There is so much background here that I don’t know if I want to take the time to tell or that anyone would find it interesting. There was the really challenging part of finding a car in Kent WA and a person (a friend of a friend) who was willing to let us send him the money and then buy it for us and then meet us at SEA-TAC when we flew in, who turned out to be pretty quirky and made for lots of (now) funny stories. There was the crazy stress of trying to buy three round tip tickets and one one-way ticket for Mariah and keep all of us on the same departure fight and even get seat assignments next to each other.
There was so much emotion surrounding our departure. This was Mariah leaving her home and heading off into the brave new world of adulthood. There were the months before leaving in which we tried to let go of Mariah more and more, encouraging her to make more of her own decisions, and sometimes really regretting some of the decision that she made. There was the hard task of leaving well for Mariah and of reconciling with some of her friends and working through the leaving process. We are really proud of her in the way that she left and we’re just so thankful for way that he friends said goodbye. It was deep and real and hard and messy and good. And hard.
Finally, for me, there was the stress of just trying to get so much done before leaving. I had one project that I was working on that blew up on me and took 3-4 times longer than it should have. I was closer to “losing it” then than I have been in a very long time. I was beyond frustrated and beyond tired. I think, in many ways, we all left tired and stressed. That’s what makes this first week such an incredible blessing.
We’ve been in the Seattle area. Staying with friends who’ve now become good friends, amazing friends, lifelong friends, I think. This family has opened up their home (hard) and their lives (much harder) to us in a way that has just been so humble and for which we are so grateful. They live in a beautiful place in this beautiful northwest. The scenery and the weather have just been so perfect! We have eaten so many berries that I think I’m going to turn red! We’ve roasted hot dogs on the beach at Puget Sound; we’ve toured downtown Seattle and the famous Pike Fish market. We’ve had the best coffee in the universe – not Starbucks – we’ve sat quietly, with coffee and blankets, and watched pine trees and hardwoods sway in the breeze. The peace that this week has brought has been a gift from the Lord. Sure there have been arguments and sure there has been tension – we a family with two teenagers with four big suitcases staying with friends and traveling for eleven weeks, the difficult stuff will be there. But that is not what you remember, you remember the pines and the hardwoods and the blankets and the coffee and more than anything you remember the sense of families and homes opening up to you because in the Kingdom there are no strangers. There is the fellowship of the Holy Spirit and in hospitality and Christianity go hand in hand.
We’ve seen old friends and been the recipients of some of the most lavish hospitality. We’ve enjoyed an authentic Argentinian Carne Asada (pretty much the best beef I will ever eat in my life) and a Wonderful day with Leon and Judy Greene, former LDL missionaries and our old neighbors on the hill in Honduras. Leon and Judy hosted an evening at their house in which church friends and neighbors came over and we showed videos from the hospital and talked about the ministry of Loma de Luz, something we want to do a lot of on this trip. We talked about the solar project and pray that some of the connections made will result in God’s kingdom being furthered in Honduras. And now, the family that has been hosting us this week has brought up to the family patriarch’s home on the lake and allowed us to be part of their annual family reunion and what a reunion it is. There are over a hundred gathered here on the side of the lake, water skiing, playing baseball, eating and visiting and getting caught up with each other. It is a blessing beyond words to get to be a part of it. To get to see this American dream being lived out right before our eyes. It all started when a Swedish couple had the vision and guts to immigrate to America because they knew that they could make a better life here. They were right and now hundreds of their descendants live a life of freedom and opportunity and safety because of what they did. I’m so thankful to see and to be reminded, today, of all that is right about the USA , and to be in a place of peace and blessings. It is rubbing off on us and I can feel the stress of the last few months beginning to peel off of me. It is time to move forward now, into what the Lord has for us this next 10 weeks and some 3,500 miles. He has great things in store for us as move towards Nashville and Mariah’s new home. I’m so thankful to be on this journey. Thank you Lord.