Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Overall Update and Report

Greetings everyone. We already miss all of you a ton - the kids break down in despair regularly wanting to go back to Cincinnati. Now, that may have had something to do with the fact that the temperature was triple digits here for the whole first two weeks. But the locals told us they were setting record highs even for way down here. The move went relatively smooth. Other than the UHaul overheating a little just over the Tennessee border, everything went very well - thanks be to God. Our apartment is very nice and comfortable. Outside of the fact that our a/c has broken at least 10 times (no, that's not an exaggeration) since we moved in, it has been a really nice place to live. They finally got it fixed (so we think). But thankfully, the heat has broken a little recently and we even got a whole bunch of rain (something I hear you haven't gotten any of in Cincinnati) which was the leftovers of a hurricane or something like that.

On a sad note, the apartment unit building right next to ours completely burned to the ground. No one got hurt, but everything was destroyed. In fact, the bulldozers came yesterday to knock what was left standing down so they can rebuild. I woke up at 5:00 Sunday morning and heard the commotion outside. When I looked, I was really rather terrified - flames shooting 15-20 feet into the air - the entire building was ablaze. There were three firetrucks there and they were putting water on that building for the next 9 or 10 hours before they got it all out. Here are links to a couple of news articles about it (the unit we are in is to the right of the one that burneddown):

Article 1

Article 2

Article 3

Article 4

School is rigorous. I had actually finished Hebrew 1 through RTS' "Virtual Campus" a week before class started, but Dr. Van Pelt wanted me to audit Hebrew 1 (not for credit) this semester so I would learn it the same way everyone else did when I go into Intermediate Hebrew. Well, his approach is so different from what I got in the Virtual Hebrew that I'm really having to treat Hebrew 1 like another class. So, this makes my workload the equivalent of 20 hours (yikes). I will get through it, but I am definitely being pushed like never before. My eyes hurt from all the reading... but it is all good stuff. So, if you count Hebrew, here are all the classes I'm taking right now: 1. Hebrew I, 2. Greek Exegesis, 3. Johannine literature, 4. Educational Ministry of the Church, 5. Pastoral Counseling, 6. Principles of Sanctification, 7. Preaching I, & 8. Folk Religion.

Amy is homeschooling Abigail and Seth this year. That has definitely been a challenge for her, but she is really doing well with all of it. The kids are adjusting. Life down here is a bit different. There are more "critters" all over the place. There are lizards everywhere, very large crickets, grasshoppers, and a bunch of other large bugs that I don't recognize. Oh, and there are millions of these little bugs that look like normal ants but are really warrior, tribal, evil ants - they bite and it hurts bad. I took the kids to ride their bikes and stood in the grass while they rode on the blacktop. I felt an itch on my foot (I was wearing sandals) and looked down to see my feet and lower ankles crawling with those little monsters. I must have looked downright charismatic there for a couple of minutes. I don't know exactly how many times they bit me, but my feet were a mess there for a while.

My job at Pearl Presbyterian Church is going well thus far. I have been teaching the youth group (8 or 10 kids each Wednesday night), an adult Sunday school class, and they'd like me to lead worship too (which I'm going to start doing this Sunday). There are probably 125 or so on a given Sunday. It is a wonderful group of people - very down to earth and they have been so kind to all of us. And they love to eat. And these people really know how to cook. They have dinner together every Wednesday night before their activities - people just bring whatever and they eat together at 5:30 and start activities at 6:00. Pretty good idea, eh? Oh, I also had to preach two Sunday evenings ago - they realized *after the morning service* that no one was scheduled to preach... so, I volunteered. I had 2 hours to prepare something. I pulled my John 3:16 notes, grabbed myself by the seat of my pants, and just went for it. Pastor Tim told me to never turn down an opportunity to preach - ever. So, Pastor, I made you proud :-) (I think... you'd have to ask them).

Pray for us - We're all still adjusting a bit to being down here - It's hard to be so far away from home and to not know anyone. I'm meeting some great people down here, but I really really miss all of you very much.

Your servant,

Patrick Hines