December 29, 2010 Edition

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Members of the Cummins family include (from left): Megan and Nick Hood, Kelsey Horton, Bethany, Lance, Connie (top), Tip, Timothy and Richard Cummins.

Cummins family enjoys
short stay in Walnut Ridge

Connie Cummins (from left) enjoyed time with granddaughter, Katelyn Hood, and daughter, Megan Hood, while in Arkansas.

Frank Witowski Jr.
Staff Writer

Richard and Connie Cummins, Bethany and Tip have left Walnut Ridge after a missionary furlough from Thailand. They arrived in Walnut Ridge Nov. 2 and departed Dec. 21. They were planning to return to Thailand on Dec. 26. Their son, Timothy, will continue attending Williams Baptist College.

This has been and continues to be an exciting time for the Cummins family. On this visit, Richard and Connie saw their granddaughter for the first time. When they left Walnut Ridge two years ago, their daughter, Megan, and Nick Hood were not yet married.

Megan and Nick were married shortly after Richard and Connie and their younger children returned to Thailand. "That's a part of being overseas," Connie said.

"Sometimes you're not able to be at all significant family events."

Richard and Connie were excited to be able to be here for their granddaughter Katelyn Hood's first birthday.

Following in her parents' footsteps, Megan and Nick are house parents for New Life Children's Home in Oil Trough, near Newport.

The Cummins' son, Lance, who has been a student at Williams, will wed Kelsey Horton on Jan. 1 in Thailand. They helped Lance in his move last week to Oxford, Miss., where Lance and his bride will reside.

Shortly after arriving in Walnut Ridge, Richard began practicing for the St. Jude Memphis Marathon, which was held Dec. 4. Richard said the family enjoyed using the new extended "Rails to Trails" through Walnut Ridge and Hoxie to practice for the race.

Richard and Connie said they were able to surprise several of their former high school classmates by attending a rehearsal of the Crittenden County Community Band in the West Memphis area. "We just walked in," Connie said. "Nobody knew we were coming. We surprised them, so that was fun."

Since their furlough was short, Connie has been home schooling Tip and Bethany. Tip and Bethany did have an opportunity to visit the Walnut Ridge School, where both had previously attended.

Tip went one morning to fifth grade and found her former classmates in middle school. She was excited that her Walnut Ridge School classmates remembered her from two years ago. "It was nice to see all the family and friends, because we only get to see them every two or three years," said 10-year-old Tip.

Bethany, age 15, was recently able to spend a whole day enjoying classes at WRHS with her friend Holley Yates. "It was nice to come back to friends in Walnut Ridge who remembered me," Bethany said. "It was nice to come back to visit my siblings and family and see my niece, since we don't get to see them a lot."

The Cummins family noticed a few new additions in Walnut Ridge since their last visit. "The Manley Chapel is definitely a beautiful addition to the (WBC) campus," Richard said. The couple also praised the Walnut Ridge First Baptist Church new ministry activity center that was built since they were last here.

Richard and Connie said they missed Harp's supermarket and Taco Bell, which was one of their favorite places to eat here, especially since they don't have a Taco Bell in Thailand.

Although they have enjoyed their time in Walnut Ridge, Richard and Connie said they were ready to return to Thailand's much warmer temperatures. "The cold front moved in the first week in November," Richard said. "Because we got here so late, we didn't get to go through the fall transition. I'm ready to go back (to Thailand). It's too cold to run."

Tip agreed with the family's sentiments about the cold weather. "We went to a football game at Walnut Ridge and nearly froze our toes off," she said.

Another reason that Richard and Connie look forward to getting back to Thailand is to see their foster children. The foster children sang "Happy Birthday" to Connie on Dec. 12 via Facebook. Richard said their missionary work in Thailand is the same, except they have built two children's homes to do more foster care. They are awaiting a license to bring children into the second home. Once complete, each foster home will hold up to 15 children.

Connie Cummins also noted that the Jan. 1 wedding of son, Lance, and Kelsey Horton will be a real family event as all the groomsmen and bridesmaids will be immediate members of the Cummins and Horton families. The wedding will be held in Richard and Connie's yard in Thailand. Thai food and fruit shakes will be served at the reception.

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