***Helpful hint. If this is your first time reading about the trip, start with My Mission…Trip and read up from there. I’ve been asked several times; so I know you don’t want to start at the end :)***
So everyone has left but us. Today it’s our turn. We’ve been able to stay around while other parties left before us. But this is it…for now. I don’t want to go. I believe I could stay here forever. I am forever changed. These people who opened their doors to us, welcomed us, and loved us will always be in my heart.
I’ve put off writing this final post because it makes it final one more time. You’ll see at the end of the YouTube video the waiving of goodbyes. You’ll see that like us, there were smiles with tears in their eyes. I haven’t had the feeling I did at the end of the week since my first year of VACC Camp. For those of you who know me, you’ll know how big that feeling is.
I woke up earlier than normal and I couldn’t roll back over and go to sleep. So I watched the sunrise in the kitchen while the ladies made all our favorites for our last breakfast behind me. Little by little everyone stirred. It wasn’t with the usual excitement, but more a sense that if we dragged our feet we could stretch the minutes into hours. Hannah already broke down last night when Fabi left. She was inconsolable for a while. I know that feeling. I felt it myself 20 years ago. They will be life long friends like Salome and I.
We insisted that all of us eat together that final breakfast. Even the local families that had helped every day and all the children joined us. It was so nice to have that. The children although encouraged by us to begin eating, did not touch the food to serve themselves. Even with their eyes wide at the abundance of food, they would not eat until the elders of Usila gave them the go ahead. Such respect and manners. They were so well-behaved. It was the longest breakfast all week. No one was in a hurry. No one wanted it to end.
Inevitably it did, and it was time to go. We brought our bags down and started the onslaught of pictures and goodbyes. When the bus came it all went too fast. We were only loading our bags this time, no supplies, no extras. So in a matter of minutes we were being hurried to load. I’m not embarrassed to say that I probably had snot running down my face from all the crying and sniffling. I hugged my girls in the clinic over and over again. But the one that got me the most was Pastor’s wife Isabel and Emmie. They were the first two names I learned (It was easier because I have an Aunt and cousin with those same names).
After that we were on the bus for the next 3 hours. Chi road with us all the way to Tuxtepec to make sure we had no problems with the blockades. We made one stop to get the view of Usila from the top of another mountain.
With only the option to sleep or cry (well at least for me) I closed my eyes and slept after that. Only woke up when the roads got rough. We made it back in about 3 hours. We shared what we had left of our granola bars and Kathy Baker’s life saving Mrs. Baker’s Biscotti! Seriously Kathy, Maria F. was rationing it! I for one love to try new foods, but there are just times when one isn’t willing to be that brave.
We went by Chiria Children’s Home after lunch at the hotel (same one we stayed at on the way out). We picked them up, and after multiple trips to the market we all made it. We did some shopping. But I’m not going to lie… my heart wasn’t in it. I knew that even this short visit would mean another goodbye. And I just didn’t want to. We went back to the hotel and we were all in bed pretty early. Not to mention that it was the 1st night of sleep with AC in 5 days! We had to be up at 4am to make our way back to Vera Cruz. Sunday was going to feel like an extremely long day!
We’ve been back a week now. It’s hard to believe at this point that time continues to move forward. Sunday (7/3/2016) we got to give testimony at church. It was a relief to talk about the trip to a captive audience. We were warned before we left that others may not have the same enthusiasm as us when we returned. And while I’ve thankfully had this as an outlet, lack of enthusiasm has been tough to deal with. I feel forever changed, and I’m still struggling with how to wrap my head around it all.
Thankfully our team is there to talk to and relive moments with. Thankfully people from Believers’ have been so receptive to our stories. Thankfully there are friends and family that want to hear about my “trip”. I know I’ll go back to Usila. And as I told Jon and Maria, it’ll be with or without Believers’ Fellowship. I love the people there. I love the simplicity of the life, and the idea of a community working together. I will never again look at their way of life as poor. Because after being back for a week, I see far more lack here than I did there. Take that as you will.
As Kelley said in service last Wednesday… I am far more willing to listen and be obedient Lord. Just tell me where to go next!
Thanks again for staying with me on this journey. Thanks for listening, and thanks for sharing.
All my love,