38 flights

Last night, as we returned from two weeks of travel I counted the number of flights I have made since returning to the States in July 2015. Thirty-eight. In the past year I have been on an airplane 38 times. That’s crazy! Julio and I have traveled some together and some separately. He has probably been on even more planes than me. Again, crazy! And while it’s crazy (and let’s be honest, tiring), it’s also a testimony of God’s faithfulness.

Sunset last night

Sunset last night

You see, for one thing, I’m not a huge fan of flying. I’ve experienced anxiety of flying for the past couple of years. So, as we began this year, I was wondering how on earth I was going to be able to make all the visits that I needed to make. I didn’t know how I would make it through one plane ride, let alone 38. But each time I was reminded that I was not traveling alone. And so I have seen God’s transforming presence in my life as God helps me work through the anxiety about flying, both on the ground talking with trusted counselors and in the air as I’ve colored, prayed, journaled, read, watched out the window and slept. And wow am I glad that I’ve not let fear stop me from living out the call that God has put before me, because of what these 38 flights have led to for me and for us as a family.

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Through the visits we have made this year we have experienced God’s faithfulness in very tangible ways. We have visited churches who have been supporting us for years and have been able to connect with new ministry partners. These churches have prayed for us, listened to our stories, welcomed our children, taught us about the greatness of God’s work around the world, and encouraged us to go and serve. During these visits we’ve reconnected with old friends who have spoiled us, loved us, fed us, engaged in meaningful conversation and dialogue with us, cried with us, and reminded us that we have an incredible support system. We’ve also been hosted by people who start out as strangers and quickly become kindred spirits. I remember staying with a special couple in Salem, Oregon and after an hour of being in their house Kirsten and I were already engaged in deep conversation when her husband yelled out jokingly from the other room, “You two don’t know each other well enough to be having this conversation.” How thankful I am for the body of Christ and our connection through Christ that enables us to go from strangers to family. This was also experienced as our children always felt at “home” no matter where we were staying. What a gift! With each of these 38 flights (and countless miles traveled in the car) comes the names and faces of people we have met and we are grateful. People have invited us into their lives and that is something we do not take lightly.

Enjoying an evening with folks from Wiley Heights Covenant Church

Enjoying an evening with folks from Wiley Heights Covenant Church

Sweet times with a friend

Sweet times with a friend

Being prayed for at Praise Covenant Church

Being prayed for at Praise Covenant Church

Celebrating ordination with friends in Arizona

Celebrating ordination with friends in Arizona

We have seen the USA from East Coast to West Coast and have been in awe of the beauty of God’s creation from the Oregon Coast, to Mount Rainier, to the Grand Canyon, and beautiful Lake Michigan. The view from the plane window never disappoints and I have been in awe of the diverse landscapes and reminded of God’s amazing creativity.

Stunning view flying into Seattle

Stunning view flying into Seattle

First time visit to the Grand Canyon

First time visit to the Grand Canyon

And so I’m thankful for these 38 flights and for the amazing year of connecting with people on home assignment that they represent, as well as for the ways that God has been transforming me on the journey.

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