The taxi arrived at 4:20 AM and whisked us away to the Valencia airport for our TAP Portugal flights to Lisbon and Newark. In New Jersey we boarded a United flight for Cincinnati. Our layover in Lisbon was an unreasonable five-plus hours—unreasonable, that is, if you had set your alarm for 3:00 AM.  Seemed to me that with just a little planning they (whoever the “they” are who govern such things) could have let us sleep a little longer  by scheduling, say, a 45-minute layover before we headed across the Atlantic. Airline departure times seem so arbitrary, don’t they? The schedulers never seem to take into consideration the sleep requirements of their geriatric passengers.

The view from the window on our Valencia to Lisbon flight. It’s been quite awhile since we last flew in a prop plane.

We’re not ones to complain, though, so we set our alarms, wrestled our luggage down from the sixth to the ground floor (thankful the elevator’s recent repair job was still holding), and gave more thanks for our trouble-free flights. Trouble-free, that is, until we arrived in Cincinnati. That’s when we discovered my suitcase had stayed behind in Newark. Wouldn’t you know—we had had no problems until we transferred from the Portuguese to the American airline. United has had a string of mishaps lately.

We enjoyed the prop plane for sentimental reasons, but admit that jet-propulsion beats propellers.

But at least we could celebrate the fact that we were not dragged bruised and bleeding off the United flight like the Kentucky doctor who refused to give up his seat so some airline employee could have it. He contended that because he’d paid for it and needed to get home to his patients he should not be ejected. Seems reasonable. Nor were we like Lucie Bahetoukilae, the non-English-speaking passenger who showed her ticket to Paris when she boarded her United flight in Newark (our transfer airport!) on April 24 but was surprised to step off her the plane in San Francisco. “Our bad,” said the embarrassed airline. Then there were the recent fistfights on other airlines. We feel lucky we got off at our planned destination with only one lost suitcase. And no bruises.

Good friends Mark and Evelyn Taylor and their daughter Jennifer Johnson (also a good friend!) at the CMF board meeting. The Indian attire I’m wearing was a gift from the Lall family in India. It seemed appropriate for my speech here.

We enjoyed three days in Cincinnati at the home of Mark and Evelyn Taylor. They showered us with every kindness but one. They did a lousy job with the weather. It was beastly—hard winds, heavy rainstorms, unseasonably cold temperatures.  But warm friendship conquers all. Joy was especially grateful for the two trips they gave us to a Graeter’s Ice Cream store. Sin comes in various packages.

The Taylors drove us on to Indianapolis, the second stop on this brief return to the States. On May 7 Dr. Doug Priest retired after 20 years as Christian Missionary Fellowship’s Executive Director and 43 years in total with CMF. I got to speak for his retirement party, elegantly dressed in the national attire the Lalls gave me in India. We were happily surprised to discover that our Seattle daughter Kim was also in town. She didn’t know we were coming, either. We’re a very close family. Kim was there to attend a CHE (Community Health Evangelism) workshop. She and husband Ed were in Nairobi, Kenya, last month for short-term mission work in that city’s notorious slums. She was in Cincinnati to enhance her skills in serving the poor.

Doug Priest, longtime leader of CMF–and my boss. Really, he’s not that much taller than I am. I’m sitting on a stool!

It was an honor to honor Doug. I’ve known him since his parents (Doug, Sr. and Marge) resigned their Oregon ministry and prepared to go to Ethiopia as missionaries in the 1960s. Doug’s been associated with CMF his entire life, first as MK (missionary’s kid), then as a university student in America preparing to return to Africa, then with his wife Robyn as a missionary in Kenya, Tanzania, and Singapore before being called to head CMF twenty years ago. His strong commitment to serve the poor and marginalized has left its mark on the whole organization, now at work in 23 countries. My own long-term association began as a staff member in 1964, so you can imagine what it meant to me to say a good word about both the CMF and its long-time leader.

Velcros Jim and Carolyn Hollingsworth and DNA daughter Kim in Indianapolis

In addition to the unexpected reunion with daughter Kim, Joy and I also enjoyed staying with Velcro daughter Carolyn and her husband Jim. Carolyn came into our life in the 1970s during our ministry with East 38th Street (now Post Road) Christian Church when, during a bout with her health, we invited her to stay with us for awhile. We’ve never let her go.

