Well here we are in 2010 and it has already taken off so fast!! Since our trip to the States in January we have hit the road running and I can't believe it's already April. We had an incredible visit back to the States beginning on Christmas Day. We were supposed to leave a few days earlier, but due to all the snowstorms in New York our flight was cancelled and nothing was available until Christmas Day so we took it! We visited Texas, Oklahoma, and Georgia in 4 short weeks. We soaked in every moment with family as much as possible. Ashtyn had so many people to love on and so many cousins to play with throughout the time we were there. It was wonderful to see how much all the kids have grown. We also got to meet our new niece, Ellory Joy and she is truly a joy to be around and hold. Of course we spent a good portion of our trip visiting our home church, Muskogee Church of Christ. It is always fulfilling to be around our church family spending quality time with godly people who fill us with encouragement and love. Thank you Muskogee Church for being there for us and listening to our hearts during times of praise and difficult times as well.
A highlight of our trip was the opportunity to go back to our "home" in Atlanta, GA. Larry and Becky Campbell graciously opened up their home to us during our stay there. What a blessing it was to spend time with this couple full of wisdom and Christ-like characters. A group of our friends gathered one night and we were able to share about the work in Greece and show a slideshow. We visited Greater Atlanta Christian School where both of us had the opportunity to teach. Matt spoke in Elementary Chapel, but mostly, we tried to see as many of our friends in the short amount of time we had.
Jetlag hit Ashtyn pretty hard going and coming. It took a while to settle back in and get her back on schedule, but the trip was well worth it despite this challenge! A few weeks after arriving back, we found out I am pregnant with our second baby! Thank you God for this blessing! The baby is due October 17th. I have a whole new experience awaiting for me here in Greece. Ha!
While we were gone the love meals, showers, laundry, diapers, and the Wednesday spiritual discussions continued. The Friday showers (women & children) are completely full every week. We average about 40 children per week and we can already see a change in the behavior and respect from the children during coloring time. Unfortunately, there have been several instances where Matt has had to intervene to break up fights between fathers and one time our lives were even threatened. Due to these circumstances, men are not allowed to come with their family on Fridays. It is strictly for women and children. We sense that the women feel more safe and comfortable to come. Please pray that this will cut down on tension and things will begin to run more smoothly.
To keep this post from being too long I will end it here with some pictures. In the next post I will write about Ashtyn's 2nd birthday, a Christian athletic tournament we attended, Easter and our Hellenic Ministries Annual Family Conference.
Matt, Nikki, & Ashtyn
Cousins Jackson and Zoe
Gram and Ashtyn having fun!
The Roussos family
"It's all about the granddaughters" - Gram
Nikki's sister, Melody
Miranda and new niece, Ellory Joy!
Gigi and Ashtyn bonding time...
Love you Papa Rary!
Gotta love the long airplane rides
Family pic Jan 2010