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And we are off…

Today is the day. All the prayers, all the support raised, all the planning, all the relationship building has lead us to this day. We could not be more thrilled.

All seventeen of us gathered at the airport today at 3:30 to begin the process. Seventeen tickets and 27 bags later, we were ready to head through security. Everything went seamlessly with the exception of Jerry’s bag that had to be searched. It is Jerry’s birthday today so we all just said he may have needed a little extra birthday love! We were able to grab some food and head to the gate.

We noticed right away that the flight was delayed and came to find out that one of the flight attendants had fallen ill right before he/she was supposed to board our flight. Little did we know that flights cannot take off without the correct number of flight attendants so the search began for a replacement attendant and so did our prayers. Prayer warriors were called and texted and within the hour, another flight attendant had been located and we were ready to board. Isn’t God good?

Now as we all sit on this first leg of our trip, we are again filled with thanksgiving for so much.

We are so thankful for each person on this team. We heard stories today of sons and daughters crying as their parent left. Several of my own kids cried and cried as we walked out the door. One team member left a pregnant wife at home. One left a father who is currently in hospice care. Several were still working at their jobs and taking calls as we waited to board. Each one left something behind and did so with such willingness and joy and with hearts to serve. What a blessing to be surrounded by this group of people for the next ten days.

We are thankful for prayer warriors who can be called at a moment’s notice. When we needed a flight attendant, these warriors stopped what they were doing and at that minute joined us in prayer. Oh how we love our Lakeshore family.

We are thankful for those who are keeping things running in our absence. We are thankful for our parents who are watching our kids, for the wives and husbands who are sacrificing to hold down their homes while their spouse is away, for the co-workers who are pulling more than their weight to allow us to travel, the friends who are stepping in and lending a hand. This trip is only made possible because our team of seventeen has an army of Lakeshore family behind them. Thank you to each and every one of you.

I’m thankful for joy and laughter. Already we have laughed and joked and smiled our way through the first several hours. The joy of the group is contagious. Isn’t God just that way? Not only does he bring a group of willing hearts together, but he does it with fun and joy in the process. We are so blessed to see one more time a little piece of how He loves us.

And so, for now, we sit back, relax and eat our in-flight pretzels. We will soon land in Miami and make a very brief layover before we board our 10:20 PM flight to Bolivia. We will land in La Paz at about 5:30 in the morning, wait on the plane for an hour as passengers exit and others board, and then head out for one more flight to Santa Cruz. We should land in Santa Cruz tomorrow morning at 7:30 AM. We will grab our bags, head to the hotel, grab a quick bite of breakfast and then we will be incredibly thankful for our hotel beds for a couple of hours of rest. Thank you for continuing to pray for us. Thank you for praying for extra covering for our families and for smooth travels. God is answering your prayers and making the process so sweet along the way. We love you all!