Aren't They Beautiful?

I have arrived in America. This picture was taken Thursday at Fort Williams in Cape Elizabeth, Maine. The famous Portland Headlight lighthouse is in the background of the photo below. What a beautiful day that was weather wise and company wise. You see, after snapping this picture, I drove to South Portland to visit my grandmother, Ella Manzo, better known to me as Grammy Manzo. 
Gram is 96 years old and she still lives in the same house where she has lived for over fifty years.  When I arrived at here house, she was in the middle of her morning devotions in her rocking chair in the living room. She gave me a big hug and a kiss, and we settled in to talk about what has been going on in our lives since last July. 
I got to tell her how much I appreciate her daily prayers and her financial support. I know that her prayers move heaven on my behalf, and I told her that maybe the only reason she's still here and not in heaven with her husband, my grandfather, Pappy Manzo, is that God has her here to lift me up in prayer. Here's a picture of the two of them hanging on the wall above the couch where I was sitting.
She told me that she had heard that I was writing something called a blog and that she'd heard I was a pretty good writer. She doesn't see well and she's not an online person, so she hasn't seen or read this blog, but she enjoys hearing about what God is doing in my life. I have spoken to her via FaceTime twice in the past year when she was at my parents' house. We are both blessed and amazed that we can speak to each other from opposite sides of the world.
Gram kindly assented to my request to take a picture together for my blog. I told her that there were people who wanted to see her face, but she doubted that. She worries that she will go home to be with Jesus while I am in Korea, but realizes that being a missionary is what God has for me to do, so it's okay for me to go. I left her with two cookies I brought her from the Scratch Baking Company (oatmeal with two kinds of raisins and apple spice) and told her I planned to visit again when I return from my weeklong visit in Baltimore.

Friday I went to Dresden, Maine with my parents, my brother-in-law Kevin Hancock, and his Uncle Ronny and Aunt Cherryl. We stopped at a coffee shop for some drinks and a chance to enjoy the river view. Here's the coffee shop:

Here are my parents:
My mother Kathryn and my father Bruce


Here's Kevin and his aunt and uncle:
And here's the river view:


We went to Dresden to attend a home fellowship hosted by Barbara Shorette, fondly known to many as Mutha, which is home Mainers with Downeast accents say the word mother. She is the lady dressed in blue in the lower left corner of this picture.
As you can see, Mutha's house is a popular place to visit for Christian fellowship. Folks were sitting in the kitchen, the dining room, and the living room.



As you can see above, my father led singing for the people in all the rooms. Then Kevin sang the first of three songs he sang that morning.
Uncle Ronny shared a testimony of his ministry and a portion from 1 Timothy 4:12-13. He and his wife have served as missionaries in Europe, Australia, Central America, and other parts of the world. I was introduced by my brother-in-law who shared a personal testimony of his upbringing and how he came to know my family. I shared about my time and travels in Asia and got everyone singing Jesus' Love is So Wonderful with all the hand motions.

My father had led us all in singing Forgiven, Forgotten, and Gone Forever, and I mentioned how I had sung that song in Japan and that the pastor of the church had translated it into Japanese so that his congregation can sing it as a worship song. For some reason, Mutha thought I could sing the song in Japanese and requested that I do so. It took me a minute to explain why I would be unable to do that. This misunderstanding was rather funny for all of us.

After a final song, we ate a good Maine potluck lunch. I had baked beans, a red hot dog, potato salad, and American chop suey. Yum! Whoopie pies and peanut butter fudge were available for dessert.
After eating, I went outside to take some pictures of the house and grounds. This house was built in the 1700s.
Front side

Back side
The old outhouse




Maine is a beautiful state and God's people are beautiful here as they are all over the world. Although Grammy Manzo and Mutha might chuckle at my saying so, they are two lovely ladies, because they reflect the heart of God and love His children. A grandmother and a mutha, serving God through prayer and hospitality. I am blessed to know them.

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