Biological daughter Kim Thompson and Velcro daughter Julie Ronde

CMF board meetings in recent years have provided the opportunity for other reunions. Julie Ronde serves on the board. She and her husband Darrin, pastor of Pike’s Peak Christian Church in Security, Colorado, have been part of our family since the 1980s. Darrin was our Children’s Pastor in Mesa when he married Julie, who with her little daughter Stephanie was already “ours.”

Our next post will introduce you to Chelmsford, Massachusetts, our home since May 10.


Saucer Magnolia–Spring in New England
Lilacs bloom just outside our door in Chelmsford
Dark wings in the sunset

19 thoughts on “BACK TO THE USA”

  1. Good photos of people I know! I went to ccu in 1968 with Mark and Evelyn
    Still close friends with 2 of evelyn’ s roommates from then
    …one of whom you knew her dad. ( Phyllis Ashcraft girdwood)

    1. Thanks for this reminder of the Ashcrafts and Girdwoods. You do maintain excellent friendships!

    1. No, we won’t stop blogging, not at least until we’ve completed Round Two of this Next Phase (but not the Last Phase) adventure sometime in 2018.

  2. Glad you arrived safely in the U.S.! Of course, I have a special place in my heart for CMF because of my niece and her husband, Linda and David Giles.

    1. And now we have three generations of Giles CMF missionaries, starting with Ray and Effie. Their grandson was commissioned at this May board meeting. (Good to hear from you, too, Daisy. It’s been too long.)

  3. Welcome. You guys look awesome. That Indian Kurta suits you fine. Sheela and I are in USA ’till June 13th.

  4. Welcome back (for a while) to the goofy and ever goofier USA. Have you come across “the blogmire”? I’ve just been reading it for about a month. The home page warns, “Warning: This Page is not a Safe Place!” Here’s the link to yesterday’s blog:

    i’ve celebrated your return to the United States by getting Mohs surgery for a squamous cell carcinoma on my right lower eyelid on Wednesday and cosmetic repair on Thursday. When they take off the bandages next Wednesday, I’ll most likely be the handsomest guy in California.

    1. Yes, I’ve been reading Blogmire. Haven’t decided what I think about him yet. Stop that surgery stuff! At our age there’s no end of them. You and I could run a race in chasing down carcinomas. A Spanish dermatologist just attacked several more of mine. Why don’t I just admit defeat and let you win this one? I’ve already conceded to you in the handsomest race.

  5. Dr. Lawson! I am so happy you are blogging. I will be following you. Feel free to follow my blog as well….’Looking Back and Forth’….love to see you sometime and catch up. We’re right outside of DC in VA and will be here for another year then retiring to St Petersburg, FL.

    1. Barb, so good to hear from you after all these years! Yes, I’ll check out your blog. What happy memories your comment brought back.

  6. Dear Roy and Joy, I assume you are not finished travelling (sp?) yet! Maybe Roy could put a pair of jammies in Joy’s bag in case United fails you again. Denny and I met Doug Priest (Jr.) on the beach near Barview Jetty years ago. He and a young friend were building a fire athe bottome of a pit of sand and we were interested to know more about their interesting method. A friendly exchange led to the revelation that they were Missonaries Kids, and this was the accepted method they had learned. Doug’s family: we had supported for years through First Christian Church here.Thanks for sharing the pictures! 🙂

    1. No, we aren’t finished. We’ll just be here for a few weeks (speaking, meeting, doctoring, etc.) before we take off for Round Two. Thanks for telling us of your relationship with the Doug Priests, Sr. and Jr. Good people.

  7. So good to be with you in Indy! You continue to inspire us for our “Round One”. Love you much!

  8. Well Roy Lawson!! I’m glad you are still active although I do miss lamenting about all the stuff that goes wrong as we age. Loved reading about your and Joy’s travel.

    1. So good to hear from you, Betty. As I recall our race toward old age and all its attending complications, you held a slight edge on me. Hope you’re doing well. Hope you are doing well and still finding ways to help other people, which is your signature!

  9. We’re happy you are back in the U.S.A., albeit temporarily, and we hope your suitcase has caught up with you by now. Enjoy a special New England birthday. We look forward to seeing you in June!

  10. 5/16 – At supper this evening it dawned on me that tomorrow is Roy’s 79th birthday! These days I’m always slow. Happy, happy birthday!! Love, Faye

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