Yes, we met the Duggars and the Bates. There were really just families. Families that love to serve the Lord. Families with normal children that misbehave. Families that stop to take the time to lovingly correct their children instead of getting frustrated and resorting to yelling. Families that love each other because they know where true love comes from. Families that are not perfect. Families that express their daily failures that lead them closer to their need for their Savior. I did get one on one fellowship with Michelle Duggar, she and I sat in the dim light of the campsite, past 10pm and just talked. I picked her brain on homeschooling, parenting and time for marriage with so many children. She really is just another mom in the daily grind, looking to Jesus for guidance, messing up, apologizing and teaching her kids God's Word. She has 24 years of parenting experience of 19 different personalities which makes her far more wise with much more time to learn from bumps and mistakes along the way. Since the Duggars were parked directly behind us I had a chance to just observe for 4 days. Too many times to count I saw Michelle tidying up the campsite, chasing lost socks and gently pulling little ones out of the dirt. She truly is serving these kids with her life. I had the chance to speak with Jana, Jinger and Jill, all of which were stunningly beautiful, very wise and full of joy. They took a great interest in our little ones and were so sweet to them, saying "hi" to them by name every time they passed by. Josie was quite the wild child but Michelle was so gentle, yet faithful to stop what she was doing time and time again to remind Josie the proper way to behave. Anthony found many friends in the Duggar boys and when telling us stories about their play together I was pleasantly surprised that their character-focused God-centered curriculum was really showing through in their behavior. We went to the Bates dorm parties two separate nights and they were so giving and definitely have the gift of hospitality. We mainly went there for a sweet couple of 7 kids, the Dempsters, they had staying with them that has adopted and I just loved picking their brain and sharing stories!
Here are some pictures from our week in Texas!
Our campsite Folding picnic table I found on craigslist for $15!
Two little poppers! Maggie and Josie Duggar
Mirabel tight-roping Dirty Maggie!
Blanket time during conference The only way I can keep track of 2 little ones
Risa with friends, Josie is hanging upside down :) Risa and Maggie with Jen and Josie Duggar
Late night fellowship with Jill, Ally and Christie! Babies napping at conference session
The big Friday night Duggar cook-out, our backyard I love Mrs. Dempster! (at Bates dorm)
We loved little Esther! She is 3 with Spina Bifida Daddy, kinda, sorta, bought a new toy ($600)
Flying in the golf cart Thank you Gator for reinforcements!!!
We had such a great time! We made lifelong friends! We will be going back next year, God willing! We have such an awesome God-given Nanny and Gator who take care of us and our kids like grandparents! We are going to stop in Mobile, AL to attend Steve Lawson's church in the morning then only a 4 hour trek home! Once home I will have to hustle to unpack and repack the RV in two days, because May 1st Brian and I are headed to Nashville, TN for the Christian Alliance for Orphans - Summit9 conference!!!
Click here for our blog post about the 2014 conference
Click here for our blog post about the 2015 conference
Posted by Shannon
Soli Deo gloria - Glory to God alone