Monday, December 12, 2005

Holiday Travel

Laura, Nathan, and I are enjoying our time with our families. Since leaving Brownwood, we have made stops in Round Rock (TX), Ft. Worth (TX), Perryville (AR), Little Rock (AR), and Jonesboro (AR) in what we are calling our “farewell tour.” We are so thankful that we have this time to spend with our loved ones before leaving for Bolivia.

Our first stop was in Round Rock where we spent time with the Westside congregation. Elder Larry Crooks lead the congregation in prayer over us and the Cochabamba team. We are humbled by the love and support that they give to us. We are blessed to have Westside as a supporting congregation. (

After our time at Round Rock, we traveled to Ft. Worth to Laura’s parents. We spent the time getting some much needed rest after wrapping up our internship and moving out of our home in Brownwood. While at Ft. Worth, Laura’s best friend, Jennifer Gorham, flew down from Chicago to visit us for a couple of days. Jennifer is completing her doctorate degree in Psychology at Wheaton College.

From Ft. Worth, we traveled to Perryville, AR to share Thanksgiving with my family. My mom and grandma prepared their traditional Thanksgiving feast. And we kept the tradition of eating too much turkey and dressing! I can’t help but think of how Thanksgiving will be different in Bolivia. I don’t know if they have turkeys down there. If not, maybe we can get FedEx to ship one straight from mom’s oven. It was an especially thankful time for my uncle Tommy and his family. Just three days after Thanksgiving, they survived an “F3” tornado that tore through parts of Perryville. They escaped with only a few scratches as the huddled around each other in their living room. Unfortunately, their home was completely destroyed. My brother, Barry, and I joined the rest of our family in helping clean up the destruction.

On our way up to Jonesboro to Laura’s grandma’s house, we stopped in Little Rock for a few days to visit our close friends The Kisers and The Subletts. We met these two wonderful families while serving in the inner city of North Little Rock. They have served tirelessly in the inner city projects for nearly ten years impacting the lives of many disadvantaged youths. We are now in Jonesboro at Grannie Wallace’s house where we will be until Dec. 21st.

Nathan continues to grow and develop. He is now holding is head up without looking like a “bobble head”. He is responding to our voices and gives great big smiles when he sees us - especially in the morning. He is definitely a morning baby! In his spare time he likes to look at his hands and giggle. The only problem is that he likes to look a little too long until his eyes get crossed. His mom and I think it is cute when it happens but are quick to draw his attention away from his hands for fear that he will stay that way. We’ve done our best to take lots of pictures and video of everyone for him to remember as he gets older.

As we travel to visit and spend time with our families, I began to realize that life will go on as usual here in America. There will be more holidays, birthdays, hardships, and accomplishments. These things are what we will miss the most as we are away from our families. We will miss them and they us. We knew that we would be making sacrifices as we answered God’s call to serve in Bolivia. What we didn’t realize fully is how much our families are sacrificing too.

I have to admit that these past few weeks have been full of emotion. Our emotions rise as we are reunited with our families and then sink with sadness as we say good-bye. This is a bittersweet time much like Paul’s departure in Acts 20 and 21.

Our plans for the next few weeks are to stay in Jonesboro until Dec. 21. While here, we will be attending a Christmas gathering with Laura’s family. We will then travel to Ft. Worth to spend Christmas with Laura’s dad, mom, and sister. This will be our last stop before heading back to Brownwood. We will be in Brownwood for about a week before leaving for Bolivia on January 9.

Everyone is invited to Brownwood for our “Sendoff Sunday” on Sunday, January 8.

Team News

In the second week of November we wrapped up our internship. The internship was an invaluable experience for us as a team. We heard from many “experts” in a variety of areas such as interpersonal relationships, mission teams, mission strategy, theology, and mission life. We are thankful to the Austin Avenue missions committee for the time and effort they put into preparing us for Bolivia.
Now that the internship is over, each family has boxed up their belongings and moved out of their houses/apts in Brownwood. The items they plan to take were placed in storage and the rest were sold in our yard sale. Each family is spending the holidays with their families before returning to Brownwood on Jan. 2.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! We love you. God Bless – Gary, Laura, and Nathan Bull.
Upcoming Events

• Send Off Sunday at Austin Avenue in Brownwood, TX on Sunday, January 8
• Team leaves for Bolivia on Monday, January 9
Prayer Requests

Please continue to pray for us. Traveling and being homeless is sometimes tiring. Pray that we will stay healthy. Nathan is just now getting over a cold. He also may be teething.

Please pray for our team as we all say “good-bye” to our families and friends. Pray that everyone will have safe travels.

Please continue to pray for the people of Cochabamba, that their hearts will be softened to the Gospel message and that God will begin to raise up future leaders.

We are so thankful for our relationships with you all and are praying God’s richest blessings on you and your families.

Thursday, December 8, 2005

Welcome to earth!

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