Family Farewells--George's Post
Not surprisingly, the hardest part of getting ready for a mission is the family farewells. Carole and I are in the midst of saying the painful goodbyes to our six children and their families.
Early July was the time pre-arranged for our eldest daughter Leah, her husband Ryan and their four children--Claire, Max, Daphne and Luke (or Lucas as I call him). They live in Alpharetta, GA, which is way too far away from our family home in the Pacific Northwest. Fortunately, we were able to pry them loose from their summer commitments--their Scout and girls' camps, swim lessons, and the Atlanta humidity--for a two week stay in Seattle, most of which was spent in the San Juan Islands. The highlights of their visit included July 4th fireworks in the backyard of the Woodinville family home; clamming in the mud flats of English Camp on Garrison Bay (a first for the Beal family); seeing Orcas off the west coast of Henry Island; going to Church, as a big family group, in the San Juan Island Branch; a midnight kayaking trip to stir up the flourescent swirlings with our oars; an overnight family boat trip to Victoria (the guys sleeping on the boat, while the girls had a room in the Empress Hotel); and visiting the Pacific Visitors Center in Victoria, with its marvelous collection of First Nation and early colonization exhibits. But, unfortunately, they are now gone and, absent an unexpected change in plans, we will not see them again before leaving for Africa in early November.