Jonathan and I got up long before the sun rose. We had packed all remnants of the life we lived for the past month, and headed out the door. Our time back in the States was coming to an end. As we drove to the airport, we spoke of our favorite American traditions and pastimes we would soon be leaving behind. After we checked in for our flight, we turned to give hugs to our family. Before I could stop them, tears were streaming down my face. As my mom hugged me, I thought I would never be able to let go. Saying goodbye in March was bittersweet. It was sad saying goodbye, but we knew a great adventure awaited us. At that time, our excitement overruled our fear. Leaving this time was harder because we knew what long, sometimes lonely days awaited us in the Dominican Republic.
I put on my bravest, fakest smile as I walked away from my family, only to burst into tears as I walked through security. Yes, I was a mess. I have no idea why saying goodbye was so difficult this time. To make matters worse, Jonathan and I were not able to sit next to each other on our first flight. As I settled into my window seat, I noticed the sky had begun changing colors. Once our plane was in the air, I watched as the sun rose across the clouds. The sky ranged in color from dark, deep red to magnificent aqua-blue. As far as I could see, the color stretched across the sky. I forgot my sadness as I was reminded that God’s love for us was much like the sunrise I was witnessing. Romans 8:39 says “No power in the sky above or in the earth below – indeed, nothing in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” I had no need to wrestle with fear or sadness when I knew I was walking in God’s love. This fact alone gave me the strength I needed to get through our day of traveling.
Once we were back in San Juan, I began to wonder why leaving Fort Wayne was so difficult. We were welcomed back with open arms, both from the SRI staff and the San Juan community. Being around our Dominican staff reminded me that we have family here, loving and supporting us.
Our transition back has also been made easier because we have also had our first visitors to San Juan, our best friends – Stephanie and Sam Barrone. They are friends from Fort Wayne and have been a huge help here at the guesthouse. We are so blessed to have them in our home for two weeks!
We just finished hosting our second team since being back from our break. Through interacting with the teams, we have gained so much reassurance. We know we are right where God wants us to be. Leaving Fort Wayne was difficult, but living in San Juan is worth every second. We are looking forward to all God has in store during this next season of teams.