It's never easy, leaving Guatemala. There are always mixed emotions. You want to get home and see your family, you want to take a hot shower, you want to have a coke with ICE:) But I don't ever really want to leave.
Saturday seemed like a fight from the moment I woke up. When you pay to stay in a nice, safe hotel in Guatemala City you kind of expect hot water. 3am and a cold shower was just what I needed I guess to get me going. The boys on the other hand did NOT want to get up. It's like their 2 weeks of being in Guatemala had come to a head. Cameron was struggling.
I went downstairs to find that most of our Asheboro team had gotten on the shuttle to the airport, but not all of them. The next hour was craziness, trying to get everyone to the airport. There were plenty of other guests at the hotel who didn't mind jumping in front of our team - forcing their way on the shuttle and separating our team. One of the kids on our team, Taylor was throwing up and once we finally checked in we learned that our flight was delayed more than an hour. Would we make our connecting flight in Miami?
Breakfast always makes people feel better and we were thanking God for a McDonald's in the airport. Our flight to Miami was pretty uneventful until we arrived. On route to immigration Kendall started throwing up. The carousel that our luggage was to arrive on, broke - so we had to wait a really long time for it to come off on another carousel. Meanwhile we realized that if God didn't intervene we would surely miss our flight home. I've never had the immigration/customs part of the trip take so long.
We finally figured out where to put our luggage and were rushing through security when a man picked a fight with my 16 year old nephew, Jonathan. I held my composure for the most part until Kendall started throwing up again. The security agent looked at the zip lock bag he was holding and said "you can't take that through security." It was our last bag and Kendall's sickness wasn't letting up. Meanwhile the irritated man began to pick a fight with me. The woman behind him said to me "you're being WAY to nice to this man." As nicely as I could I apologized to the man for anything we had done to upset him and then said "We're a little stressed. While you're picking a fight with a teenager and keeping it going with me - we're missing our flight home and my son is throwing up. You're in front of us and will get through security before we do. I suggest that you turn around and leave us alone." Our team was separated and I had lost all control. Cameron heard a different man say in Spanish "that woman is crazy." And he was right - I felt crazy. And I wasn't the only one. Our Asheboro team leaders lost a carryon in the midst of the wildness.
The flight to Raleigh was uneventful except for Kendall throwing up every 15 minutes. We were all relieved when we landed in North Carolina and saw the smiling faces of our family and friends. Of course 1/2 the team's luggage didn't arrive and we couldn't find my car in long term parking. My Mom said it was parked in "C" for Christian when we realized later it was actually in "G" for God:) Thankfully David's sister and her husband were there to help us out!
Once we found the car and headed east toward home I decided to stop at a convenience store to get Kendall some gatorade. The lights were on and there were cars in the parking lot - but the door was locked to the store! I couldn't believe it. I quickly found the last bit of my joy fading. "Why Lord does everything have to be so hard today?" I drove across the street and went inside another store. The clerk, a man in his 20's said "Good afternoon M'am. How are you?"
I said "I'm fine." He replied "If you're so fine, why do you have that scowl on your face?"
Guilt took over me and I felt defeated. I had failed all day long. Do I look that stressed?
"I'm sorry" I said. "We've been on a trip for 2 weeks and my son has been throwing up since Miami and they lost our luggage and I still have to drive home 2 hours. I'm really not as bad as my face looks. I'm sorry."
The young man said, "Bless your heart."
It was in that moment that I heard a Kirk Franklin song coming from his little cd player. Imagine Me is the name of the song and it's one of my favorites.
"I love that song!" I said. "Have you ever seen the video?"
The young man said "No. I haven't." and I replied "You need to go to his website. It's an awesome video."
The man gave me my change for the gatorade and as he placed it in my hand he gently grabbed my hand and said "I'm going to pray for you M'am."
And.....he prayed the sweetest most incredible prayer for me. Right there in that convenience store. He prayed for safety, a clear mind, healing for my son, and that I would sense how much God loved me and how proud He was of me for the work I do for him." He didn't even know that we had been on a mission trip.
Through my tears I thanked him for being obedient to the Lord in that moment. God had used him in an incredible way.
It's amazing what a little sleep will do for you:) Sunday was a blur. But today I realize what happened on Saturday. How often are we obedient, faithful to God and Satan is upset? Doesn't the Bible say that he is a thief and that he comes to steal, kill and destroy? He succeeded most of the day on Saturday - to steal my joy. But God was faithful. He used a young man in a convenience store to remind me of His love - and give me my joy back.
Please pray for our team members as they return to home, work and church. God used them to share the Gospel with many, love on orphans, give school supplies that will allow kids to continue their education, encourage care givers, and offer freedom and healing for those who have been abused. I bet satan is unhappy. Your prayers have made a huge difference in these team members' lives. Please keep them coming!