Thursday, May 29, 2014
A little over seventeen years ago now,I was pregnant with our firstborn, Janae. We were living in Virginia, a long ways from most of our family. I had no idea what having a baby would be like. I had much fear about the pain and just the entire delivery process. Not only did I want my mother to be near, but I especially desired my husband's presence. A few months before I was due (the first week of March), Bob was offered the free trip of a lifetime, a study trip to Israel by the local Eastern Star. Wow! How could he "not" go? Even though the trip meant he would be gone during the last weeks of my pregnancy and even over the expected due date ... how could he "not" go? After all, it was FREE!!! But my sweet husband, who dearly wanted to go to Israel on a trip such as this one, instead said, "No, when I go to Israel, we will go together." I was overwhelmed. From that time on, we have planned and saved some here and there for just such a trip. Tax refund money would go into a CD, so that we couldn't touch it without penalties. It is the only savings we have ever had that didn't get spent on something else. There was always a need. Our dream was that we would go together the year of our twenty-fifth wedding anniversary. With that anniversary approaching, last year we started wondering if our dream would come true. The giving income dropped all year long for our mission. It soon became evident that something had to change. What was it? Would we need to withdraw our Israel savings and instead live on it or use it for airfare to return to the states and end our time as missionaries in Uganda? What was God trying to tell us? To make a long story short, God increased our giving income so that we could remain in Uganda. He pointed us to join a new ministry here while staying involved with the old. We are excited about these changes. But that is another story. The point is that our Israel savings was left untouched. As we began to look for options of what tour group to join, it became evident that it was no coincidence that the very year we are to go on our dream vacation is also the very year that a friend from Oregon is leading a group there!!! There was no question in our minds that we would join that team! It is just days now before we leave on our dream trip. So why are butterflies entering my tummy? I am convinced that we are supposed to go. I have no doubt that God is wanting to bless us with this time together, learning more about Him and seeing where His Bible people lived and served. I am amazed at His awesome gift to us. Yet I will be a continent away from my children. A dear friend of the family will be with them. There is no reason to fear now. Is that the reason for the butterflies? Or is it that I am not physically fit like I once was when I was younger? After all, this trip requires moderate hiking from 6-8 miles a day being expected to walk/hike. I have been instructed very specifically about purchasing hiking boots and breaking them in. I have read carefully all the other directions on what to bring and what to leave behind. Bob and I have spent months now walking an hour every morning, five days a week, with an emphasis on including stairs in our routine. Living on a hilly terrain the last couple months surely has helped us. I am just about as physically ready as I could be (or so Bob tells me). So why the butterflies? Perhaps the butterflies are just coming from the excitement of the culmination of a dream come true when it doesn't yet feel like it is really happening. I truly don't know. But one thing I do know, God will be with me. God will be with the children. And God will go before us and prepare the way. I covet your prayers that He would accomplish exactly His desires in our hearts (for each of the 48 in our tour group - 14 from Oregon, I think it is) and that we would be changed forever by this dream trip, a once-in-a-lifetime experience to be sure!!!