The trip was beyond amazing on so many levels. Our faithful God did some awesome stuff and I am so grateful that He hears and answers our prayers.
This was my third time flying there and back by myself. As I mentioned a couple of years ago, this was a huge personal challenge for me. Flying to the other side of the world, through other countries on my own.
For your steadfast love is great to the heavens,
your faithfulness to the clouds. Psalm 57:10
In fact, recently I realized that I was probably not the only one who it would be a challenge for. I was talking to a gentleman friend of ours (whose name shall remain anonymous) – ha! Hearing I had been to Africa alone he questioned me, “You mean you go completely alone?” “Yup I do,” I responded, “I pray and I go and the Lord goes with me.” His eyes grew bigger, “Aren’t you scared?” I smiled. Even this seemingly very brave and well-traveled man was thinking it sounded scary, then I knew my once personal fear, was not completely unreasonable.
Anyway, Dw prayed with me for quite awhile before I flew this time that God would place me beside specific people…and oh-my-gracious – the Lord did amazing things!!! Dw had prayed that each flight a man would help me lift my carry-on into the overhead as the MS has made lifting heavy things over my head nearly impossible. (The Lord answered each time!)
The first flight out of Phoenix the handsome young man I was seated next to, hopped up when he saw me coming and asked if he could help. Wow. Just like that.
As I sat down beside him we immediately found out we both knew Jesus and he commented, “I knew you did. I could see it in your face as you walked toward me.” That was one of the sweetest compliments ever in my life and my hearts cry, “Jesus, I want others to see you in me!”
It turns out he actually serves the Lord as a missionary in a better-left-unsaid location. He had flown to Phoenix and crazy-as-it-seems had spent one night in our very neighborhood because that’s where the groomsmen were staying the night prior to the wedding he was in. We spent the entire flight talking about the goodness of God. I feel so honored to now know him!! He was such an amazing blessing!! And since he’s single, I’ve been wondering in my head who I could match him up with. He doesn’t know that though!
After we hugged and I headed to my next flight I was praising the Lord for how He had already shown up in a mighty big way! The next flight I had an empty seat beside me and I was able to sleep a tad.
The last flight (which was 11 hours long) into Uganda I sat next to a precious young woman and her husband who also know Jesus. We had such a wonderful visit – for just about all 11 hours!! She was amazing!
Time with the Gems was wonderful. They make any day better!! And it wasn’t just wonderful being there, it was joyful to observe the significant strides they’ve made in their healing!
One enormous change was Hannah.
She was “just there” when she first arrived at The Gem and now, through the therapies she receives and the investment of her nannies, she is thriving!! Her smile says it all! She’s even trying to get up on all fours!!
Obviously I miss Emma every day, but when I see how she and Josh pour their lives into these precious Gems, I am comforted and encouraged. I love and miss my Emma and her hubby, yet I share them willingly, I love the Gems too much to be selfish with Emma and Josh. God is so good at the miraculous things He continues to do with the Gems!
Lastly, one of my concerns was on the home front.
A couple of months ago we had asked our dear friends, Tim and Karoline if their daughter Emily (who had been on the internship at The Gem Foundation with Liberty) could come and help with our big pile while I went to see our girl. Just like that they said, “Sure!” And Emily was totally up for it all! The three of them love so generously!!! (And Liberty and Emily had a blast to boot!)
We prayed about how Birdie would do with me being gone and the entire bonding process. I know that it’s a delicate thing, yet I hadn’t seen my girl in a full year! It was more than time and I knew our God is a very big God! He has even the bonding in His watchful eye.
I have to tell you, when I first started talking about going Vern’s response was a flat out, “No.” (Haha.) He said, “You? Emma?” And then held up his hand like it was a phone. Meaning: You talk to Emma via the phone and don’t you think of going anywhere else Mama. It made me giggle.
Then I actually made reservations and when I told Vern he now said half-smiling, “Ummm, no, mom. You do this mom (then he made the motion like he was hugging) to Emma and you come back.” Meaning, you get off the plane, you hug her and you head straight home. Poor guy. Pretty sure he’s thinking, “I waited 14 years for you mama to find me – don’t you dare even think of leaving me now!!”
When he heard I would be gone about 12 days he was less than enthused. I reminded him that I was gone from Jubilee, Nehemiah, Isaiah, Elizabeth, Elijah and Ruby for 20 days when I went to China to bring he and Birdie home.
After that, he didn’t say much else about it all. Silly guy.
We took bonding and Birdie to the Lord in prayer continually.
Thankfully, the Knee Team was praying too!! So grateful for that sweet bunch of friends who fervently pray.
Well I’m happy to report that when Dw and I pulled into the driveway my sweet pile was gathered outside cheering….and Birdie was enthusiastically part of it all! When I actually climbed out of the car I swooped her up and she began jumping up and down in my arms and giggling. I so wish we had recorded it. She was giddy – her mommy was home!! I was kissing on Ruby as Birdie was snuggling in my arms. Both were thrilled I was home!!
Vern was thrilled too and managed just fine!
A little later Dw took these….
My two little twins…so very content and happy to have their very weary mommy home…
And once again, our faithful God, not only heard our prayers but answered.
How I praise His Holy and Matchless bigger-than-bonding name!