|Mission Central, Iowa|
|Time with Gary Thies at Mission Central|
After sister bonding in Overland Park, we headed on over to Mission Central in Iowa to meet and talk with Gary Thies. It was a unique place, and we enjoyed our time there. Gary is one of a kind and "not normal" and proud of it (anyone who has been to Mission Central will know what I am talking about!). I was so very excited when I realized that Mapleton, IA is not for from where my father grew up and where my 90-year-old aunt and many of my cousins live! I used to spend summers on the farm in NE when I was a child and it was always an extraordinary time for this Ca. Native! I had not seen my aunt in many years and was thrilled to be able to spend some time with her. I was so glad that she recognized me right away when I walked into the dining room of the nursing home. What a blessing it was to spend a bit of time with my cousins as well!
|My Aunt Darlene and cousin Lisa in Laurel, NE|
|Craig and cousins Kyle, Connie and Dave Schutte in Sioux City, IA|
|Cousin Jim Schroeder and Lisa Papenhausen, Laurel, NE|
The next stop was Wheat Ridge Colorado to visit the folks at Wheatridge Lutheran Church and stay with our friends Steve and Emi Morsch. They decided to flee the crowds and expense of California shortly after we did but they decided to make Colorado their home. Our dear friend Pastor Christian Rasmussen is also in Colorado and it was so neat to have the gang all together again! Again, Craig preached a fine sermon, and we met so many supportive people at Wheat Ridge Lutheran Church. We had such a fun time getting to know Steve and Emi's pastor Kent Peck and his family. We were even treated to a dinner at Casa Bonita which was a dream come true for me. Yes, with cliff divers, Black Bart's cave, a mariachi band, and a gun fight it truly was the Disneyland of Mexican restaurants!
|Presentation in Wheat Ridge, CO|
|Pastor Kent and Lori Peck, Emi and Steve Morsch in Wheatridge, Co.|
We had some very long travel days before we got to our final destination, Irvine, California. The Denver and Utah scenery was just stunning, and I was grateful to be on the northern route this time! I was about 12 the last time I had experienced it so I'm pretty sure my bad pre-teen attitude dampened my appreciation for the immense beauty. Glad I was afforded another chance to enjoy it all!
|Scenic turn out near Vail, CO|
|Chrysler is making strange sounds|
|After the Rocky Mountains, beautiful Utah!|
We had a bit of a car malfunction along the way but made it to Barstow. Fortunately, it was quick and inexpensive fix. We had the opportunity to share a bit about our mission work with the office manager! I love the fact that my husband will talk with just about anyone! She told us that Barstow was the home of the original Del Taco and that the originals there had never changed the recipe and were different than all of the others. I had no idea. Of course, we had to try it and were not disappointed. If you find yourself heading through Bastow I do recommend the original Del Taco(I'm sensing a Mexican food theme in this blog post right now).
|Not found in St Louis|
Concordia, Irvine is our new home for now. We are grateful for the apartment style dorm for as long as we need it. We have already visited Faith Capo Beach, Rialto and other places since we've been here. Craig was able to take part in the ordination of our old friend Darrin Sheek as well! I will write more about that another time! Craig likes to say that he not only loves me, he likes me, and that is what is important. We genuinely like each other! Our journey would be so much more challenging if we were not best friends and a source of encouragement towards each other.
|Our new home away from home|
|So many fascinating things to take pictures of at Mission Central!|