After ministering seven years in Eastern Europe and two children, we returned to the US to the general area of Mike's family in Wisconsin (Fond du Lac-Oshkosh). We were missionaries with no home base, not sure where to settle.
Mike's stepfather had a mobile home he was willing to let us use as long as we needed to and then he would take half of the selling price. Gratefully, we looked for the best location and chose a mobile home park in Omro on the Fox river. It was a pleasant place. Stephan still remembers playing by the water and finding dead fish, which brought him more pleasure than it did me!
In a very short time we had found a church family and felt very welcome in the community. The McMullins welcomed us into their circle in such a way that we began calling ourselves the McKochs.
We became involved in Friendship Bible Coffees for couples and for women. I was also on the board of Christian Women's Club, and Mike as always was soon busy on a design project for a missions venture. My favorite verse back then is still true today, Ephesians 2:10--God has these good works prepared for us to walk in them!
Stephan went to first grade, but never understood why the teacher had a problem with him not talking! Now he does not stop!
Leah, too young for kindergarten, enjoyed the library Story Hour once a week. She had been adopted in Germany, so as soon as she turned five, Daddy took her on an exciting day trip to Chicago to become a naturalized American. She remembers sitting in the big courtroom and that a man shook her hand.
Leah's memories, in her own words:
"I remember the river behind the trailers in the court we lived in. I caught my first fish there. I was very excited. Of course, it was dead already but Dad did a good job at making me feel like i accomplished something!
I remember there was a really bad storm and i was not feeling well , it was Sunday nite time for church but Dad stayed home with me and we sat and watched the storm the whole time.
There was a stump out in the yard and Mom you and I had a picnic out there on the stump. We had celery with peanut butter sandwiches and grapes on styrofoam containers that veggies come on. You brought out the peanut butter cause i never ate the celery just licked out the inside! LOL, a spider ruined our picnic, you did your best to get rid of it but i was too scared so Dad went out later and lit it on fire, not burned it down just made me feel better about the spiders LOL.
Stephan and I shared a room, a pullout bed under another. We fought a lot. It was always so hot in the summer. There was a bully who lived in the trailer court. I always took a lot of abuse from him, a deal I made so he would leave Stephan alone. He cut my ankle with a knife once. There was a girl with long blond hair who was my friend , her house was sad I think she got hit by her mom.
I started school there. A blond curly haired boy with bright blue eyes always sat by me and followed me around. One day on the playground he reached over and kissed me. I reached back over and smacked him...I got in trouble...no one let me talk..got in trouble at home ...no one let me talk.
I remember you guys playing cards in the tiny kitchen area. I think I loved to watch you guys play. Sometimes Dad would let me sit between you two, that was my favorite spot in the world. Going To Marlene's was one of my favorite memories. They had a dog named PB (peanut butter). I used to love the smell in their entryway before you went up the stairs to the main house, 'cause it smelled like dirt and dog food!
Corey had a ceiling in his room with purple carpet. Marlene had a stuffed dog like me, she gave me my favorite stuffed animal and when I left it there when we had to move to the ship, she sent it and it was waiting for me.
I learned to swim at the local pool...i remember i jumped off the high jump with the male lifegaurd. Well, a few memories came back to me, LOL!"