wasn’t expecting much from them because we dried the seeds ourselves from my brother’s watermelon in 2016.

Happy gardening! 😃

Annabelle

 

2017 Total Solar Eclipse Trip-Day 3

Day 3, August 20

On Sunday morning we got up bright and early. Well, at least I did! I read my Bible while I waited for everyone to get up. People’s alarms were going off, but no one was getting up!😌 At last we all were up and running! We all helped make breakfast in the kitchen downstairs.

We ate and fellowshipped until time to leave for church.

We left and drove to church, about 20 minutes away. We enjoyed the good service and fellowship. We got back to the Neelys’ and helped get lunch ready. Mr., Daniel, and Hannah Wilkes were there. They would be staying at the Neelys’ for the eclipse as well. The lunch was so good! All we girls were discussing what to do for the afternoon. Some people took naps, and Victoria, Annabelle, Lauren, and I played harps.

I had always wanted to play a pedal harp, and that was the first time ever! (We have a lever harp.) What a blast we had! Victoria and I played the pedal harps and Annabelle and Lauren played the lever harps. That was one of my highlights of the trip!!! It was so nice of them to let us!

We then got this idea that we could get everyone together to play instruments!  The girls got up from their naps and we got enough violins together.  They even brought a pedal harp down to the living room to join the growing orchestra! Reese and Annabelle played flute; Jessica played viola; Daniel played cello; Victoria, Susannah, Samuel, Karen, Hannah, and I played violin; and Lauren played harp. Then Lauren and Victoria switched harp and violin, and then I switched with Victoria for harp. We played for the rest of the afternoon. It was such a blessing to be able to use our instruments for God’s glory!

 

 

At last we stopped. I don’t usually play harp for hours, so my fingers were getting sore!😕 We ate a good supper and the work began. You should have seen Mom, Mrs. Neely, James, Jessica, and Daniel trying to make solar filters for James’s, Jessica’s, and my camera lenses!

Our solar eclipse film…

Daniel Wilkes and James Staddon were making it somewhat fun!!

I was helping at first, but I soon got out of the way and let the “professionals” finish! In fact, they were anything but that! You don’t have solar eclipses of the sun every week! Jonathan was taking some videos and I took pictures. Very interesting, indeed. Except for the fact that I got very bored!!!😜😂 So Lauren and I played the piano!  Mr. Neely, Mr. Wilkes, and Reese were writing a tract to pass out about the eclipse. We also got a Dutch Blitz game going. After we tired of that, we played Skip-Bo. It got so late that we finally retreated to bed.

 

Reporting for the Parfitts,

Naomi

Arkansas Trip November 2017, Day 2

It has been a little while since I wrote about day 1 of the Arkansas trip. We had some friends staying with us for about a week (which I will have to write about in a different post!) and our church had its annual missions conference, which kept us busy. So, I am just now getting around to writing about day 2!😐

Day 2-November 19, 2017

I awoke in the morning to the same hum of the tractor trailer that I had fallen asleep to the night before. Some or all of the other members of my family were up already. I quickly folded up my “bed” and put it in the back in its spot. After eating breakfast and reading our Bibles, we were eager to leave. We carefully pulled out of our spot between the tractor trailers and proceeded to the gas station that was part of the Flying J we had stayed at.

The GPS showed us where we had driven at Flying J. It makes it look like we couldn’t find our way around! Well… I guess we couldn’t!!😆

Our bus in the row of tractor trailers. Makes it look small!

