Sunday, June 24, 2012

We're Home!

Wow!  The past couple of weeks have been a whirlwind.  We want to thank those of you who were praying for our mission trip to Southern Sudan.  I could definitely feel the power of prayers while we were out of the country.  For so many of us, to be so far away from home in such a different culture, the trip really happened without a hitch!  So again, thanks so much for your thoughts and prayers.  I hated that I couldn't blog in real time while we were in Sudan, but now the fun can begin.  Here are some  retrospective updates so that you can hear all about our experiences and about what God is doing in South Sudan.  

Our flights were scheduled at great times (none of that getting to the airport at 4 a.m. stuff).  Monday, our flight from RDU to Dulles was at 5:30 p.m.  So, we loaded up and left home around lunchtime and dropped our pooch off at my mom's.  Thanks for doggy sitting, Mom!  Then, we headed toward Raleigh.  Thankfully, another team member, David, gave us a ride to the airport and we were able to store our car at his house.  Thanks, David!  The flight to Washington was smooth, and we began meeting our team members that night in the airport at around 9 p.m.  I must say that our mission team was awesome...such a diverse group, but very cohesive and loving.  You could really tell that God hand-picked each member just for this trip for special reasons.  We all got a good night's rest at the Hampton Inn and prepared for our long flight across the ocean the next day.  

So, I'm not really sure where day two ends and day three begins because we lost a day as we crossed the ocean but anyway...  Our flight Tuesday was on time and smooth as we crossed the Atlantic.  I have a really hard time resting on planes, so even though this was about a 13 hour flight, I didn't sleep at all.  I passed the time by watching movies, listening to music, getting to know some team members, and reading.  We arrived at Addis Ababa, Ethiopia sometime in the afternoon and had a small layover.  The terminal we arrived in was so strange.  We didn't see any of the typical airport amenities.  It was just an un-air-conditioned structure with some chairs and cigarette smoke to spare.  It was pretty sparse without the shops and food and monitors and announcements and cell phone charging stations that we're used to experiencing in airports.  I could tell we were definitely not home anymore.  

We caught another flight to Entebbe, Uganda where we stayed for a night.  I thought this part of Uganda was just beautiful!  It was very tropical and green.  We stayed at Neul Tourist Hotel, which I also found very beautiful and very photogenic.  Check out a few shots from around the grounds at the hotel.  

See?  Isn't is so pretty there?  When we got to our rooms, I was thinking "hmm...this is kinda roughing it, but it's not so bad."  The room was a little warm and our beds had mosquito nets over them, the shower was cold and we had to try not to get the water in our mouth or eyes, but overall, the lodging was nice.  (You'll see later how this hotel was a nice way to ease into our Sudan experience.)  That night as I laid in bed with the window open, I listened to the prayer calls sounding out from the Islamic mosques somewhere in town.  It was a sound that I've never heard, and it made me feel a million miles away from home.  I slept well that night after being awake for 27 hours straight.  The next day we made our trek to our final destination in Kajo Keji, South Sudan.  But, I'll save that part of the journey for the next post.  

Stay tuned for more!

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