The last day in MM started with our pickup to the airport at 6:00 AM by Joseph. With hearts still heavy from saying goodbye the night before, we were overjoyed to see many children join us for our trip to the airport. I was so happy to see David and Joel again.
With about 25 people and 20 bags crammed into the two vans, we made our way to the airport. David held my hand tightly and Joel wrapped his arm around me the entire trip. The same precious minutes ticked away for other team members.
When we arrived, we said goodbye quickly—much of our hearts were already shared. Ending our time in MM this way was much better than leaving it the way from the night before. We were all thankful for a few more moments with our precious ones.
We made it through check-in and customs with no problem. I come home with 75 or 100 nice polo shirts from the seminary. They have the International Calvary Theological Seminary logo on them and wording on the back. I’m selling them as a fundraiser and all proceeds go to the seminary. They come in white, khaki, and blue. Suggested donation is $25 in person or $30 to ship. Contact me for your orders. I’ll put a picture and order info on csheinz.com soon.
As the plane took off in MM, the sun was already shining on the land. Trees sparkled in the sunlight. Clouds streaked the blue sky. I gave thanks for the days we had in MM, and for the New Day in MM. It’s coming, I tell you, it’s coming and it’ll be far better than anyone imagined.
I thought of the childrens’ faces, of the joy and worship we shared, and the grief and sadness we shared. I thought of the seminary students, their futures shining glory brighter than the sun. I thought of the staff, and how they have given their lives to build God’s Kingdom one person at a time. And I wondered when I’d be back, when any of us would be back.
There will never be a trip like this again. For though some of us will return, all of us might not return. But in the off chance we all return, we will be at different points in our stories. We will know more, have experienced more, have lost more, have gained more. We will be different.
There is no time like now, which is reason enough to give thanks for it. Tomorrow will bring another page, and eventually another chapter, until the story is finished. I’m so glad I had this experience with the people I did. Cheers to Oakes and Betsy and Caleb and Lois and Barry and Ginger and John and Suzanne.
Yes, this trip cost us. It cost money and time and effort. I missed my nephew Elliott being born. I missed my sister-in-law getting married and my daughter Asia being a flower girl, and I missed her first art fair and seeing her drawing of Mt. Fuji displayed with her name on it. I missed my boy Rex being all dressed up for the wedding and posing for a picture with my son.
And beyond those events, I missed the every day, the little things that don’t seem like much, like praying for them in the morning and walking through the door after work, and kissing them in bed at night, and closing out the day with a prayer. I missed our dinners around the table and laughter and bath time and playing, their eyes looking right at me, their smiles that I’m there.
And I missed Colette, her warm embrace and smart, comfortable smile that brings me more joy than I am worthy of. I missed her strong confidence, her belief that I am more than I think I am. I missed her laugh and her charm, the smooth lines of her face and her figure. I missed her valiant protection of time with God, how she gets into the Word because she thirsts without it. I missed so many things about my family that I can’t get back.
We all did. We all gave things up with the ones we love, and we can never get them back.
But it was worth it. And I’d do it again. I think we all would. That’s what I told the students and staff on our closing night. I told them how much I loved my family and the ways it cost me to be in MM. But for the sake of God’s call, it was worth it. To be with them then was worth it.
We flew into Bangkok from MM. We recovered a suitcase we left in Bangkok. We took a taxi to the hotel. My dad gave us his reward points at a Marriott Courtyard in downtown, so we checked in there for the night. We ate lunch and hung out, and then met for our last team dinner. We ate at a small, local restaurant, and took turns sharing what God did in us on the trip, and how the experience changed us.
No one had the same story.
For the team,