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I just had a strange experience watching a CNN video online. There’s a guy in Iraq that looks just like me (Anthony) — only skinnier–same beard, same glasses, same body language. You have to go almost to the end of the video, at 5 min. 10 seconds into it to see him. The video itself is pretty interesting. Called “Ramadi the example?“*, it’s about the admittedly precarious transformation that has occurred over the past few months in the city of Ramadi.

I’m glad it’s my look-alike and not me that’s in Iraq, but it is a moment for sober thought as well. It could be me. Who would I be, how would I react, what choices would I make had I been born in such a place? I’m not even sure if the guy is an American or an Iraqi. It doesn’t matter, really. This nameless look-alike is just as precious in the eyes of God as I am, God cares just as deeply about his life as he does mine. I can see hundreds of faces and not really recognize that that these are precious people, but for a very self-centered moment, that awareness has become real to me.

*I haven’t been able to figure out how to link to the CNN video.  Try pasting this link into your browser’s address bar:


and look for a new window to open.  Otherwise, go to and search for “Ramadi,” and look for the video links on the right.  I don’t know how long the link will remain active.


Jeremy’s eighth birthday was celebrated with our teammates on our last day in Togo. Today, a day late, we celebrated his ninth birthday in a different country with new friends. We are so thankful to feel at home here after so short a time.

Maureen engineered a “Make Your Own Pizza Party,” even down to a pizza cake.

Birthday Boy

Pizza Chefs

Pizza Cake

Left to Right on Cake Picture:  Jared Williams, Bryce Hudman, Jake Wilson, Dax Neece, Drew Neece, Jeremy Parker, Jonathan Parker, Brett Hudman, Bailey Hudman, Luke Wilson

A year ago today we were Passing through Paris after saying good bye to our life in West Africa. This picture, taken on our last Sunday in Togo at the Tabligbo church, is one of my favorites, as Maureen said goodbye to Edemno.Parting Sorrows

Our lives have been filled with uncertainty, decisions, and transitions since that time. I’m convinced that we are exactly where God wants us. But through all the transitions, there hasn’t been a lot of opportunity to reflect on how our Africa experience has formed us. Just within the past week or two, however, Jeremy and Jonathan have been asking when we can visit Togo. We haven’t talked a lot about the one-year mark, but Togo is on their minds.

Here are a couple of examples from yesterday that illustrate how my (Anthony’s) thinking has been changed by being in Africa.

Weather Reports A good friend complained yesterday about the fact that satellite dish TV service goes out whenever there is a storm, so they are left not knowing what the weather was doing. Look outside. It’s storming! In Africa we managed to get by without weather reports for 13 years, and the weather still happened. Of course I look at weather reports here, but it seems to me that we lose the feeling of spontaneity, and also perhaps the place of prayer regarding the weather. It almost seems that those forecasters actually control the weather, which of course they don’t given how often they miss it!

Eating Out I love to eat, and I love to eat out. But Dee‘s passing reference to towns that did or did not have “places to eat,” struck me as interesting. She was traveling, but if I understood correctly, she wasn’t speaking about their tourist potential, but as places to live. After living in a small West Africa town, I came to think of home as the place you go to eat. Now, in a small West Texas town, we tend to live the same way. That’s largely economics, but partly the welcome weirdness that comes from being profoundly touched by Africa.

Since moving the Clay Pot Journal to our church web site, we’ve been missing having a place to post more personal and family news and thoughts. We’ve finally started this new family site, and we’re excited to start posting. There’s a lot to learn, even though I’ve been using WordPress for a little while.

I’ve been able to import my posts from my old Blogger site as well as from Maureen’s Musings to this new site. (If you go to the old site, please forgive the fact that, in the transfer, Blogger now thinks that I am Maureen.)  Any new musings from Maureen will be posted here.

Now let me see if I can post a picture…

Cowboy Jeremy

Looks like it might have worked. Jeremy, who turns 9 years old tomorrow (May 4), did a great job in the school Texas Musical on Tuesday night. We were very proud of him. BTW, the father of this household celebrated the twenty-sixty anniversary of his twentieth birthday on Wednesday.

Oh, whence the name, The Journey Home?, you must be wondering. It seems that we’re often heading home to somewhere — whether it was home to Africa, home to Singapore, home to Alabama, or home to Texas. Larry Wolfe’s 1974 hymn, “God’s Family,” (beloved hymn of the late, great Floyd Naylor), has been sort of a family theme song through our many family transitions. Even though we’re becoming more settled in Albany, I hope we never lose our sense of being a family on its way home. To borrow Wolfe’s words…

Sometimes we laugh together, sometimes we cry; sometimes we share together, heartaches and sighs; Sometimes we dream together of how it will be When we all get to Heaven, God’s family.