We had been looking forward to our trip to California for quite a while and for several reasons. The story of how we came in contact with the church we went to visit is certainly testimony to the providence of God. For more of the story, click here. Neither Thomas or I (and therefore Isaiah) had been to this part of CA, we had never met the people of Central Valley Presbyterian Church before even though we had been reading several of their blogs for the past 9 months or so. The Lord had already used them to bless us in many ways. So, as I said, we were excited to finally get out there and meet them face to face.
Our trip to CA cannot be contained in one post, so here's the first installment. We arrived in Oakland safely and enjoyed spending the drive to Turlock, CA with elder Steve Walker. We had some wonderful conversation as we drove through the orchards and farms that we had no idea existed in that part of the country.
Steve took us to our host family the Schroeders where we spent several nights. They were a lot of fun and very patient with all our questions about their church and homeschooling and family philosophy. They had a few questions for us, too, of course, but I think that we asked more questions of the families of CVP than they asked of us! Anyway, we had a great time with them that afternoon before heading off for dinner with the Fletchers. Fletch was the first to contact us from CVP, so this meeting was greatly anticipated by us. (Fletch is the father of Mighty Joe-as well as 7 other wonderful children and husband to Kendra- if you remember reading about his recent medical adventure.) Isaiah had a BLAST playing with all the kids in the Fletcher home. Everywhere he looked there were kids ready to play with him, and he took full advantage of the situation!
Isaiah, Fletch and the Fletcher's dog, whose name I can't remember. Unfortunately I don't have a picture of Isaiah with any of the kids because I was either eating or playing with them! Tons of fun!
The next day we went to see Fletch at his dentist office where Isaiah was pronounced to have good teeth! Woohoo! We then got to meet the Davis family at last! I had been reading Heather's blog for almost a year. Thomas and I were both glad to finally know what her voice sounded like rather than imagining this generic "telephone woman" voice as we read her posts. If you've never read any of her blog, I strongly suggest you do so. Her journey in grace is a wonderful testimony to God's sovereign care for his people. We were thrilled to meet all the kids, too, and finally learn their real names. (Heather uses aliases for her kids on her blog--Boo, Goose, Miss M, Daisy, Lil' Cowboy and Brown Sugar.) Heather and I enjoyed some time in the pool with our two little ones, while Thomas and the older kids chatted in the house about missions. We all then headed to the Schroeders for a wonderful taco dinner!
Isaiah and Brown Sugar playing chase!
We even got a family photo!
This is after dinner at the Schroeders with their family and the Davis family.
The next day we headed north to meet the Hector family and go see the big trees--yes, sequoias! The Hector family had 3 children and then decided to adopt 6 siblings (3 boys and 3 girls). We spent all day learning their names, but finally were able to keep them straight in our heads. :) After enjoying being outside all day (much to Isaiah's delight), we had dinner at the Hector's and headed back home with the Schroeders.
Thomas and Isaiah on a Big Tree.
These are the seeds for the sequoias! Can you believe something so small produces something so big? As Thomas would say, "There's got to be a sermon illustration in there somewhere."
And here's the whole crew that went on our adventure that day, minus Thomas who was taking the picture.
Fourteen people really stretched out to form a ring around the tree.
After the big trees we went to Alpine Lake (I think that was the name), and Isaiah got to enjoy his first canoe ride. His face is scrunched up from the sun, not from displeasure, just so you know.
We were all pretty tired after this day, but really glad to have spent it with such grand people. The next day we went to San Francisco with Goose Davis, but that deserves a post all it's own.