Friday, June 15, 2001

Family Trip to Venezuela

In June of 2001 we finally made the family trip that Karen has been talking about since we first met,...back to her roots in Venezuela! For two weeks we traveled throughout the country, meeting old friends, saw places we'd been hearing about for years, and (best of all!) ate all sorts of exotic and wonderful foods.

The event that finally brought us south was the closing of Christiansen Academy, the boarding school that Karen and her twin brothers attended in Rubio, Venezuela while their parents were missionaries across the mountains in Colombia. The folks at Christiansen decided to make the final graduation an event to remember, and invited all former students and faculty to come down for the festivities.

Using Rubio as our base of operations, we traveled to Merida and the Andes Mountains (by bus), to Caracas, the capital city (by plane), and to Chichiriviche on the Carribean coast (by van). Each step was an adventure!

As we traveled around the country, we were able to see so many things that make Venezuela unique and beautiful. We also witnessed the disparity between the rich and poor there.

There are so many great memories from our trip that it would be impossible to describe them all here (for that, you'll have to come watch our 7 1/2 hours of video tape!). Some of the highlights included: driving up the highest road in the Andes to Pico de Aguila (13,000 ft); going to church at the downtown Caracas Baptist Church (all in Spanish), being guests in the home of the Canizales family (Karen's childhood friends), spending several days on our own little private island off the coast of Chichiriviche, and of course, Karen being interviewed for national TV while we were stopped at a little jam and jelly shop! It was a coincidence that they happened to be filming in the shop, but it seemed a fitting tribute to this native daughter :-)

All these great memories, and more, continue to bubble up in our conversations since our return to the states. And it now appears that we may be putting the experience to practical use, as our church starts thinking about organizing a foreign missions trip sometime over the next year or so. And you'll never guess where!

Look out Venezuela,
we're coming back!

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