 

a view from closer up

After filling up with diesel, we got on the highway. The land was so flat and full of fields. It didn’t feel like we were driving on the highway, it felt like we were driving in the middle of one huge field!

view from windshield

farm along the highway

flat plus flat equals very flat…(you didn’t know I was that good at math, did you?😉)

 

It didn’t seem like a Sunday, since we were driving instead of going to church. But, of course, we were not going to miss the service! At 10:00, we logged onto Livestream and watched the church service at our church while we drove. By the time it was done, it was noon and time for lunch. What we were planning to do was make lunch and then go find the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri. Before I was old enough to remember, my family had gone and eaten lunch and gotten pictures under the arch, and that is what we wanted to do. So off we went in our bus to find it. The arch is not far from the Missouri border. So we crossed the border and began trying to find a way to get to the arch. The road was very confusing. First we went across a long bridge and once we were across, we tried to find our way around. It seemed like we were going in circles. Oh, here is a fenced-in parking area that might be just the thing, as the arch is not very far away. What does that sign say? No RVs? Swallow. Oooookay, then! Let’s try something else. We turned a corner, and the next thing we knew, we were back on a bridge again, and crossing the state border into Illinois! Oh, brother! We tried to find a place to turn around, but next we found ourselves on some back street. What are we doing out in the middle of nowhere next to a train track? We finally got turned around and went back to Missouri on the same bridge. It doesn’t look like we are going to make it to the arch.😢 We got pictures of it from the road and decided that was enough. Sadly we left the neighborhood without getting up close to the arch.

Sign for St. Louis, MO

view of the arch from the highway

That bridge that we got familiar with after driving over it twice!

sideways view of arch

beautiful view of the arch beside the water

Here we are next to the railroad track out in the middle nowhere…

After all that running around, our big rig was quite thirsty for some diesel. So we went to fill ‘im up. We got off the highway, but unfortunately, the gas station was on the other side of the road! So we had to go farther down the road to find a place to turn around. In doing so, we somehow ended up in a neighborhood full of curving roads that went up and around very high hills! Naomi puts it this way: “We felt like we were going to fall off the edge of the world!” We were very glad when we finally found a church parking lot to turn around in! We eventually found our way back to the gas station, and, wouldn’t you know, right across the street from the station was a Dairy Queen. We thought, “Hey, while we are here, why don’t we get ourselves some blizzards?” So before getting diesel, we went to the Dairy Queen and ordered blizzards. After we got them, we went back out to the bus and headed across the street for diesel.

 

Naomi’s blizzard

Naomi eating her blizzard

Annabelle eating her blizzard

me eating my blizzard

As the afternoon wore on, we got tired and some of us took naps…

Annabelle sleeping

Mom driving

Naomi and I played Phase Ten for a while, but with the sun shining in the windows it made us very sleepy and we eventually went to sleep also. Once, while we were playing, we stopped on the side of an off-ramp to switch drivers instead of going to a rest stop. Apparently Mom just barely kept the RV on the road!

 

Half the wheel was sticking off the edge of the road! Yikes!

 

When I woke up, I went into the back and read a book. When I looked up from my book a while later, it was dim because the sun was setting.

the sunset

I thought that we were probably in Arkansas, because the countryside was very much characteristic of Arkansas! I was right, we were. In a very short time, it was pitch black outside, and of course, all the roads were very twisty and windy! We carefully threaded our way through curves and twists, until we reached the town, where it was straighter. By then, we were recognizing things from other times that we visited Grandma. In a short while, we turned onto the gently sloping street that Grandma lives on and pulled into the church parking lot that she lives next to. After going inside and visiting a little with Grandma (and Uncle Paul and his son Jacob, who live with her) we said goodnight to them and went back out to the bus for bed. We decided not to try to go to where we had been planning to park until the next night, since we were too tired to that night. It wasn’t as simple as the night before. Since we didn’t have a tractor trailer on either side of our RV, we could put the slideouts out. First Reese leveled the RV, then we put them out. After that was done, Annabelle and Naomi unfolded their beds and made them. Reese and I also set up our beds on the floor. Finally we all got to bed, this time without anyone stepping on my arm!😅

So there’s the end of day 2! The lesson learned from day 2 is: When you’re going somewhere, stick to the road and don’t try to go find some arch…at least not when you are in a big RV!!!🤣🚍

A Poem

I suddenly wrote a poem the other evening after looking at old pictures on my laptop. When I showed it to my girls this evening, they told me to post it on the blog. It’s not a great poem, but it’s the first one I have written in about 15 years. Perhaps someone will be blessed by it. ~ Jamie

How My Heart Aches

How my heart aches as I look
On the photos in my book.
All the years that passed so fast
Many days that didn’t last.

