The family has been enjoying some time at home lately. With the schedule freed up a bit, they have been able to get some "down" time in--much needed and appreciated. The slower schedule allowed them time to help missionaries, Dwight and Ruth Talbot, get ready for their departure to Norway. Initially they just babysat the Talbots little boy, Erik, and helped Ruth organize boxes to be loaded in their container. When departure time neared, they made meals for Ruth's family who came to help, put up some of the family in the cabin, and spent time after a Wednesday night service to load the Talbots' container with members of their home church and others. The Talbots have lived near the Marshalls for several years, so they were able to get to know them fairly well and each watched the other's property if they were gone to meetings. Being able to be on the inside of the "Missionary Packing School" was great training, and they were blessed to be able to minister to a missionary family in this way. Another weekend, the girls decided to head to Toledo, Ohio, and get in on a singles activity with Hope Baptist Church. Of course, it was also an excuse to spend some time with their brother, Jonathan, and his family. It helped that the activity was actually a trip to Chicago to see the Billy Graham Museum and other sites, because the place they were to spend the night was at Matthew's church in Mt. Prospect. They were a bit weary after more than twelve hours of driving, but they were glad to be able to see family, besides getting to fellowship, renew acquaintances, and make new friends. One of the favorite points of interest was getting to see the Wade Center, where a collection of antiques and books showcased the works of writers like C.S. Lewis, Tolkien, Chesterfield, and George McDonald. Jessica quickly took advantage of the situation by having a picture taken by C.S. Lewis's desk...hoping somehow the "spell" of a famous writer would be cast on her. The girls were also impressed with the "wardrobe", supposedly the very one that gave inspiration for the book, "The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe". On Sunday, they sang several times at Hope Baptist Church. Not having their instruments with them made the music a bit different, but folks seemed to be blessed in spite of that. Meanwhile, back at home, Dad was busy with other exciting events. He was able to lead a man to the Lord while going door to door at the nursing home on Sunday afternoon. Another soul-winning opportunity came up when he was able to talk to a Mexican man at the only hotel in their area. Then, his third chance came when he went with Ryan (a boy in their church) to talk to Ryan's grandfather. Seeing these three precious souls saved fired him up! The schedule has been a bit slower this winter, but God has been keeping the Marshalls busy...and out of trouble.