To Pennsylvania and Back


Early on the morning of October 19 Mary and I departed Monson for Pennsylvania. We stopped in Newburgh NY overnight. Even that has become a hard drive for me at this point in my life. But God protected us and the miles went by a little faster as I listened to the intriguing autobiography of well-known author Eric Metaxas, Fish Out of Water.

We arrived without incident at my father’s apartment in Lititz mid-afternoon the following day. Dad is now 95 years old but in remarkably good shape. He still drives, fends for himself, and has the fast wit and humor that’s marked his entire life.

But this was our first trip to PA since my mother died three years ago. The couch on which she rested was empty. That was painful.

That evening we visited with my brother and sister-in-law, Randy & Glenda Witmer. Earlier their daughter Kristin, my niece, and her little boy Hadley, whom we had not yet seen, stopped by.

The next morning we met over breakfast at Oregon Dairy with Dad and my Uncle Mel Lapp, age 92. Here are these two amazing nonagenarians sitting across the table from us. Both have lost their wives within the past three years (my mother, Anne, in 2019, and my Aunt Pearl, mother’s sister, in 2021.) But even in their loneliness their faith in Jesus remains strong and alive. What an encouragement to me.

Later that day we began two days of meetings with our AIIA Board of Directors at a large hotel in Bird-in-Hand. These are wonderful folks and friends for eternity. Eighteen of 20 of us from eight states were present this year. Vin Upam has been battling Multiple Myeloma for months, but was able to not only be present but effectively run some of our agenda in his capacity as Vice Chairman of the Board.

On Saturday evening all of us attended the production DAVID at the Lancaster/Strasburg Sight & Sound Theatre. Impressive, as always.

On Sunday Mary and I gave a report on our work with AIIA to the congregation at Grace Point Church in Paradise. That evening we had a great visit with my Uncle Don & Aunt Irene Witmer.

On Monday we were hosted for lunch by my sister, Gina, and her husband, Jack, at their wonderful beautiful new home in Quarryville PA. We briefly stopped by the home of their daughter, Kara, my niece, and her husband, Michael, and their four sons on our way home.

On Tuesday we met over breakfast at the Knight & Day Diner with Dad and my Aunt Janey. That was a great time of getting updated on her family — my cousins and their growing families.

But a bit later that morning I began feeling feverish, with a thick throat. Mary ran a Home Kit COVID test on me just to be safe. The results were instantly positive. Oh, oh.

We immediately quarantined in our room from Dad and then left for Maine at 6:30 AM Wednesday morning. The trip ahead was not pleasant. What normally takes 13-14 hours over two days required 20 hours total. I had to stop often. My temp was running about 101 F, I felt achy all over, and was coughing phlegm. Traffic was heavy and we ended up twice driving in the rain and dark. But the Lord brought us through.

During Wednesday night it hit Mary hard. By Thursday morning she was obviously feeling far worse than me. Unlike me, she had no temp but became very nauseous, developed a bad sinus headache, and was unable to sleep Thursday night, Two Home Kit COVID tests for her showed negative, but it seems likely that they were false negatives.

As of the time of this post, 8:02 PM EDT Saturday evening, we are holed up in our own little infirmary here on quiet peaceful Homer Hill, where we’ve been watching the deer and wild turkeys for the past two days.

We’re both still coughing from time to time, I’m still achy with sensitive skin. Mary claims to be feeling better today but her sense of taste and appetite are diminished. I’m feeling tired, weak, and listless. But neither of us have ever had any emergency symptoms, e.g. trouble breathing, confusion. Praise God — so far no pressing need to go to the hospital. We may not be out of the woods yet, but it seems that we’re making headway. We know that this could have been a far worse ordeal.

So that’s the story to date. A lot more detail than you probably needed or wanted. But at least now you know the latest.

I’m convinced that God’s power is released through the prayers of His people, and many of you have been praying. We give the glory to God and are very grateful to you.


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