Alisha works on a mural at Jeremy and Siwan's house -- perhaps one of Alisha's favorite fundraising activities!
Camping, music, and food with John (and Julie) near
Sedona, AZ. It was their second time camping ever!
Time has flown by for us.

The last several weeks have been filled with meals, miles and miles of driving, fantastic conversations, and live music -- all things we encounter in Lithuania but find in surplus in the Valley of the Sun.

Josh going for a post-dinner stroll with roommate Sam.
The longer we serve abroad, the more we realize the degree to which we've been shaped and formed by this place. And the importance of staying connected grows all the more evident. Life, understandably, moves forward whether you are present or not. When we left for Lithuania three years ago, we weren't running away from our lives here -- we were running toward something new as ambassadors of all who have played a role in forming our lives.

So when we see changes -- good and bad -- we recognize almost a parallel life that we gave up when we moved abroad. As Alisha often describes it, "Whole children happen while we are away. Relationships start and, unexpectedly, end. People we expect to see when we come back are gone and there are new people we've never seen before."

To be an effective ambassador, however, you can't just be connected to those who sent you in the past -- you must also be connected to those who presently send you.
Standing against injustice with Jesse.

All this is to say that we cherish those of you we have (and have not) been able to visit this summer. This time we have in the U.S. fundraising is an incredible gift and it fuels us for the work we have ahead of us next year.

We've done our best to connect with as many individuals and families while in the Valley as we could, but we recognize logistics make it impossible for us to see everyone. Bellow is a video we made to give a glimpse of what we, your ambassadors, have been able to do thanks to you all.

(The clips of the orphans were intentionally blurred for their protection)

There are too many people to thank individually who help us out while we're stateside. To be embraced and supported by friends, loved ones, and even total strangers is overwhelming and humbling.