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Friday, September 14, 2012

Welkom Back

After 16 weeks in the U.S. we returned to South Africa and our family on this side of the ocean.  For most of the kids at The Village this was their first time to have one of us missionary families gone for any length of time.  We weren't sure how they would respond - if they would be tentative, shy, or warm and excited.  We didn't have to wait too long to find out.

The flight from the US took about 36 hours and was mainly uneventful.  One funny thing did happen that caused me to post the following on Facebook:

Louis O'Tool
September 7
Actual conversation with Amber Litke O'Tool on our descent into Dubai:
Louis - "Hey, there is downtown Dubai."
Amber - "Where?"
Louis - (pointing out the righthand window) "Over there. That is the tallest building in the world."
Amber - "Which one?"
And if you're not sure why this is funny then I have nothing more to say.
Like · 

We didn't get in to Johannesburg until too late that evening to make the trip back to Welkom, so we spent the night in a local hotel.  The next day we made the 3 hour trip to The Village, arriving about mid-afternoon.

Back to the present:
When we arrived at Restoring Hope Village some of the children came running over to see us, while some of the others held back a bit.  Mainly the younger kids were the most excited, while the older ones weren't exactly sure how to respond.  It didn't take long for them all to warm up though...mostly once they saw Drake and Meredith everyone was happy again.  So Amber and I now know that we rank firmly at the bottom of the O'Tool family.  Actually, Meredith couldn't wait to jump out of the car and hug Monica.  On the other hand, Drake was a bit hesitant so all the kids piled into the car to mob him.

Lois Niehoff had made some cake for us all to enjoy together, which we did in the new Team Kitchen. Brian gave us a tour of all the work that had been done while we were gone and the place really looks great.  Lots of thanks to Brian, the Thabong boys, and all the teams that helped accomplish some of the projects around The Village.

Lois and our friend Paddy had spent the day before cleaning our house.  South African winters are very dry and dusty.  We learned that they had to clean drifts of sand out of our house where it had blown in around the doors.  What an amazing blessing to have friends who care so much for us!

We're still adjusting from the jet lag.  The first couple days were tough because not only is your sleep scheduled out of whack, but so is the eating schedule.  I ate a big lunch one day at 1:00, and then was almost painfully hungry again at 3:00 because that would be the normal breakfast time in the States.  Very strange and the first time I remember that happening.  They say that jet lag gets tougher as you get older, so now I know why Amber has always struggled with it so much:-)

There is so much more to say, but it will have to wait for another time.  While we didn't get much of a break due to all the travel and meetings in the US, Amber and I both agree that we feel refreshed.  The Holy Spirit is so gracious, giving us all we need and so much more.














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