Today I woke up to the loud sound of thunder. It rained for a bit this morning, but it stopped about half an hour later. Like I said it never rains here in July. We must of brought it with us. It was a bittersweet day. It would be the last morning of us getting up in Jamaica.
We had our last breakfast together. Mother Cooper and Sister Betty served us porridge, bread, scrambled eggs, and grapefruit. The porridge was an awesome send-off meal. The eggs were delectable. I haven’t eaten eggs in weeks. It made me look forward to home. Today was officially my birthday and I turned 32. It just so happened that Jenn was celebrating her birthday also. We sang to her this morning and we had birthday cake. I know what you might be thinking. Birthday cake for breakfast? This was a first for all of us. I hope this will be the first of many abroad birthdays for her.
We got all our bags packed and we said our goodbyes. Arden drove us to Montego Bay in the party bus, or Barney Bus as Christine would call it. On our way to the airport, Arden stopped the bus on the side of road. We saw an amazing view of the ocean and we got to take pictures. Arden works as a tour guide so he does this kind of thing alot.
At the airport we got all checked in. I was getting hungry. It was time to transition back to American food and the best way to do that was with Dairy Queen. I had a double cheese burger and fries, a sprite, and an M&M Blizzard. I know what you may be thinking, but come on. It’s my birthday. I’m going all out.
When it was time to board the plane, something incredibly creepy caught my eye. It was an Elmo doll with dreads. I had to get a money shot.
The flight was wonderful, even though I was in the second to last row. On the bright side, I had a window seat and I got to look at the beatiful ocean and watch the transition as we crossed over American soil. There was a sense of home when we landed in Newark as well as a longing to go back.
We went through customs, which usually takes longer coming back into the country. Several people came to pick us up from the airport including Barry’s wife Nikki. I rode with them home along with Isaiah and Rachel. We all told Nikki about our adventures and it was cool reliving them all over again. On the way, we stopped at a rest stop to get some dinner. There was a Sbarro’s at this particular stop and I got their dinner plate. I ate chicken parm, baked ziti, roasted red potatoes, and mixed vegetables. Oh, man! It felt great to eat American food, especially since I hadn’t had Sbarro’s in ages. Since it was my birthday, Barry and Nikki treated me. I was so thankful they did that for me.
This was quite a trip. It was different from last year but in a good way. God really brought me out of my comfort zone and drew me closer to him in the process. He spoke many words to me and showed me things in the Bible that have radically changed my life.
There is much to say about each individual on the team.
Thank you Don for your strength, fearlessness, and leadership. I was empowered by all the messages you gave and encouraged to seek God for his will in my life.
Thank you Barry for demonstrating how to speak life into other people. Thank you for not only teaching a sport I’ve never played but for the opportunity to sharpen iron with iron.
Thank you Herman for showing me how to let my hair down (so to speak) and not always take life so seriously. Thank you for showing me that speaking to strangers isn’t as scary as it looks.
Thank you Susie for your energy and enthusiasm. Your spirit had a way of lifting others up. Thank you for your maternal instincts. They were much appreciated by us all.
Thank you Christine for your passion and dedication to teaching children about Jesus. It inspired me very much. Your leadership for VBS was an asset to the entire team.
Thank you Emily for your demonstration of genuine love. It was awesome watching the kids gravitate toward you. There was much to glean from watching you interact.
Thank you Rachel for encouraging everyone to be their best and working with a calm, gentle spirit. It was reassuring for me in those moments when things started to get chaotic.
Thank you Isaiah for assisting me in VBS. You reminded me of myself when I went last year. It was cool to see you transform as a testament of what a missionary journey can do on an individual.
Thank you Brian and Jenn for your tireless work ethic and helping everyone to stay on task amd work efficiently. There were moments I wanted to give in to fatigue (and did), but thank you for pushing me to give it my best effort.
Thank you Hailey, Mike, and Andrew for demonstrating the meaning of “work hard, play hard”. You are the hardest working young people I’ve ever met. Watching you encouraged me to step my game up. Next time I will get into more of the games.
Thank you Bill for your openess and friendly nature. I especially loved working with you in VBS. All the kids enjoyed your teaching and listening to your testimony. I did as well.
Thank you Shannon for being personal and attending to other’s needs. I think that’s why so many young girls flocked to you. Also thank you for reminding me how awesome ice cream cones are.
It looks I like I will spend a third summer in Jamaica. July 2017 can’t come soon enough.