See how small the babies were.
Now they’re grown; it’s such a blur!
How I miss my husband dear;
How I wish that he was near!

But the Lord is changing not.
He it is that cleans my spot
On my heart and on my mind.
He is patient, tender, kind.

Surely life is brief and sad,
But the blessings we have had!
Many happy times we share
All because of God’s sure care.

Jamie Ruth Blair Parfitt
April 12, 2018

2017 Total Solar Eclipse Trip-Day 2

August 19, 2017

At 5:30 the next morning, my alarm woke me with a start. I got up and started getting ready for the day. It was Reese’s 21st birthday!

One of the first things I did was get the camera battery and charger and get them put in the camera bag. I got to it before Annabelle’s phone alarm went off!😉 At last some people made their way to the living room with their stuff. We warmed up and ate our pre-made breakfast sandwiches that Karen and I had made the night before we left.

At Aunt Fran’s house in the morning.

Reese on a walk down the street.

Before….

 

….I played around with it in Lightroom!!!

We got going after saying good-bye to Aunt Fran.

This was the sunrise as we drove.

First we stopped for gas. I read my Bible before drifting off for a nap. I had gotten up an hour early! From Ohio we drove on through Pennsylvania to West Virginia.

 

But wait. It’s not that easy! It took us FOREVER to get through Ohio! Anyone who has driven through it knows it takes way too long. When we traveled when I was younger, I would ask, “Are we out of Ohio yet?” Always, except for the last time, the answer would be “No.” Now I just say, “We’re still in Ohio, right?”

When we were nearing the Staddons’ house in West Virginia, I stopped reading and looked around the town. We drove until we got to Buffalo Calf Road. That was the Staddons’ road!

 

We had only met James Staddon before and that was when he stayed at our house about 8 years ago! But we never met the others except on Skype many years ago. Needless to say we were nervous and excited! We drove on Buffalo Calf road for the longest time. It is a very narrow one-lane road with a ton of drop-offs, lots of curves, and more curves. It was different from the roads I’m used to in New York, but it was beautiful.

We pulled in at the Staddons’ house around 10:00 A.M. Faithful, their dog, came out to greet us.

 

David got her and put her into a side building. We were glad to get out and stretch. We met Mr. Staddon, Donald, Esther, Jonathan, and David. Then James and Jonathan loaded their stuff into the van while we talked with Esther and drank some cool water. She took us for a walk down their beautiful long lane to get all the kinks out of our legs! Faithful took a water bottle out of my hand and Jonathan tried to get it back from her for the longest time! We didn’t know him really at all, then, and I was feeling bad. But then he finally got it! 😌 When we got back, they were ready to take off. After a prayer, we all piled into the van.

Esther waving good-bye.

For the first two hours, James drove.

Our chauffeur
Reese and Jonathan
And the girls waaaay in the back.

We stopped at a McDonalds and got $1 ice cream cones. 🍦It was a really hot day, after al!😁😋 After we all ate our cones under a tree and chatted, we girls got bread, cheese, lunch meat, and mayonnaise from the cooler that was now covered with stuff in the back of the van. At last we found everything, including a knife to spread mayonnaise with. We made sandwiches and passed them out as we drove.

An electronic billboard had a count down for the eclipse.

After another while, we stopped at the New River Gorge Bridge spanning the New River. We all piled out and, of course, James and I grabbed our cameras. We walked on a board walk to a place where we could view it.

It was massive and very impressive.

We went to another lookout where we could see down over the bridge.

This is the view from that look out.

We then headed to the building and found Jonathan. We got some pictures of the river from an outside porch out back, before heading back to the van to continue on our way.

