October 7, 2015
More of Our Connections in Harrisonburg

The first weekend inn October is the Virginia Mennonite Relief Sale where the proceeds go to Mennonite Central Committee to assist in their relief work (helping those devastated by natural disaster, war, and other poverty sources). We were excited to be able to attend this year even though the weather was very cold and rainy. First we ate supper with Dennis and Alice, one of their daughters-in-law and two granddaughters.

eating a Friday supper with family at the Va. Mennonite Relief Sale 

Friday Evening Meal with Extended Family (2-Oct-15; © Richard L. Bowman)

the Friday evening auction at Va. Menno. Relief Sale 

Blanket by Eastside & Ridgeway Kids Club at Auction on Friday (2-Oct-15; © Richard L. Bowman)

Weavers church friends making scrambled eggs 

Two of Our Friends from Weavers Mennonite Church Fry Scrambled Eggs (3-Oct-15; © Richard L. Bowman)

the Saturday morning auction at the Va. Menno. Relief Sale 

The Saturday Morning Auction Sells a Quilt (3-Oct-15; © Richard L. Bowman)

Elsie looking over the wares at the Artisan's Hope booth 

Elsie Checks Out Items Sold at the Artison's Hope Booth (3-Oct-15; © Richard L. Bowman)

Yesterday was a day for contacts regarding Albania. Over lunch we met with Jim and Ann Hershberger as they contemplate their trip to Lezhë  in early November. Ann is a nursing professor at Eastern Mennonite University, Jim is a board member of Virginia Mennonite Missions and the LAC US board, and program coordinator of the Harrisonburg Refuge Resettlement office.

Jim and Ann Hershberger talk with us over lunch 

Br (6-Oct-15; © Richard L. Bowman)

Then in the afternoon I met with Janet Blosser, Mediterranean Regional Director for VMMissions, and Lynn Suter, Director of Operations and International Ministries of VMMissions, to discuss our upcoming service in Albania.

Janet Blosser (Virginia Mennonite Missions) makes a point 

Janet Blosser Makes a Point in Our Meeting (6-Oct-15; © Richard L. Bowman)

Lynn Suter (Virginia Mennonite Missions) also ponders what is being said 

Lynn Suter Listens to My Comment (6-Oct-15; © Richard L. Bowman)

It is good to know that our friends are our friends and to have friends who are our colleagues in our ministry in Albania. Thank you, God!  

September 30, 2015
Some LAC Connections in Harrisonburg

While it does not seem possible, for the past year and a half, we have spent three different four-month blocks living in Lezhë, Albania, and teaching and working at Lezha Academic Center, an American-style high school for Albanian students.  As we wait for an end to my physical therapy and our return to Albania on October 16/17, we do get to interact with LAC friends.

One such occasion was breakfast on Tuesday morning. Don and Rita Steiner, board members of the American foundation and school board for LAC, hosted Elsie and I and another couple.

Rita Steiner ponders a conversaiton

Rita Steiner Ponders Our Conversation (29-Sep-15; © Richard L. Bowman)

Don, Elsie and Rita

Don, Elsie and Rita Have Another Discussion (29-Sep-15; © Richard L. Bowman)

Last Friday afternoon, we met Barb Byer for coffee and tea at a new coffee shop in town, the Black Sheep. We had a very enjoyable time talking and reminiscing about her time with the team from Weavers Mennonite Church who had gone to LAC this summer for English classes and Bible camp. (I am still learning to use my phone as a camera, so I apologize for tthe bad quality of the photo!!)

Barb Byer and Elsie at the Black Sheep Coffee shop

Barb Byer and Elsie Enjoy Conversaiton and Coffee and Tea (25-Sep-15; © Richard L. Bowman)

On Monday I went to our local Iraqi store to buy some bulk Ceylon black tea for consumption here and in Lezhë. As I was leaving the store after some more good conversation, I could not leave without buying some baklava that I noticed for sale.

baklava from an Iraqi store in Harrisonburg

Excellent Baklava; the Half-eater One I Already Sampled! (28-Sep-15; © Richard L. Bowman)

Last Saturday morning, we also had another breakfast, or brunch since it lasted from 8-11 a.m. It was a lovely time of sharing with our small group from Mount Clinton Mennonite Church--Paul and Evelyn Kratz and Nate and Mim Yoder. They are also deeply committed to our service in Albania at LAC and the church there.

Our small group from Mt. Clinton Mennonite Church

Brunch with Our Small Group from Our Church (26-Sep-15; © Richard L. Bowman)

We appreciate all of our connections with US friends of LAC. We thank you and God for your support and interest. 

September 19, 2015
More Samples from Our Life in Harrisonburg

On Sunday September 6, our tenth grandchild, Kiara Grace Byler, was born to her parents, Heidi and Holden. She joins her three-almost-four-year-old sister Sydney.

