Well, we finally made it!!! We are all still a bit jet lagged, but we have been so blessed and shown so much favor so far! I sat down to write last night and quickly realized that I was completely incompetent until I had more sleep. However, today has certainly brought a great deal of refreshing through fellowship and sleep, of course! Anyhow, my object tonight is to share about our journey here.
For most of the team, this was not their first international trip. However, for Laurel and me, our excitement began the moment we boarded the plane to London. The story, however, really began in Denver, where I got drug tested. Yes, that is right. They now do this at the Denver airport, apparently randomly, due to the recreational marijuana legalization. Don't worry, I passed. A TSA personnel asked me to put my palms up and wiped them with a cloth which he run through a machine. Many jokes have come out of this for the team, but all in good fun. Once we arrived in Dallas, we were greeted by a nice Samalian who drove a cart at the airport. He turned out to be a huge blessing! He drove us around the airport and to our gate. He even took us in an elevator on the cart. It was a great time with tons of laughter. After a shortish layover, we were ready to head to London. Unfortunately, Ronda could not sleep at all on the flight.
Once we landed in London, we had another short layover and then we were off to Turkey. We arrived in Turkey and so did all of our luggage! (Which in and of itself was a huge blessing!) After locating our transportation, we had about a 30 minute drive to the hotel. While we were driving, I noticed a very large mosque, which turned out to be just a short distance from the hotel. After dinner, we were all very excited to get to shower and settle into our rooms for some much needed sleep. As we were getting ready for bed, Tawnya pointed out prayers which we could hear from the mosque. This was a very new thing for me and totally caught me off guard. To this, Tawnya very appropriately said, "we are not in Kansas anymore." The sentiment could not have been more perfect.
As we were driving to the hotel, I began to be very aware of the fact that I was no longer in America. I am a foreigner in this land and it is not mine. The atmosphere was different and it could be felt. I could say more, much more, but I suppose I will save that for another post when there is more to express it. For now, I am amazed at how this has been so carefully and perfectly orchestrated and am continually reminded of His love. Being in this place is such an honor! We have the opportunity to fellowship with and meet so many amazing people who are serving around the world and being obedient to the Holy Spirit. I am truly humbled by this opportunity and it is encouraging me to branch out, to meet new people, and to share.
Our expectations are high and our faith is being enlarged. We are eager to see what He will do in and through us in the coming days! In spite of this, we are indeed not "in Kansas anymore." I had intended on including a few pictures, but it did not work out. So for now, good night from Turkey!