Imagine driving to Rolla from St. Charles. Easy, smooth, 1.75 hours (obeying the speed limit).  Lots of gas stations, cell reception,  and only a few highway patrol.  Got it?  Ok, work with me a little and use your imagination.  Now go from 4 lane divided highway down to two lanes. Add in mountains.  Throw in tons of potholes.  Add some tanker trucks doing about 30 mph (which are hard to pass on two lane mountain curves).  Landslides which take the road down to one lane every once in while, small towns who place speed bumps (yes on the MAIN HIGHWAY), random police check points with lots of shotguns and machine guns, and finally one frustratingly long border crossing.  Do all this with little to no cell reception (so that if you get shot, or wreck, or robbed, or whatever, nobody would no).  Would that drive to Rolla be great?!? We left Guatemala City, drove roughly the equivalent distance from STL to Rolla, and arrived in San Salvador 5.5 hours later.  Brutal. Long. Hot. Sweaty. Stinky. Irritated. You get the point. 

That was Friday.  We drove back to Guatemala on Sunday Afternoon, by a better road.  It still took 3.5 hours, but less potholes, and better roads.

While we were in El Salvador we stayed with Missionaries Jeff and Paula Rhoades.  We thank God so much for the hospitality, grace and kindness towards us.  They were so loving to the four of us and they had no idea who we were.  I just called him out of the blue 1 month ago and asked to come stay in his house.  But they loved on us and treated us like family.  Jeff and I got along great and had great conversations and fellowship together.  Likewise Leah and Paula had great conversation and fellowship and what a great thing when the Spirit unites believers together.  We had a great time visiting different churches in El Salvador.  Please read the previous blogs to see what God is doing there.  We also got to go to a real mall with a food court, with real ‘American’ food.  Boy was that a welcome sight.  We really liked El Salvador and felt really comfortable there. 

We were going on to Honduras to visit the Epps family after we left El Salvador, but I did not feel it would be wise to subject my son and pregnant wife to another 6-7 hour difficult trip to Honduras and then a perhaps 10-12 hour ride home from there.  So we came home here Sunday evening.

We are all doing well.  Our health is holding up great.  The baby is moving a lot in Leah’s womb, and she is showing no problems of health.  I am taking it slow for her sake, so that she can get plenty of rest.  And I really cannot say enough about how proud of her that I am.  If you all could see some of the places she’s gone, some of the food she has eaten, some of the restrooms we have been relegated to using.  She is the greatest.  And we have really had a great time TOGETHER, which was really one of my main goals in this trip.  I wanted us to do this as a family.  To see, to hear, to smell, to experience this mission work TOGETHER and it has been marvelous.  JAKE is doing great.  He is getting less and less shy with every day.  He said ‘Adios’ to one lady and ‘Gracias’ to another with no prompting from me or Leah.  WOW.  The mind is wonderful thing that he can just observe and learn and do.  He travels like a pro, and is doing super well with his potty training.  For which Leah and I are both thankful.

We continue to have a great time with Karen.  As you all know, when relatives come to live with you (esp for 18 days) problems can come up and difficulties arise, no matter how deep your love.  But God has given us all grace and even in our disagreements our love for each other (and the Lord) has helped us.  Karen loves Jake and vice a versa, and Jake loves Karen’s dog CAYA as well.  THANK YOU Grace Baptist Church.  The money that you sent with Leah and me as allowed us to take Karen out to eat several times (paying for hers) and I was also able to take Pastor Jaime out to a nice restaurant as well.  I am just doing that on behalf of GBC as an extension of your love and your generosity.

So in summary, I did not get to go to Belize (which I really wanted to do) nor did we go to Honduras.  But God is in control and I trust His grace.  and El Salvador was great.  We have seen 7 different churches/missions, attended 5 preaching services, a youth service, the feeding center and 2 kids clubs.  Driven a ton of miles, spent about $300 total on groceries/food, travel expenses and a few souvenirs.  Met 3 different American Missionaries, 2 American pastors, 1 American Youth pastor and 6 National pastors. 

We have been able to SKYPE with our parents (Boenkers and Kolbs) and the Krawczyks several times, talked with Pastor Kevin on the phone twice for about 1.5 hours combined, and got to SKYPE our good friends the McCowns in Japan once for about 10 minutes.  We really miss them and cannot wait to talk to them when we both get home.  We miss our church, and our little house in Ferguson, and our dog, and did I say we miss our church?  We really do.  I talk about Grace Baptist a lot, and tell them how great a church I come from.   

This week we are going to go see the orphanage and feeding center in Solola.  Wednesday church at Sumpango.  Help Karen with some projects around her house, and pack up and come home.  OH AND DID I MENTION, our airline went backrupt.

Love you.