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November 11, 2020

By Stan & Jennie Lowrey,, Pattonsburg, Missouri

WOW, what a year! It began with Jennie's mother's death just after we arrived in southern Florida for our winter of NOMADS service. She returned to Missouri for 10 days of freezing weather and ice storms. Stan spent his birthday in the doctor's office but was happy to learn his terrible cold wasn't Covid-19.

NOMADS were allowed to leave their projects early because of the virus, but at that time we were in a VERY rural area of Florida so stayed to the end. In late March we made a QUICK trip home. Since we were self-contained, all we needed was gas and an empty parking lot for one night.

Churches were closed down when we returned, but we could hear local services on the radio. When our small churches began opening up again, Stan was asked to serve twice a month at three very small congregations, who could spread out to the required distance. He will continue this until the end of the year.   

We live on 40 acres in a rural area near Stan's family, so social distancing is pretty easy. We always have plenty to do at our place, so staying home wasn't a problem. A long-awaited project kept us very busy from April 11th on. Stan now has a large barn for a woodworking shop. It is built from old barn lumber he had been salvaging for several years. We surprised ourselves by how much two old folks with a tractor (with a lift) could do. Stan's family were able to lend a hand a few days, which gave it a big boost.

As the work on the barn was about finished, Jennie took a small fall which twisted her foot badly enough to break a couple of bones. A side effect was a blood clot, which slowed the recovery even more. Staying still is NOT one of her favorite things to do, thank goodness for a large library of books and a queen size quilt that she had just put in the frame to hand quilt. Seven weeks later she was back to normal routines and much more appreciative of her mobility!

Stan has helped his brother and father on the farm at planting and harvest times. Dad is 95 and has finally given up on some of the work but still rides the tractor to cut hay and disk fields. Stan is happy to be here to help out with the cattle and other work, too.

We have done just a little bit of traveling this year, to see family (or purchase building supplies). Stan has cut a large supply of firewood, so we are prepared to sit out the winter if we have to. The plan is still to do two NOMADS projects in Louisiana and Mississippi in February and March of 2021. Because they are rural retreat centers we are hopeful they won't be cancelled. We are praying for a much more "normal" year in 2021!

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