We continued to travel all afternoon. We went through Tennessee and got to North Carolina. James and I compared cameras and he taught me a ton of valuable photography knowledge! (He’s a professional photographer and a great photography teacher. If you ever want some good training or inspiration and encouragement in photography, go to lenspiration.com!!!)  I learned a lot on the trip, even though at the time I was having a hard time digesting it all! We sang and told stories and they told us the names and ages of the Neelys. And, of course, we slept!

A huge tunnel through a mountain.

 

When we came out, we were in Virginia!

We stopped to switch drivers every 2 hours. Once, we switched at a place that was a reststop/butterfly observatory. It was pretty.

The last switch was at a gas station. James was driving and somehow we got into a neighborhood that was all up or down with lots of curves. We finally found our way out!😄 Soon it got dark and we were on another curvy road. It was hard to tell exactly where the next curve was going to be!

Finally we pulled in at the Neelys’ house. We got out and walked up the walk to the door. We Parfitts had never seen these people, let alone met them!  Mr. Neely came to to the door and when he saw who it was he said, “Oh, it’s you,” and closed the door.😄 After a bit, he opened it again and let us in!😂 We met them all in the kitchen while we had a snack. The girls all looked so alike at first, I was having trouble remembering the differences! At last we all went out and got all our stuff from the van. After we all had our stuff, we went to bed.

 

Pleasant Photography

by Naomi Parfitt

I have updated the About Us page

Hello everyone. We seem to have been bitten by the blogging bug! The girls have wanted to put things on our blog for many years. But when we recently read the blog of our Canadian friends who just experienced their house burning completely up a month ago, we decided we had to start posting on our blog for real. If we enjoyed others’ writing so much, perhaps others would enjoy OURS! We have also recently become friends with a family in Vermont and a couple of their daughters have blogs, so it became almost URGENT that I let the girls sit down and type up their thoughts. That’s fine. They are old enough now to write interesting and clever stories of our lives and sprinkle photos in among the words. But they declared that we just HAD to have a new family photo on the About Us page, since the photo there was from 11 1/2 years ago. Everyone has grown up a lot since then! They asked me to post the family pictures from our first two weddings. So I have done that and will try to remember to add Trevor’s wedding family picture after it happens in May of this year. 🙂 But if this continues to be sporadic, just be sure that we are off on another trip or have dived into another ministry need here in New York.

~Jamie

2017 Total Solar Eclipse Trip

Hello everyone!

We went to North Carolina back in August for the Total Solar Eclipse!

So I’ll try to write about it now, even though it’s been a few months since it happened.

Day 1, August 18

On Friday we girls packed our last-day things into our garment bags and all. Reese was at work that day, because we planned to leave in the evening. Mom had to go trade vans down at our other house in Geneseo with some missionaries who were borrowing our van and staying at our house.  After lunch we started packing stuff into the van. I had to go out with the tractor and mow a strip of the front yard that didn’t get mowed earlier that week because of a hornets’ nest that had been in a tree. (Annabelle found the nest the hard way and got stung.😟😢 ) So when I was done, I helped get the last few things gathered up and packed into the van. At last we were on our way!😄

It was quite a warm day and we had the air-conditioning going as we drove to where Reese works. (He works at Lakeshore Metal for the Amish, driving truck and making trim.) We got there after 3:00 P.M., the time we had tried to arrive. They were having their afternoon break and we got to meet everyone. About 45 minutes later, Reese got in the truck and we drove to a place where they were going to fix our truck for us while we were gone. Well, they were supposed to fix it…Anyway, we finally left and we got on the interstate! Now we were really traveling!☺

We drove for several hours. I read a book while we drove. We got to Pennsylvania!

For supper we stopped at the best place to stop for food while traveling: Chick-fil-A!

 

We didn’t have it in NY yet so it was a treat. After we were done eating, we got a move on. We got to Ohio after it was dark and pulled in at my mom’s aunt’s place around 9:30 P.M. After greeting her we got our things from the van that we would need for the night and got ready for bed. I plugged in the camera battery and set a reminder on Annabelle’s phone to get it in the morning! Annabelle and I slept in the living room.

