March 22, 2008

Andale!!! Off to Mexico

Hello Friends and Family,

Happy Easter! He is Risen! I hope that each of you is having a great weekend with family celebrating and remembering the hope that we have for eternity! I've been reminded this weekend that without Christ, life on earth is boring and pointless, but with Him and his conquering death for our sake, we now have HOPE! While we've had the chance to be in Sandy this weekend with family and attend a Saturday night service, we will be unable to be with family on Easter Sunday. But, we will have the chance to be with 'extended' family during Easter and the week of Spring Break as we have an opportunity to go to Ensenada, Mexico and serve the people there with Senior high students from SEC!

We are extremely excited to leave tomorrow, not so much for the 21 hour, two day drive to Ensenada awaiting us, but the chance to spend time with some amazing students and be able to learn how to serve them and the people and children in Ensenada we are going to serve. We will be helping the students run a vacation bible school with 50-75 mexican kids, do minor construction on houses of pastors and people in the area who need construction done, as well as being able to visit an orphanage (which Kealy is most excited about) and love on kids who need love the most. It is going to be an incredible week, not only to serve and be able to share Christ's love with people there, but to be challenged and stretched in our own lives, and watch God work in the hearts of the students that are going that we care so much about. We'll be out of radio contact for a week, but will be sure to get pictures and information to each of you still following along about an exciting week in Mexico. Please pray for safety for the group and that Christ would challenge our hearts and faith so that we may grow closer to Him! Happy Easter.

In Christ,
Ryan and Kealy Thorson

March 18, 2008

soda, shamrocks, hockey and cherry blossoms

Hello Friends and Family,
Its been a great weekend and early part of this week. The weather's getting a little wetter, but its springtime in Oregon so what's new? We've had a great time enjoying the rain together and enjoying our new apartment. Its a great location in Keizer and not too far from any place that Kealy has been substitute teaching. Our exciting weekend began on Friday when I got to go down to Monmouth and watch my brother Mark work out for some NFL scouts and he did a great job. Then, on Friday night, we had movie nights with students from our Church and watched some classics like Mr. Deeds and Transformers, as well as drank a lot of pop. Alex Noble and I did most of the soda-binging, as you can see below.

After recovering on Saturday from the late nights on Friday. We got to have lunch at two of our favorite restaurants; Red Robin and Olive Garden. Kealy's brother Casey had his birthday this week so we had dinner with the family. Sunday was another great day when we got to go see a Winterhawks game again with some new friends and the game went into overtime and a five round shootout...and there were three fights!!!

Last night, in celebration of St. Patrick's day, Kealy and I drove down to Papa Murphy's pizza and bought a shamrock pizza to have for dinner...okay, it was pepperoni and olives, but the shape was a shamrock!

I know am talking a lot about food, but it is mostly for the benefit of our friends in China, who we miss a lot, that said they would live vicariously through us as we get to eat all of the foods they miss while they are in China.

Another of my favorite things about Spring in Oregon (besides the rain) is the incredible cherry blossoms that are beginning to pop up around Salem this month. It reminds me of David Crowder's song about spring arriving to 'heal the ground'. This vibrant colors remind me of the beauty of God's creation and his desire to redeem our world from the winter we live in. I can't wait for that day, when every day will be spring and the vibrant beauty of cherry blossoms will be seen in everything as we worship the King together. Have a great Holy Week!

In Christ,
Ryan and Kealy Thorson

Some pictures of the beautiful cherry blossoms in the Salem area:

March 9, 2008

Home, Sweet Home!

Hello Friends and Family,

After a great five weeks staying with friends in Keizer, Oregon we have finally migrated a half a mile away to our own apartment off Orchard court in Keizer, Oregon. Yesterday was our a moving day and we were blessed by great weather and family and friends that were willing to give up their Saturday (and their bodies) to help us move. I thought that we had done a pretty good job of downsizing and getting rid of a bunch of stuff before we left for the Far East, so I was quite shocked when we finally got all of our stuff back in a U-Haul for the eighth move of our marriage and I realized how much STUFF we have accumulated in just three and a half years of marriage. It was great, however, to see stuff that we had missed since before we left and it is really nice to have our own place that we can begin to decorate. We are already having withdrawals and missing the Jamison family (and their cookies) but we are getting settled into our place. Today was a great day at church as we began a building campaign for a new children's center and we spent the rest of the day just hanging out and slowly unpacking. We've made good progress so far and thought we get some pics up of our decorating and arranging. Its a nice big apartment and has a cool view of a pasture through our living room window. But the best part of being here in Keizer is that we are close to some great families and friends that are a blast to hang out with so we'll probably be bugging them more than they would like. Anyways, we'll get some pictures up tomorrow or later this week of the actual moving day. But here's some we snapped tonight after we got all but one room semi-set-up. We hope each of you has a great week as we prepare for Spring Break and Easter Celebration!

In Christ,
Ryan and Kealy

Here's our dining room area

A nice and homey living room

Skinny but stocked kitchen

Our relaxing bedroom

A lot more work to be done!

March 2, 2008 month and counting

Hello Friends and Family,

Today was our 37th day back on American soil and I think we are finally begin to feel a bit 'settled down'. It has been so great being home and spending time with friends and with family. Hopefully we have gotten a chance to see each of you at least once, but if not, we want to see you!!! We have been doing pretty good on 're-entry shock' as they call it. We weren't gone for a long time, and I don't think there's really been anything major that has been hard. Sometimes we have a hard time remembering things (i.e. names, places, events) before China, which could just be a our brains on overload more than we think, and sometimes it is hard going to the store or restaurant where there are so many choices! The other hard part about being back is all the incredible food that we have been eating and people have been cooking for us. We are trying to eat healthy and are stomachs have definitely shrunk (a few days ago at lunch I ordered chicken strips and fries and only ate like 2 strips and a few fries) weird! But other than that things are going pretty well and we are having a great time here in Salem. We are looking towards moving into an apartment soon and Kealy is continuing to bounce around all of the middle schools in Salem-Keizer substitutue teaching.

As great and fun as it is to be back, there are some things we definitely miss about China. We decided to list a few:
1. All of the 'family' friends that we made in China
2. All of our Chinese students that are about to start the next term without us.
3. The family who owned a small minimart where we bought icecream and drinks
4. The same lady we always bought our fruit from
5. Cooking dinner for a total cost of $2
6. Having our three choices for dinner each night being; Pizza Hut, McDonalds, KFC
7. Only working 12 hours a week
8. Not paying any bills
9. Traveling to Hong Kong or other places on the weekend
10.Buying movies and video games for less than $1
11.Amazing hair washes and cheap massages
12.Going on lots of walks
13.Shopping at Wal-Mart
14.Hanging out with friends every night
15.All the time Kealy and I got to spend together

The great part about being back in the states is that we are able to do some of these things we some great people here too. The Jamisons have been so gracious and kind for letting us stay with them, and it has been so much fun continuing to serve and be a part of Salem EC. We are loving life and feel like we are right where God wants us. We hope you have a great week. Talk to you soon.

In Christ,
Ryan and Kealy Thorson