Elsie and Kiara on day one

Grandma Elsie and One-day-old Kiara (6-Sep-15; © Richard L. Bowman)

me and Kiara on day one

Grandpa Richard (me) and One-day-old Kiara (6-Sep-15; © Richard L. Bowman)

Kiara on day 12

Healthy and Growing--12-day-old Kiara (18-Sep-15; © Richard L. Bowman)

While we had originally not planned on being here to celebrate Kiara's birth, my need for a second hip replacement meant that we were here to enjoy her birth with her family. Thank you God!

Another event which we enjoyed being able to attend was the annual Bowman reunioon at my brother Leon's and his wife Debi's home. The reunion encompasses all o f the offspring of my Grandma and Grandpa Bowman through all of the generations. Not near all of us attend, but since we had not been at one for a number of years, this year was a treat for us.

many conversations happened at the Bowman reunion

In Conversation: Cousin Delores, Aunt Elsie & Aunt Anna May (13-Sep-15; © Richard L. Bowman)

my dad, Leroy, and my oldest brother, Jim

Pondering Something: My Dad Leroy and Big Brother Jim (13-Sep-15; © Richard L. Bowman)

The reunion was in Pennsylvania on Sunday September 13, so we made it a long weekend, arriving on Friday and leaving on Monday. So I was able to have breakfast with my Dad, Leroy Bowman that Monday. It is always enjoyable and challenging to share in hearing about his life and sharing ours and in discussing all kinds of church issues and joys. 

my dad listens to my explanation of something over breakfast

Having Breakfast with Dad (14-Sep-15; © Richard L. Bowman)

One of the things I have been doing for Lezha Academic Center (Albania) is to purchase some IT equipment. So I have visited and talked with the people at BlueRiodgeMac. So I have bought a new iMac and am checking out some keyboards, mice, and external hard drives. 

front of BlueRidgeMac shop

Front Entrance to the BlueRidgeMac Shop (15-Sep-15; © Richard L. Bowman)

In the middle of all of this, I am still doing physical therapy three times a week with two to three more weeks to go before we leave to return to Albania on October 16. So we are busy but not swamped and have good times of relaxation, too.

September 4, 2015
A Few Vignettes of Our Life in Harrisonburg

The commissioning of tranSend workers under Virginia Mennonite Missions was held on July 16. However, since that was just two days after my hip replacement surgery, we were not able to attend even though we are two of these workers. Go to the VMM web site for more details.

VMM web site

Photo of the tranSend Workers on the VMM Web Site (4-Sep-15; Richard L. Bowman)

In odder to allow the family who plans to live in our home this year to move in as promised, we moved out of our house on August 13 into a small basement apartment which Dennis and Alice Brubaker offered us. Alice and Elsie are sisters, and we are enjoying the time we share together--conversations and meals, etc.

On Sunday August 16 we received a text from  Ken Horst, development associate with VMM, that he and Justin Rittenhouse were going to be sharing at vespers that evening at the Virginia Mennonite Retirement Community. The topic was going to be the service of tranSend volunteers as teachers at Lezha Academic Center (Lezhë, Albania). So we attended and enjoyed the interaction.

Ken Horst (VMM) spweaks at VMRC vedspers

Ken Horst Speaks at VMRC Vespers (16-Aug-15; © Richard L. Bowman)

Justin Rittenhouse also shared his story of teaching at LAC

Justin Sharing His Testimony of Teaching at LAC (16-Aug-15; © Richard L. Bowman)

Justin still speaks with his voice and his hands!

Justin Uses His Hands and Voice to Communicate (16-Aug-15; © Richard L. Bowman)

At my August 27 appointment with the surgeon who did my operation, he cleared me for four to six weeks of physical therapy. He was extremely pleased with my progress and healing, and so are we. For the first time in 10 months I am completely off of any opiate pain relievers. Thank God for his healing miracles.

me at the Advantage physical therapy office

I'm Leaving My Truck and Going into Physical Therapy This Morning (4-Sep-15; © Richard L. Bowman)

I continue to enjoy photographing flowers, animals, landscapes and trains. Here are a few examples.

small compact zinnia floowers

Zinnias Growing Outside Our House (12-Aug-15; © Richard L. Bowman)

three sparrows at our feeder

Three House Sparrows Outside Our Apartment Window in Harrisonburg (22-Aug-15; © Richard L. Bowman)

a cornfield nearn Harrisonburg, VA, USA 

A Stately Cornfield Near Harrisonburg, Virginia, USA (5-Jul-15; © Richard L. Bowman)

two Norfolk Southern train engines ready to pull a train 

Norfolk and Southern Locomotives Ready to Pull Their Grain Train (31-Aug-15; © Richard L. Bowman)

I am also meeting from time to time with VMM staff to discuss things in Albania or simply to review possible changes in VMM policy relating to social media, etc. In addition we are keeping somewhat in touch with Lezhë and God's ministries there. God willing, we will be more than ready to return to Albania on October 16/17. 

--©2014-15, Richard L. Bowman

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