We’re finally here! Exactly seven months after we got married we stepped off the plane in the beautiful country of Belize ready to start our new ministry together. It’s a little strange sitting here on the couch in our home (something I’ve been excited about for months now!), watching the rain (it’s pouring as a potential hurricane gets closer and closer), and I think about everything that happened to get us to this point.
The first four months of our marriage consisted of a mix between David spearheading the deputation process to get us back here in Belize and me finishing my final semester at CSUF. We actually got into a pretty good rhythm even with the unexpected mishaps (our car’s AC going out as we drove through the desert and then us breaking down right before sunset…just to name one). Then the week after I graduated we were off to the Midwest to spend time with his parents and connect with more churches. While travelling so much has been tiring (I don’t tend to sleep much in new places), it was a lot of fun to get to know David’s family better. Plus, my mother-in-law and I got to make some pretty good desserts (Cake Balls!!) and watch Hogan’s Heroes….all in all our time in the Midwest was good!
One of the highlights of our summer for me was getting to fly home and participate in the beautiful wedding of my brother and his new wife Miriam. So much love and joy in one day! I can’t wait to see how there new adventure together plays out.
After returning to the Midwest for another week we headed to Toronto for some cross-culture training. I think this is where it started to hit me about the life David and I were stepping into together. I had just spent the past two weeks packing up my life, saying goodbye to both sides of our family and friends, crying way more than I had expected (I’m telling you there was some serious bawling going on), and then heading the opposite direction of Belize to Canada. The amount of stress was rather high, to put it lightly… I feel like I should ask here, did you know traveling just through the airport itself could be incredibly stressful?? The night before we flew to Toronto we spent at least two hours moving around just a couple pounds between our five suitcases and carry-ons just to make sure we weren’t overweight. We got to the airport and held our breath as they weighed our bags. Success! Now we were carrying around probably a hundred pounds between us in our carry-ons we waddled though the airport (well…I waddled…), but we made it on the plane. You should have seen the size of my backpack!
Our time in Toronto was very good. While the classes were helpful (there were a few that were outstanding!), the main thing that was nice about the trip was getting to connect with so many other missionaries that were also preparing to pack-up life and home and move to other countries around the world sharing God’s love and mercy. The connections made there are ones that I’ll take with me everywhere we go. Not only did we get to know people in our classes, but we were able to go with friends heading to Honduras and Canada’s First Nations to a part of the city where we had dinner in China town, walked through an area that seemed Jamaican, walked into a Jewish Synagogue at the beginning of Sabbath, went through what seemed to be the Hispanic quarter with some really good looking restaurants, and then eat some Italian gelato. So much diversity! The next day we went with friends that will be serving in Benin to Niagara Falls and spent one of our final days there. By the end of that final weekend in Toronto David and I were refreshed and ready to head back to Belize that Monday…but that was not going to happen…
Do you ever have those moments when you just know Satan is doing everything he can to stop you? That’s what happened when we got up Monday morning. As a whole, everything that could go wrong did go wrong that day. We got up at 2:30 in the morning to head to the airport for our 6:15 flight when I looked at my phone and saw that our plane had been delayed five hours. Now on one hand that might not seem so bad because you would think that maybe you could go back to sleep for a few hours before the flight, but no. We had to check in for our original flight (and we were surrounded by a bunch of grumpy people who were also missing flights). Our hope had been to get on another flight that morning so we could make our connection to Belize (since there is only one flight from Atlanta to Belize a day), but that would not be the case. The best they could do was get us on the same flight from Atlanta the next day and give us a hotel for the night. While we were extremely frustrated with the delay there were little things that showed us that God was still in control (like us being the first people in line that needed our flight rescheduled and the lady being extremely nice and helpful while everything else seemed to be falling a part). There were still so many little things that kept going wrong all day. Do you ever get to the point where so much goes wrong that it almost becomes comical? Don’t get me wrong, we were tired, frustrated, and really wanted to just go home, but it was still funny to see these things go wrong and know that either way we were going to end up in Belize and if God really wanted us there this couldn’t stop us. And it didn’t. We made it to Atlanta, had even more mishaps, and fell asleep in another hotel early that night.
When I got up Tuesday morning I was a little weary about the day, wondering if it would be as bad as the day before, but with God’s help (and David and I getting pretty good and maneuvering through airports), we made it on the plane with all bags checked (again) and headed for Belize.
I’m going to take a quick moment here to brag on my husband. While I’ve mentioned only a few of the stressors of our travels (and believe me, there were WAY more), David stayed so calm and controlled and got us through everything smoothly. I don’t know if I could have handled it without him… I’ve got myself a keeper!
For Monday to be so awful it was quite amazing to see how smoothly Tuesday ended up going. We got to Belize safely, made it through immigration and customs without a hassle, had wonderful friends there to pick us up, went to the diocesan office to take care of some paperwork and finally made it to our home.
It’s a little funny being here this time. I’ve been to Belize three times before now (two of which were exactly this time of year) and every other time I’ve had David there waiting for me, had an automatic countdown start in my head of when I would have to leave, and experienced everything from the outside. But this time David was there from the beginning, we were starting an adventure together, and there was no countdown…we’re living here now. I thought it would feel strange when we got here (and to some degree that’s true), but you know what? The biggest thing I felt when we got here was “finally home”. Since we got married David and I have sort of been in transition, not really having a settled feeling, and we got to a point where we made everywhere we landed “home”. Now that we’re here though that feeling is even stronger. It’s been seven months since we said our “I do’s” and now were home again.
So that was a kind of long summary/reflection of the last seven months. I could add so much more, but I’ll probably hold off for now. Overall, looking back over everything I can see how God carefully guided us to this point. And now I can’t wait to see what plans He has for us here in Belize. “The Adventure Continues!”