Last week, I said good-byes and fare-thees and figured I would wrap up the responsibilities I had and just put things on hold for a month. I notifiied my bank; I shut off my phone. I gathered gifs for baby showers, birthdays, and weddings, and divied them out to messengers. I am usually not this prepared. I worked in advance at the job, and delegated to coworkers that didn't have to be so nice to me, but nonetheless were. I wrote out bills and spoke with my housemates. My room was occupied and others were given keys to use my vehicle while I was gone. Plenty of hugs, lots of love, and "see ya, see ya- in a month." Oh, and will you water those plants?
Last week, four others and I flew to London with a desitation of Scotland, and the intention to work with Glasglow City Mission and other initiatives. Many, many of you supported us in countless ways. We didn't make it. We got to Heathrow Airport and made it through: one-on-one interviews with immigation officials, a 13 hour wait in the holding rooms (complete with offerings of sandwiches and hot teas from a free "vending" machine), and rides in vans with metal bars and hard plastic walls. Our passports were taken away, our belongings locked up... and we waited. Meanwhile, others worked extremely hard to make our 'stay' as pleasureable and comforting as possible. We laughed with immigration officials, escorts and fellow detainees from England, Russia, and Australia. The urgency in our voices was met with prayer and counsel from people in the United States and Scotland. We waded through the process with anticipation. We hoped it would have been turned out differently; we were sent back to the United States. Our passports were returned to us when we reached US soil. Immigration regulations had changed in March, and we did not have the proper sponsership to be welcomed into the UK.
This week, we greeted and surprised many of those who had helped to send us. More hugs. And still, we waited. Would sponsership come? We realized it was a much longer process than originally anticipated. It would take longer to apply and to show forth results, and it would cost some money, for sure. So, my bag stayed packed, and I bought food for a day at a time. I went back to work for a couple days, and what could have been quite an awkward situation was instead a true welcoming back. We set a Thursday as the date as a team, so we would either be on a plane on Thursday or regrouping for further possibilites. Thursday night, I went grocery shopping in Denver. This time I bought food that would last more than a week; we were not on a plane. I was o.k. Friday we met as a team--not in the Scot's Highlands--but in a fabulous little coffee shop in the Highlands of Denver. ;) The team may be heading out once more for the much-awaited destination of Glasglow, Scotland; however, I will not be able to join.
Dude, I took a 48 hour trip. It was insane. It is surreal being back. My wallet is still filled with Scottish currency, and a stamp from customs marks my passport. I guess it was real, afterall. Frankly, it was frustrating and difficult. It was uncomfortable and stretching. Yet, it was an adventure. There was a lot of giving up control and persevering in hope, throughout. It was about encouraging a team, when you, yourself had no idea what was going to happen. It was not scary, but it was a stripping of our rights and status. It was a character-refining trial that reminded us that our own itineraries are mere proposals for tomorrow. I hope I managed to love on people, although the people we met were not the intended audiance. Good stuff happened, but I will probably have more insight a few months from now. :)
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. xxx
Enjoy this hour. "Continue on and have fun."