Pictures from Arkansas Trip-Day 1

Here are the pictures that go with day 1 of the Arkansas trip!

The list of ingredients…

Mom and Annabelle trying to get the shades to open before we left.

Me sitting on the couch while we were waiting to leave.

Annabelle and Naomi on the other couch.View of the front end of the bus.

Naomi and me sleeping while we drove.Reese looking at the owners manual for the bus when we stopped somewhere. 

Naomi and I ate lunch at the little table in the bus. (We were stopped somewhere, as you are not supposed to sit at the table while the vehicle is in motion.)Rain!

And more rain!

And, some MORE rain!💦

Tuna casserole that we made for supper. (It does taste better than it looks in that picture!)

When we got bored that evening we made a “tent” by putting a blanket over the bed. The trick to keeping it up was to latch it inside some cabinet doors that were above the bed!😄

Annabelle and Naomi playing “Phase Ten”. 

Phase Ten again.

So there are some pictures for day 1. I hope to get day 2 out soon!!😁

~Karen~

 

 

 

Arkansas Trip, Thanksgiving 2017 (By Karen)

Thanksgiving was quite a while ago—all of four months! But I thought that it would be of interest to some to read of our adventurous trip down to Arkansas to visit family for Thanksgiving. So here I go!!😀

Let me start with the night before we left. We had had a birthday supper that evening to celebrate Trevor’s birthday that was that day. After he and Dylan and Emily had left, we began taking things out to the RV. (We were going to be taking our RV on our trip.) During the few days before the trip, we had taken a lot of things for the trip out there already, so these things were just some last-minute things we had forgotten earlier. For example, a sleeping mat for me to sleep on. (I was going to be sleeping on the floor during this trip, and I definitely didn’t want to forget THAT!) We went over our list of ingredients that we were going to need to make meals, to make sure that we had everything out in the RV pantry that we needed. (We had made a list of what meal we were going to make each night, so we could take only the ingredients that we needed.) After it seemed like there were ENOUGH things out there, we went to bed in hopes of getting up early the next day and getting our trip started nice and early.

