Arnold, Lisa and Megan Smyth came for a visit this past weekend! They are currently missionaries with CrossWorld, based out of Pennsylvania, and are traveling our great country to raise support for their ministry. I first met Arnold & Lisa over 10 years ago while doing a summer mission internship with CrossWorld (then UFM International) in Cork, Ireland. Lisa's parents, Ernie & Nancy Tromsness, have been in Ireland close to 30 years now, as missionaries. Lisa was a teenager during my time in Ballincolig with her family--so it's really great to see her now as a wife & mother. Our summer team lived with the Tromsness Family on and off during our time there--we gave them a run for their money, for sure.
Arnold is a real Irishman, complete with accent and black socks! Please don't ask him (or Lisa, for that matter) to share any stories about my time on the Emerald Isle...because they have NONE to tell. I promise. All southerners have an easy time adjusting to the culture in the Republic of Ireland. Seriously! My accent posed no problems for the locals, I knew if I wanted my coffee "black or white," and I never once intimated that I wanted to ride on a sheep. ("Ride" meaning something altogether different than it does here. Um...yeah!)
Caroline and Megan are just 1 month apart in age...so they had a great time playing together and only fought...well, all the time! Hey...they're both 2 and haven't mastered the fine art of sharing just yet. Libbey loved hearing Arnold & Lisa's accents (Lisa has one even though she's American--she was born & raised in Ireland), and I'm sure they thought her little country twang was just as cool.
Our church family was blessed to be able to hear Arnold speak in our Sunday evening services. We joked that they wouldn't have cared if he'd read a grocery list--just hearing him talk was a treat for us Lee Countains.
We had a blast with the Smyths during their visit--stayed up way too late talking, ate lots of good food, and had the chance to share a bit of our lives here with them. We loved spending time with them, and hope to see all 4 of them again soon! (Baby Smyth is due in April--and he still has no name!)
My absolute most favorite time while in Ireland was working a summer camp for young kids/teens. Living on a sheep farm, in a tent, with no "loo" (merely a bucket in a barn!) sounded completely unappealing to me at the time. Turns out, I'm a lot tougher than I thought and it proved to be the best experience for me. (Plus I got to drive Arnold's car a lot while there--sitting on the right side, shifting gears with my left hand--yeah, I did that!) We've told Arnold & Lisa that we're coming to camp one summer--and bringing a bunch of hillbillies from Southwest Virginia with us! Wouldn't that be a hoot?!? More precisely, wouldn't that be a blessing?