Furlough Thoughts

Back in May, we had the opportunity to travel back to California for something missionaries call “furlough.” Furlough is basically an extended visit back to the states to rest, recharge, and visit your supporters. We originally had no intentions of going back to visit so quickly, but as luck would have it, Shane’s parents decided to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary – in Hawaii! They wanted to renew their vows with all of their family present, and who could say no to that?! So on May 5th we flew back to California to spend time among friends, family, and supporters with plans to return June 5th. However, the aunts and uncles and grandparents made it clear that one month was not nearly enough time with the kids, so they would fly back June 17th with my mom and Shane’s aunt.

Looking back now, it was all a blur and it went by so fast. So many people to see, errands to run, churches to visit, vacations to go on, and taxes to do! At the beginning of May we drove down to Disneyland with my family and sister’s friend to celebrate my sister’s birthday. She wanted to run the Tinkerbell 10K so that’s what we did. My best friend and her family met us there as well. It was a super fun time! This was my first race ever and my sister’s first 10K. I had been training here in Honduras since January and was feeling a little nervous about it, but I knew that I would at least finish. Running here is not like running in Pinole, California. There are rocks, and it’s hot and humid, and there are dogs, and we’re at 2,000 ft elevation. When I’m running here I really can’t look up because the ground is so uneven. I actually fell once while training and completely skinned up my hip. Well, when the time came to run in Disneyland at 5:30am with my precious sister and 10,000 other people, I could tell things were gonna go well. We started out at a nice easy pace and I knew immediately we were going to run the whole thing. My sister warned me at mile 4 that she had never run farther than that, but we kept going. It was so much fun, and I would definitely do it again!



The last week of May was spent in Hawaii with Shane’s family. It was truly a dream vacation. We were all so blessed. Our hotel was just gorgeous, we enjoyed beautiful beaches, watched the sunset on a volcano at 10,000 feet, went snorkeling, attended a luau, and ate really delicious food. Oh, and we were all present to witness Shane’s parents’ vow renewal. It was so intimate and beautiful. Now we’re all trying to figure out how we can make this a yearly tradition (ok, maybe every 5 years ??).

In between those two trips we visited 3 churches and El Sobrante Christian School to update them on how we’re doing and just felt so loved and cared for. We had lots of coffees and lunches and dinners with various supporters, and we were so blessed because we love them all so much. There were a few we couldn’t connect with, but we’ll catch them next time. It truly was not a chore to spend time with the people who have sent us. They are absolutely lovely, and we left every meeting feeling encouraged.

We also had a few housekeeping matters to attend to. For one, we had to get our taxes done. That actually turned out to be a huge blessing because our income dropped so drastically last August. Yay for refunds! Shane also had to go out to San Francisco to apply for his second year leave of absence from the police department. He had to write a memo that would go all the way up the chain of command to the chief, and it had to be signed off by each person along the way. Now, since we’ve been gone, a lot of new people have taken these positions and there were quite a few of them that Shane did not know personally. One of whom being a recent convert to Islam. And he didn’t know the new police chief either. So we were on the edge of our seats for quite some time waiting to find out the verdict. Taking a second consecutive year of leave had only been done once before that people knew of, and really wasn’t allowed as far as HR was concerned. By the end of our week in Hawaii I realized that we were going to have neither the taxes nor the memo done by the time we flew home even though we had started the process as soon as we arrived. So I had to move our flight to June 8th as everything wrapped up. We found out that Shane’s leave was approved, and that means that he still has a job when we return next year! Very good news worth waiting for!

So as I wrap up this post I’ll leave you with a few funny thoughts that crossed my head as we were gone. Just for fun ­čÖé

Toilet seat covers! Automatic soap dispensers! I can flush the toilet paper…thank you Lord I can flush the toilet paper. ┬áThese roads! They’re so smooth! Driving is so relaxing…wait, maybe too relaxing…I better remember which country I’m in and obey the rules. I’m so cold. I am always cold. So many good restaurants, how am I possibly going to fit them all in before we leave? Target! (need I say more?) How did these kids end up with so many toys and clothes? How are we going to get this all home? Oh, look, that’s new! That wasn’t here before.

And lastly I will just share my experience at Target. And I knew this would happen. People warned me it would happen! I ran in to Target to just get a couple things and I headed for the self check-out. I thought, “Do you really trust yourself to do self check-out Jessica? You’ve been gone for a while…no, it’ll be fine. I only have a few things!” Well, as soon as I scanned the first item I realized there were no plastic bags to put them in. So I look around in a panic and fortunately a cashier was standing nearby with some sturdier (biodegradable?) looking plastic bags, saw my face and said, “How many will you need?” I told her 2 and went back to scanning. Then the screen told me that I had earned a $5 gift card and it said “Scan Gift Card” and I thought “What on earth? We’re scanning our own gift cards now?!” The cashier saw me again and pointed to the gift cards RIGHT IN FRONT OF MY FACE and so I grabbed one and continued on. Then the screen asked me how many bags I had used and charged 10 cents for each one. Apparently California banned free plastic bags and Target now trusts you to scan your own gift cards. Things change so quickly! And I’m sure we’ll be in for lots of other surprises the next time we visit.

Take care everyone, we love you and we’re so grateful for your support!

Love, Jess