Day #1, November 18, 2017…

I got up early and got ready for the day. When I went downstairs, there was no one around down there. I figured that they would be up pretty soon and decided not to worry myself about that. I believe I got something and took it out to the RV, but I don’t remember what it was. I was in the office and when I came out I saw that Reese was lying on the couch! Gulp! Well! I got him up. By this time Naomi was downstairs. (By the way, that day was her 16th birthday, in case you wondered!) We discovered a few bags that Mom had put by the door and we took them out to the RV. Annabelle had eventually found her way downstairs by then. When Mom came down, I honestly can’t remember what we did before we went outside to the RV. But I do remember that it really took us a long time to get going. FINALLY we went out and locked the door! When we got out to the RV, it still took a long time before we left. Reese was trying to navigate the GPS to a place where he wanted to stop and get diesel. While he was doing that, Annabelle remembered something that she had left in the house! So she had to take the key and let herself back into the house. I can’t remember anymore what it was that she wanted. But she eventually came back out. Finally Reese had the GPS set up how he wanted it and we could leave! After we sang and prayed, we started out…FINALLY!! It was much later than we wanted to start, but at least we were finally on our way! 😊 The thrill of watching the scenery whiz past our windows very quickly lost its appeal. Besides, it was familiar landscape for the first half-hour or so! We read our Bibles and looked at the birthday cards Naomi had gotten in the mail. It didn’t seem long until our big ol’ RV was rumbling its way into the gas station to get diesel. By now, we were in COMPLETELY unfamiliar territory, and we were watching the things around us with interest. A tractor trailer truck pulled up to the other side of the pump we were at and a lady got out and started pumping herself some diesel. We had already gotten ours, and while Reese was inside paying, I got out and offered her a tract, which she declined. When Reese came out a couple of minutes later, he also offered her one, not knowing that I already had. She refused his, too. He came inside and soon we were on our way again with Mom driving. Since Reese had his license but Mom only had her permit, he had to sit up there the whole time she drove to “supervise” and he couldn’t go lie down or anything. Since it is not against the law to ride without seatbelts in the RV, Naomi and I went to the back of the RV to the “bedroom” and made the bed, so that at nighttime it would be ready for Mom to sleep in. It is really fun to lie on the bed and watch out the window. And in the summer, it is really fun to do that with the window open! But back to making the bed! Annabelle came back there after we had the bed made. Soon we were starting to talk about lunch. The plan for that day’s lunch was to make tuna subs with a bunch of sub rolls we had gotten for free. It was then that Annabelle made the interesting discovery that we had not brought the can opener. So we decided that we would have to stop somewhere and buy one. Of course, Reese was sure that we didn’t need one, but he wasn’t the one making lunch! We stopped at a gas station/store with an interesting name, but I can’t remember what it was. Reese and I went in and asked if they had can openers but they didn’t. The lady said that there was a Dollar General down the road a ways that would probably have one. So we thanked her, and left. We drove to the Dollar General and Reese and Naomi went in. They came out with a can opener! So we continued to drive, while we girls made the subs. We cut them and passed them out. They were pretty good, especially since I had not eaten breakfast. After lunch, we girls went to the back where the bed was and watched out the window. It was drizzling outside. After a while I stopped looking out the window at the boring highway and sat down at the end of the bed to read a book. I was so tired, and the next thing I knew I was waking up. While I had been sleeping, my head was in a funny position so my neck was sore. I fell asleep again in a comfortable position and when I woke up the next time, my neck didn’t hurt anymore. By now it was POURING!!! Reese was driving, and Mom was sleeping on the couch. It was super bad visibility out there, and a lot of people had their flashers on. Oh, I didn’t tell you that by that time we were in Ohio! When we stopped the next time at a gas station, we decided to make and eat supper before going on, which would give the rain a chance to stop. We made tuna casserole, and while it baked, Mom took a nap and we girls and Reese watched people out the huge windshield. We saw some Amish people. After the casserole came out of the oven, we ate it. We were really eager to get a move on since the storm had stopped and we still had quite a ways until we reached where we were going to be spending the night. We eventually did leave. It was dark in the RV but we did not turn the lights on because it would have made a glare on the windshield. We dozed sitting on the couches or on the bed. We finally crossed the state border into Indiana. After that I fell into a really deep sleep…
Slam!
“He said to go around the building and we should be able to park over there.”
I sat up suddenly and rubbed my eyes. Where were we? Why had the door slammed? Had Mom gone out and talked to someone? Who had told us to go around the building? I was too tired to try to figure out the answers to those questions, so I lay down again. I was aware that we were driving around slowly. Then we were backing up. Next the RV engine shuddered to a stop, and all was quiet. For a while I lay there, not moving. Then I sat up as they turned the light on. Apparently, we had gotten to the truck stop we were going to spend the night at. Reluctantly I got off the couch. I went to the back for my sleeping mat, pillow, and blankets. Annabelle and Naomi put their blankets and pillows on the two couches. Reese put his sleeping mat on the floor of the kitchen and I put mine on the floor of the living room, between the couches. And Mom slept on the bed in the back. A tractor trailer pulled up beside us while we were getting our beds ready, but never turned off. I lay down on my mat and pulled the blanket over me. All around me everyone was talking. Then… OUCH!! Someone stepped on my arm!! Finally they went to their respective beds and the light was turned off. I closed my eyes, soon fell asleep to the hum of the tractor trailer beside us, and never woke up until the next morning.

So, there you have it—day 1 of the trip down to Arkansas. The lesson learned from day 1 is- Don’t forget a can opener when going on a trip, especially if you are planning to make tuna subs in an RV while you drive!!!😉