Today, I am only thinking about one thing: safe travels for my brother, sister-in-law, and nephew as they travel halfway around the world.
Since 2009, my brother and sister-in-law have lived in Tanzania, doing work to help the people there become more educated and more self-sufficient. In short, to help them create good, productive lives for themselves.
As a mission goes, it has been slow-moving. First, there was the distance to travel -- more than 7,000 miles. Then, there was a new language to learn --eastern Africa's Swahili, but also some tribal dialects like Sukuma. In addition to language differences, there were also many housing and cultural issues to overcome.
In 2010, they traveled back to the U.S. to have my nephew (the cutest little boy in the whole entire world). That November, my mom and dad traveled to Geita, Tanzania via Rwanda to visit them and their first and only grandson. Last summer, my mom and I went back and had an amazing adventure. Besides seeing them and experiencing daily life in a Tanzanian town, we also got to stay overnight near Kilimanjaro, visit a rural village, explore the city of Mwanza, and go on safari in the Serengeti. It was a trip of a lifetime.
This past November, they traveled once again to America, this time for a different kind of life celebration. Instead of a birth, they returned to help with my wedding. Holly was my matron of honor, Jude was my ring bearer, and Carson was a builder-of-decorations and video-camera-guy. My heart swells with the love they showed me and that I feel towards them for coming and helping with this special occasion.
Today they fly home, first to Washington, D.C. and then on to Tanzania. Last night was full of laughter, conversation, and hugs and kisses. Today we are missing them, but certain in the knowledge that they are following their hearts to do good work.
Holly wrote eloquently yesterday about the business of leaving, which you can read here.
Many prayers and well wishes are with them as they travel.
And who knows if I will wait until they return in 2014? As a new nephew will arrive in May, I might just have to make that journey again.