For the sake of closure, it’s time for one last post on the Visual Preacher blog. Many words, cities, pictures, stories, and memories have transformed us over the last 12 months, and we’re excitedly looking to the future and to what God has in mind for us.
28 flights this year. Have you ever heard such a crazy number? 28!!! All safely took off, and (thankfully) landed without too many bumps along the way. You can imagine after 28 flights, our bodies and baggage had gone through the ringer. Have you ever peered out the window of a plane to see the luggage handlers throw your bag with all their might? Kevin once said, “I bet when they begin their job they are really careful with the first 50 suitcases, then from there on out, it’s a contest to see how far and hard they can toss them.” Half of our wheels were busted, stuck, with holes, rips, tears, cracks. Luckily, the luggage we spent some of our wedding money on came with an amazing warranty. We’ve gotten all brand new wheels, full repairs, and TWO brand spanking new bags (when they didn’t think the repair would be good enough). YAHOO! Looking for great luggage: Ricardo Beverly Hills. They stand behind their products, and have had fantastic customer service along the way. You can tell them I sent you! : )
We transitioned back into the United States with two weeks in California. We decided to throw a portrait event to celebrate our return, and ended up photographing over 20 families and two weddings in a 14 day stretch! So much for a vacation. My good friend Amy married Bobby, her long time love in the church where I did my internship. Many of our days were spent decorating, making jewelry, and finishing gifts. The wedding day was beautiful, and it was a JOY to celebrate with their two wonderful families. Luckily, we stayed with our dear friends Chet & Theresa who night after night gave us all the room we needed to vedge, yummy food to munch, and a pool in their backyard to splash in. We cannot thank them enough for their hospitality. We also managed to get by two weeks in CA without renting a car thanks to people who kindly gave up their vehicles for a few days at a time: Kelly, Amy, Stacia, Theresa, Chet, Bobby…thanks for practicing your generosity on the two of us. We really appreciated it!
With exhausted bodies, we flew back home and were welcomed with screaming, cheering, jumping, and butterfingers/twizzlers! Presley and Madison brought down the airport with their excited laughter, wild hugging, and adorable signs! With one night to rest, we started a very busy two weeks for Amber Sue Photography. 16 more sessions in 10 days. Everyone was excited for us to get home, and had been waiting and waiting for updated pictures. I swear, I’ve been staring at my computer screen for two weeks straight trying to edit all of these beautiful kids and families! Kevin thinks I should hire an editor. On top of all that, I managed to hit the 200 sales mark in my Etsy store, and had 15 sets of jewelry to make. Busy, busy hands.
As we rounded out our travels and closed in on ONE WHOLE YEAR of marriage, we started brainstorming the best way to celebrate our anniversary…in no time at all we came to a decision: A PARTY! We’d call it our “Homecomiversary” celebration, and invite all of our wedding guests to come back for a second night of fun! Our actual wedding day flew by so fast, and we feel like there were a handful of people we didn’t even get to actually TALK to that day, so we decided to throw another party so we’d have more time to talk to the people who we missed! Not only that, but I’ve always wanted to have a party in my mom’s backyard, and this seemed like the perfect occasion!
Sunday, August 28, 2011…one year after our wedding, we woke up to pouring rain, and dark skies….hm…so much for that backyard party. Ha ha! We loaded our kayaks in my car and drove to church just praying the weather would clear up. By the time we left worship, there were blue skies rolling in, and extra green grass to smile about! The perfect party weather! We fired up the grill, and welcomed over 40 guests to a backyard reunion. We ate a whole buffet of picnic food, sang a belated “Happy Birthday” to Presley, gifted her a new American Girl outfit for “Carly,” acknowledged my sister Holly for all her help over the year (opening mail, delivering gifts, scanning items, getting me out of jury duty…the list goes on), we wanted to give her something awesome as a way of showing our appreciation. So we got her the perfect Coach purse, and she LOVED it. Mission accomplished. To end our evening of fun, I surprised Kevin with 10 awards for his bravery over the year. This was the perfect chance to tell a few stories while highlighting what an awesome husband I have! Presley handed out his trophies with each award, and our family and friend laughed at the crazy stories we had from our year of travel. Lake Okabena was smooth as glass as the sun was setting, so a few guests even hopped into the kayaks for a paddle on the lake. We felt so uplifted when we saw friends from the Twin Cities who trekked all the way to Worthington, and our friends Tim & Emily (who we met in Jerusalem/now living in Brookings, SD) who also drove over to join the fun! Thanks to all of our family and friends who chose to celebrate with us on our first anniversary! We love you all, and could not have imagined a more memorable way to celebrate today!
For those of you wondering, “What’s next for Kevin and Amber?” Great question! We’re prayerfully considering where God wants us to be, discerning where the need is, and trying to enjoy a few weeks of downtime before interviews start! Will you pray for us during this time of transition? We have been asked to write a few articles for publications and newspapers to share the details of our journey. We’re also going to keep working hard with Amber Sue Photography, writing gigs, and selling jewelry and photographs on Etsy to save money to repay student loans and hopefully buy a house when we get calls. Be sure to stop by and pick up some early Christmas presents in my shop, or call us to set up family portraits. I promise, with Kevin as my photography assistant, no session is less than hilarious! We promise to keep you updated on our call processes as often as we can! Thanks in advance for your prayers of support!
So I guess that’s it. 12 months of travel, marriage, life, and love concluded in one final blog post. It’s hard to believe the places we’ve been, people we’ve met, cultures we’ve embraced, food we’ve tried, and faith we’ve gained. What an honor to receive such a generous fellowship from Luther Seminary. We are so deeply grateful to the donors who made this year of learning possible for the two of us, and have been blessed by the faithful blog followers who have offered their words of encouragement along the way. May the JOY of the Lord be yours!
Kevin & Amber Marten Bergeson
P.S. If you want to stay updated on our upcoming plans, drop your name in the comment box and we’ll be sure to add you to our mass e-mails!