I'm baaack :) As of right now, I'm sitting at the Coffee Shop wanting to unload and kick this blog post off, but I feel mentally paralyzed. How ever do I put into words that which my heart has experienced in the last 15 days? This is a daunting task, but I must persevere. So here is my honest attempt.
My plan is this: everyday for the next 15 days, I will post about one of my days traveling to or being in Africa. Are you ready for this?
Friday May 14th ~ Travel Day.
(My entire team prior to leaving for the airport -- left to right: Chris, Kelly, Jeff, Me, Steve and JP. Kelsey joined us in Malawi)
In the weeks leading up to the 14th of May, a lot was plaguing my heart and mind. Aside from the obvious anticipation, I felt like something was off in my life. Something was different, something was lacking. I sought out solitude and didn't find the antidote. I tried prayer, lots of prayer, and still my spirit was uneasy. Worship songs became background noise and conversations were difficult. Something was off. Looking back on it now, I know that it was the stirring of my soul that God would later calm with His presence. I'm jumping the gun right now... just know that while driving to the church on this particular Friday, I had recognized that something inside of me wasn't right and I was questioning whether or not I would be effective on this trip.
(I was really excited for my mini can of Ginger Ale and woo hoo for anti-malaria pills!)
Our flight wasn't schedule to leave until 7pm on that particular Friday, so I met up with the gang at Mission Community Church around 3. We loaded all of the bags (17 total) into our Suburban and a truck and after a time of prayer, we headed for the airport. Once at the airport, we said our goodbyes, checked our bags and passed through security. After dinner and the realization that I had left my Bible in my closet at home (talk about tragic), we boarded our flight for London. 10 hours, two meals and one movie later, we had arrived at London Heathrow. We had 4 hours to kill here, before boarding the flight to South Africa, so naturally I took full advantage of the public benches and enjoyed a cat nap. Until this point, I had never realized how wonderful it feels to lie horizontally, until I had been deprived of such behavior for 10 hours, in the Economy class on British Airways.
(I happened to think the that signs for the Lou were adorable in London!)
We then boarded the flight to Johannesburg, South Africa, and let's just say I don't remember that flight much... I was dozing in and out of consciousness the entire time! We began our decent into Jo-burg right around 7 am -- prime sunrise time. Talk about amazing. The sun lite up orange and we had the privilege of watching it rise from about the cloud line.It was stunning. By this time, it was Sunday morning (Africa time) and late Saturday night (Arizona time). We then landed and piddled away another 4 hours before venturing onto our final leg of the journey.
(This was the welcoming sign in the Johannesburg airport. FIFA World Cup is South Africa this year and is right around the corner, so naturally, I had to get my picture in front of the tourist stop!)
24 hours of traveling passed quickly with anticipation, and the excitement in our group was so thick that you could cut it with a knife! I felt like I was going to burp up a butterfly, my stomach was so infiltrated with them! So there you have it, a rather unremarkable, entire day of traveling! Stay tuned tomorrow for when the fun begins :)