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More Than A Thank You…

December 13, 2015

Well… we are here… We are here!!!  We are in the good ol’ U.S.A.  Not all of us… John and Angel stayed home in the Philippines.  John has to keep the ministry going and Angel doesn’t have her papers yet… But one day she will!  And oh what a beautiful day that will be.  I haven’t written since I knew we were coming… and that is because we wanted to surprise my mom…. and surprise her we did!  My dad, sisters, and brother were in on it.  They all tried to get her to take off of work that day, but she is a devoted school teacher and felt that her kids needed her more than she needed a day off.  So when she got home that evening, my dad said she would head to the bathroom first.  Sure enough, she did.  We hid upstairs and waited for the cue to come down.  When she came out of the bathroom, we all stood together waiting in the living room… (Riley now taller than her, and Kendall almost the same height)…  She stared at us in confusion for what seemed like an entire minute and uttered words like who? what?… until her brain made all the connections, and the only thing that could come out were heaves of tears that seemed to come from deep within.  The thought makes me cry every time.  (So let me just dry my keyboard here.)  She was so overwhelmed and surprised that this will go down as a priceless unforgotten moment in time.

We have been here for a week and a half now, and have seen so many people, and still have so many to see.  I got to meet and hold my nephew and three nieces I have never met before.  My kids got to play with their cousins. We have talked to three churches thus far, or I did, and Riley and Kendall sang.  It has been overwhelming to say the least.  The kids keep saying, “Momma this is so weird!”  When we arrived at the first U.S. airport, my eight year old Neely, whose known nothing but a Philippine life since the age of four says, “Momma, there’s a lot of Americanos here!” 🙂

We flew from Manila, Philippines to Hong Kong, which took about an hour and a half.  We had a four hour layover in that airport.  Then we flew from Hong Kong to Newark, New Jersey, which was over 15 hours.  Our crazy layover there was supposed to be two hours but ended up being three due to the chaos at the airport.  There were so many people that the workers seemed a bit overwhelmed.  I was trying to get to the part where I needed to get our luggage checked again, in order to get to our gate, but they stopped all the people from going up there and made us stand in a long roped off line.  People kept trying to bypass the line and go up unaware, and were blocked by an angry worker.  He kept jumping in front of people and aggressively ordering them to the line.  Some would get passed.  One woman in front of me had a flight that was supposed to leave earlier than mine, and I was afraid we weren’t going to make ours.  She tried to tell the man while I watched her bag for her, but he just kept yelling at her to get back in line.  It was crazy… When they finally let us through in groups at a time, they tried to stop Riley from coming with us, but we made him listen that he was with us!  Then we rushed through taking our shoes off and all that good stuff to get to our gate.  When we got there, it said MIAMI!!!  I immediately asked a worker and he said he thought they changed our gate to 111, but to check with information.  When I looked in the direction he pointed for information, there was a long line there, so I said forget it, let’s just hope he’s right.  We ran clear across the airport, with me in front, and Riley in back hurrying his siblings along.  By the time we got there, I was exhausted with a dry sticky mouth.  We would have made it just in time, but they delayed it because of all the confusion.  (I will try to avoid that airport from here on out.)  Our flight from Newark to Houston was over three hours.  There are somewhat quicker ways to get back, but I chose the cheapest route I could find.  I’m thankful that we made it as I was a bit nervous to make all the connections on my own.

I think it took me a good week to come out of my fog and feeling of complete delirium, from such a long flight and my days turning into nights and vice versa .  I somewhat feel normal again, well as normal as a person that has been living in a third world country can, coming back to a country that has everything!  Things do feel strange to me, and yet oddly normal.  I have no idea if that makes any sense…  I asked Liam, my 11 year old, how it feels to wear a shirt all the time.  He said it’s itchy.  Kendall said her shoes are giving her blisters, as she is not used to wearing them anymore.  In fact, all she had were flip flops.  When we came off the airplane, she was wearing cut off pants that were made into long shorts, a T-shirt, and her flip flops.  My dad said y’all need some winter clothes!  He also said he has never had a receipt that long in his life…  The kids needed everything… from socks to jackets!  My mother-in-law soon added to their winter wardrobe as well, and some friends sent us some cozy pajamas.  It has taken a while to get used to the cold.  I think the kids are okay now, especially since it has warmed up lateIy.  But I am still cold all the time. 🙂 I drove for the first time in four years! It was liberating!!! I felt so free to go anywhere and do anything I wanted.  It was funny to see the kids point out all that they remembered.  We drove by our old home, that now belongs to someone else.  All the trees were gone… the treehouse too… Neely didn’t remember it at all.  It made me a bit sad, but not for long, as there are too many things to be joyful and thankful about.

Speaking of thankful… That is exactly what I am… My sister said it perfectly when I tried to explain it to her.  She said, “Uh, is there a word better than ‘thank you’”?  I said I know right!  I told her that I feel so humbled by all the people that help support our ministry and just the things they do for our family…  We have been taken out to eat so much that I can’t even keep up with the leftovers.  We have more than enough places to stay.  If people aren’t taking us out, then they are cooking delicious meals for us. We have been given a brand new cell phone to use along with a service.  We even have a vehicle to use while we are here!  Alright… here I go again with the tears… Seriously, I don’t even know what to say to all these selfless people in our lives.  Thank you just doesn’t seem to say enough.  I don’t know that any of them could possibly grasp how I feel towards each of them individually.  I pray for them and pray that God will bless them in more ways than I ever could for their giving hearts.  It’s quite humbling and hard to describe.  John and I are so blessed with our friends and family.

And while we have had all these wonderful experiences here, we wish that John and Angel could be with us.  We constantly talk about them as if they were.  And it’s not just them… our Filipino family remain in our hearts and on our minds as they eagerly await our return.  I try to send a lot of pictures because John said they get a kick out of seeing them.

To Be Continued…

3 Comments leave one →
  1. VirginiacHaynes permalink
    December 13, 2015 9:03 am

    Precious. ..looking forward to meeting you “for real” at church in a few hours. 

    Sent from my Verizon Wireless 4G LTE smartphone

  2. December 13, 2015 4:19 pm

    We’re so happy you all are here.
    Missing John and Angel, very much.

  3. December 14, 2015 8:45 am

    So glad you are home!

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