I have finally received a departure date - Sunday September 30. My work visa is supposed to be avaiable by September 26 so it looks like a go. Thanks to the International Date Line I will arrive in the city of Lae on October 2. Then on the 5th I will go to the annual missionary gathering. I am not sure how clear-headed I will be, but it will be a great chance to meet people.
I am so relieved that I have a date now. I was starting to feel like I was stuck in a time-loop like in the movie Groundhog Day. It seemed that I was always going to be leaving soon, but never really leave.
I did have one bright spot earlier this month. I went out to Washington State to visit my family. I stayed with Bob (my brother) and Byrna (my sister-in-law). They were great hosts, taking me out on a nature hike and to the Western Washington Fair. They also helped me finish my shopping. I now have a nice camera, a Gore-Tex rain jacket and a wide brimmed sun hat. Bob, who has taught photography also helped me get oriented to my camera. I also spent time visiting with my nieces and nephews that live in the area. A highlight was meeting Erin Ruth, my 6 week old great-niece.
Another important part of my trip was visiting my elderly father in Pullman WA. I was able to spend a few days with him, even taking him to fitting on his new hearing aids.It was a difficult good-bye, knowing that he might not be alive in two years when I come back to visit. Thankfully, we both believe that we will be together in eternal life after we leave this life. I am also glad that my brother Bob and sister Beth will continue to watch over him. Dad and I were talking about how different it was my mother went to China as a missionary's child in 1920. It took months for the family to travel there, and months for letters to get back and forth. I am so glad that I will have a telephone and email to keep in touch with everyone.
So, time to get going on the last steps of being ready. There has been quite a few things that needed to be done close to leaving, I guess that time is now.