Family Reunion 2008
It's hard to describe in detail a Marshall Family Reunion. Though we weren't able to have all ten children (including all married couples and their children) in attendance, we certainly packed out the cabin. And had a splendid time. It all started with Dan and Jennifer Martin (the third daughter and sister and her husband) announcing their intention to visit us during the month of July. When Ted and Sharon Monsour (our fifth daughter and sister) got wind of it, they wanted to get in on the fun. We tried to coax the oldest--Julia Montoro, and her husband, Pete--to bring their family along, too. At first it didn't look like they would make it, due to the arrival of an expected out-of-town group. Then, the group ended up not coming and so Pete & Julia and Co. were able to come for one night and part of a day. Jonathan and Jessica (our older son and his wife) heard of the gathering and decided last minute to come with their family. The other member of the family who came was Deborah Wells (the fourth daughter and sister), although her husband, Brad, and their seven children couldn't come with her. They had only been back from the mission field of Papua, New Guinea, for about six weeks. At first she was a bit reluctant about leaving the kids with Brad, but Ted helped encourage her to come on ahead. Sharon met us in Connecticut with her two children, Teddy and Emeline. She followed us back home and then helped us prepare for everyone else's arrival. We planned the menu and tried to re-arrange bedding systems. The sleeping situation changed almost daily as we tried to accommodate everyone in varying settings. Though our cabin is large, it's still not adequate for our family of fifty-three in total. For this week, there were only thirty-four of us, so things were a bit more manageable. Dan and Jennifer and their three daughters--Ashley, Melissa, and Heather--came in on Wednesday. Jonathan and Jessica arrived on Thursday. Our Uncle Allen allowed us the use of his splash pool and slides at Wildwood Christian Retreat. It was such a blessing, as the weather was quite warm. On Friday, the rest of the gang arrived with Deborah in tow. We had prepared to head to Cheat River for a cook-out, and as soon as the Montoros were ready, we pulled out. A caravan of four white vans! Wow. We hadn't gone too far when Jonathan's van started overheating. We pulled to the side of the road--a very precarious position in West Virginia!--and tried to administer some help. (We happened to be right by a fresh spring and took advantage of the cool water.) A man pulled by slowly, asking if we needed assistance. We found out that he lived not far away, had a garage, and would let us leave the van there until we returned. Talk about the Lord knowing just when to send someone by! After depositing the van at his house, we continued on our way. The spot chosen by Dad for swimming was excellent. Except for one incident with the swift current and a helpless non-swimmer, we all survived and had a time. It was fun to just relax and enjoy each other. We had hotdogs and s'mores, sang some songs, talked, laughed, and joked. Back at the cabin, we quickly threw together a party for Leanne's birthday. Then each family took turns singing a song for the others. It is always exciting to watch each family group share what they have been working on. Dan and Jennifer and their girls hammed it up with a funny song called "Love one Another". Jonathan and Jessica and their kids sang "Blood Bought My Freedom". The Montoros did a few numbers for us, Jennifer played an intricate piano piece she's memorized, and Deborah sang a touching song she wrote about the mission field. Sharon joined Sarah and Rachel Montoro on a trio, and the threesome still at home sang the camp song, "A Vessel of Value". The next day, several of the men worked on Jonathan's van, and then the Jonathan Marshall family headed out, along with the Montoros. Dan and Jennifer, Ted and Sharon, and Deborah were able to stay over the weekend. Our pastor asked us to sing a song, and we tried to whip up a song with six of us girls. Deborah celebrated her birthday on Monday, and we six sisters and Mom went to the Preston County Inn and had some hors d'oeuvres. Ted and Sharon were able to stay until Friday, and so we took them to see some sights around the area, including Blackwater Falls and Cathedral State Park. The house was extremely quiet after everyone left, but we're filled to the brim with happy memories. Thank God for a wonderful family! Thank God they are serving Him! We couldn't be more blessed!