Wow. What a wonderful three weeks we enjoyed. Way too much to tell in one blog!
I will just share some of the highlights. We arrived in Shawnee, Oklahoma, in time for the annual Family Gathering (Pow Wow) in which my mom's lineage and family heritage was being honored. We are from the Bergeron line of the Potawatomi nation of Native Americans. It was great to see so many relatives and family members. While there, my mother had me teach her Sunday School class of senior citizen women at her church in Tecumseh. I have so much fun teaching them when staying there.
Then we went to the Smokey Mountains of Tennessee to visit some dear friends, Randy and Vicki Smith. This couple (and their kids) were part of our church in 29 Palms many years ago. They live in an RV park high among the woods and the trees. So peaceful and nice.
We made the decision to try to be in Boston for the Fourth of July, so we drove to Philadelphia and spent the night on July 3. Got up and headed for Boston and arrived early afternoon. Went to the Fireworks extravaganza on the banks of the Charles River listening to the Boston Pops orchestra and Neil Diamond in concert.....for free, as well! We enjoyed it with 200,000 other people crazy enough to spend Independence Day there!
The next day we went to Plymouth to see the famous Plymouth Rock and the town that the Pilgrims settled when they arrived in 1620. Saw two villages that were reproductions of a Pilgrim town and a Wampanoag Indian village. Also boarded a reproduction of the Mayflower ship, which they sailed from England to Plymouth in recreating the actual trip.
Day Three was a tour of Boston, with a wonderful guide on the Freedom Trail. This trail, which starts at the Boston Common, is 2.5 miles and has red bricks to guide you past 16 historical places. Our guide only goes the first mile and talks about the first 11 historical sites. He was great! After lunch, Sondra and I walked the rest on a self-guided tour and we were tired and wore out that evening. We also went downtown to the Cheers bar and had dinner.
Day Four was a day in which we have now seen that God had prepared for us to have a special blessing. We decided to tour Harvard campus and while there in Cambridge (just on the outskirts of Boston), and in doing so we found a good friend and pastor from many years ago. Our friend, Paul Kim, is pastor of Berkland Baptist Church there and has a passion to reach the best and brightest minds of Harvard and M.I.T. universities. Previously in California when I first met him, he was the pastor of Berkland Baptist Church in Berkeley, California, while I was going to seminary. He had started the church there to reach the Korean community of students at Cal Berkeley. In his early start, he had asked me to come preach a revival for his church because of a recommendation from our Area Missionary, Buren Higdon. Pastor Kim's church gave me a Love Offering that was almost the exact amount I needed to go on a mission trip to the Philippines. Sondra related that story to him, because I had never shared that with him. He was moved and asked me to come next year to preach at his church there in Boston in the late part of October 2010. We had such a blessed time of sharing and renewal of friendship. It really was the highlight of our trip.
Day Five we checked out of our Boston hotel and headed for Cape Cod. Drove all the way to the end of the peninsula and had lunch. The previous night I booked a room on Priceline for Providence, Rhode Island. Wow. For $64, I was able to get the Renaissance Providence Hotel, located right next to the state capitol building. It was awesome. Words cannot describe how nice this place was.
After sightseeing in Providence, we headed to Springfield, Missouri, to see my brother Noel, wife Janice and son Mark. It was special. I took Mark to the Dollar Store to let him get birthday gifts (his birthday was July 4) and we also stopped at Krispy Kreme for some donuts! Spent the night there and then on back to Shawnee.
Spent a night with my mom and taught her Sunday School classs again. Then spent a couple nights with son Jason and his family (wife Shelly and our grandkids Jace and Kylee). Took the kids to see the movie "Up" in 3D. Very good movie!
This past Tuesday, we arose early, left at 5 am, drove straight and got home at midnight in Rialto! It was the trip of a lifetime. Sondra had wanted to see Boston and Plymouth Rock since she was in Fifth Grade. Great memories now of a wonderful time with hundreds of pictures to bore you with when you see us!