Hi All! I have a few minutes to blog. Now that I have figured how to do it here, maybe pictures will be coming...
We can feel your prayers. Seriously. We have had plenty of new experiences, some deep, thought-provoking and challenging. Others more humorous, like almost falling into a squatty potty or watching a bird poop during church and splatter the man in front of me.
I want to share a story that will probably feel boring and insignificant to you but felt nothing short of a miracle to me.
We knew after we landed (8 hour time difference, their morning, our middle of the night) we had a small window of time to shower and then hit the ground running, literally into an all day conference with meetings in the breaks.
Jon and I also knew that we could be held up with getting visas, exchanging money and going through customs. We sat in the back of a huge plane, our hope of moving quickly through the visa line had disappeared and as I thought about our five huge pieces of luggage, chock full or donations hitting the x-ray machines, it looked like a customs nightmare.
About an hour before we landed, I was overwhelmed, my heart aching thinking about time away from The Littles, realizing that my plan to sleep on the plane had failed and feeling nearly short of breath as I realized how long our flights felt, that with each passing minute, we journeyed further from home, from family, from community. Thinking about that distance for a trip has never bothered me but as I reflected on this being our new life, I journaled the following:
Father, I know you are always with me. You indwell me. You are granting me grace right now. But, Father, I need to feel You. I know I don't deserve it but I am so weak right now, full of ache. I don't want to spend this time unsettled. Jesus, confirm yourself to me. I know you will give me the grace for every situation. God, show yourself BIG.
We got off the plane and everyone loaded into buses. We were in the back of an overcrowded bus. However, for some reason, our bus left first and when it was time to unload, they opened the door on our side of the back of a crowded bus. We went into the airport and walked, by ourselves navigating through the airport, feeling like maybe we were going the wrong direction because there was no one around.
We get to the visa line and made the shocking discovery that we were first. We flew through that and Jon exchanged the money while I get in the customs line. He joins me at customs and we got through in about five minutes.
Next was the baggage claim, as we walked up to the carousel, there were our five pieces of luggage, coming around the circle. We praised God that all our luggage arrived and then faced customs for our baggage. Customs can be a headache, always costing time, sometimes significant amounts of money. A man came up and directed us to a different line. This line took us around huge lines of people and to another checkpoint. As this checkpoint, the man asked us a few questions and then directed us straight ahead, bypassing the x-ray machines and the huge lines of people, straight out the door. As we walked out, holding our breath a higher-up didn't stop us, Jon asked, "Uh, Ames, did that just happen?". I smiled and answered, "God is showing Himself big...for me.".
The whole process took less than 20 minutes. Maybe it seems a small thing. No one we have talked to since arriving have ever heard of skipping through customs. It was just what I needed.