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As wonderful as Colorado Springs was, we could not wait to get to Phoenix to see Greg, Liz and Russell. Both the airport in Colorado Springs and the one in Denver were super clean and convenient and our timing was super as well as Liz pulled up to meet us about thirty seconds after we collected our baggage. It was so sweet to see our darling daughter again and what a joy to be greeted at Holly and Vern’s gorgeous home by happy hugs from Russ. He has grown up so much since we last saw him, has boundless energy and moves too quickly to even begin to keep up with him. We don’t think we have ever heard such an infectious little giggle, but we could be biased.

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In spite of the fact that Arizona is largely desert, the house where we stayed is built on a series of waterways so that although from the street it looks like a pretty regular subdivision, all the homes open out back onto a waterway that creates the community. Each home has a boat so that the neighbours are able to meander on the waterways and visit around. Although the back yard is small, there is a lovely sitting area, BBQ, pool and a grapefruit tree that was heavy with ripe fruit. The combination created a great diversion for Russ who spent hours throwing grapefruit into the pool and delighting in the splashing that eventually ended up in a short swim in the very cold water.

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It was the perfect environment to relax and get caught up with the kids over BBQs, boatrides and quiet evenings together. After years of smog-filled skies, we actually got to see some stars overhead. We even got to babysit Russ overnight while Liz and Greg had an evening to themselves at a nearby hotel. Russ loves to walk so we had plenty of opportunity to get to know the neighbourhood. Pam even managed a little shopping time with Liz and a last minute visit to Goodwill which became necessary when Steve discovered he was heading off to a job fair without a tie. It is amazing what two bucks can do.

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Our heart aches with the length of time we have to endure between visits with our kids and grandkids. It is by far the hardest part of ministry abroad. For the last couple of years and especially in the last year we have been praying practically everyday that the Lord would allow us to minister for Him closer to North America. It is not just the distance, although that is tough enough, but the time zone disparity means that Steve is either at work on in bed when the kids call, and cost of flights and the amount of time to takes to get home makes it prohibitive to visit for a week even if we didn’t have work and ministry schedules to juggle. This visit just made the whole idea of relocation that much more pressing.

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