It has been a busy summer for our family here in Navajoland. I’m a bit horrified to realize no blog posts were published for over two months. That certainly doesn’t mean a lack of activity!

Here is a summary of the past few months:

We had a guest staying with us for a few months, a friend of our oldest daughter from her days as an anthropology student at Texas A&M. Starting Monday, we will be publishing a series of guest blog posts written by Jianping, reflecting on life here in Navajoland.

To celebrate my 50th birthday at the end of May, I was able to take a two week trip to England to visit with my sister at the end of June. I so much appreciate family and friends who gave special Christmas and Birthday gifts so we could afford for me to do this…and an extra thank-you to my sister who paid for many wonderful “extras” while I was visiting!

Anna spent a week at Bible Camp near Gallup NM with a friend from school. Both of them had a great time and hope to go back again next year.

Jakob so much enjoyed his week at Bible Camp that he paid the fees to go back for a second week later in the summer. He earned money working long days at Mustang Camp from April to mid-August, helping to tame wild mustangs so they can be adopted. We are all glad to have him back home again.

Randy squeezed in a trip back to Ohio in July to spend time with family. He also left our beat-up ancient PT Cruiser with our older son who is transitioning from a career back to grad school a year from now.

There were two weddings this summer at the Navajo church we attend. As a gift to each couple, Jill did the photography for both weddings. (There will definitely be a blog post about this in the future…)

Lybrook School, the local K-8th school, started the new school year on July 16th. It is a year-round school which holds classes on Mon-Thurs. This year Randy’s schedule is lighter: teaching 2 math classes in the mornings with no contract to do tech-work. Jill has significantly upped her hours and responsibilities: now doing Reading intervention full time on Tuesdays and Thursdays, plus significant prep time to deal with 7 small groups ranging from 1st to 8th grade!

In addition to the visitor from Texas A&M, we had a number of short-term visitors this summer, including a dad & daughter from Maryland, a few supporters of LCM, my sister and her family, and our oldest daughter (home for a week from Kazakhstan where she lives and work). It is always fun to share this starkly beautiful place with visitors, often including a trip back to Chaco Culture National Historic Park.

We also hosted a fellow for a few weeks who got stranded while traveling the country by horseback. He is currently back east, driving a truck to earn enough money to come back and retrieve his three horses. In the mean time, he is paying feed costs for us to pretend we are horse-owners (and for Anna to get a chance to learn to ride).

Now that all of the area schools are back in session, we have a number of students to check in with occasionally at their various locations. 3 of last year’s 8th graders are living in a dorm and attending highschool in Bloomfield (45 miles away); 1 is in the dorms and attending Navajo Preparatory School. At least 2 are attending Cuba Highschool (45 miles the other direction), including one fellow who has stuck with the challenges of practices so far and is on the football team. 1 student has already dropped out of highschool (after only 2 days) and we are uncertain where the remaining students are.

In addition, we made significant efforts to help 3 young men from church apply for and attend colleges this fall. Jeremy is attending the Master’s [Bible] College in Southern California, Kevin is living in our RV in Farmington and attending San Juan Community College, and Koby is living with his Grandma in Albuquerque and attending Central New Mexico Community College. We are continuing to keep contact with all 3 fellows (and with their folks) as they make this difficult transition to living away from their family in this area.

I will write more detailed posts about these students in the future, including photos, so you can keep them in your thoughts and prayers, and can possibly encourage them…

This gives you a general idea of what we have been up to this summer. Now that I know there are actually people who regularly read this blog (and miss it when I don’t write new posts) and now that I’ve somewhat settled into my expanded role at the local school, this blog should go back to posting new stories each Monday and Friday.

See you then!