70 people ranging in age from 7 to 70. I was told it was going to be “hurry up and wait” and it is true. We arrive at MSP airport and “wait” – for everyone to gather, to unload luggage, to check-in, to go thru security, and then to board the plane. There are a few soccer fanatics, my 14 y.o. son Drew being one of them, and they start watching world cup soccer in the local bar. The younger kids and a few of their “80’s” parents are in the arcade playing Galaga and various racing games.
During this waiting I start wondering what the days ahead will be like. My first “fear” is how my body will hold up physically. My back bugs me pretty bad at night and I haven’t worked really hard in……way too long.
Other questions swirl in the milieu of my mind. What will the people at our worksite be like? What will their community look like? How will we talk as I don’t know a bit of Spanish? Do you really have to check your shoes for scorpions in the morning?
Our flight is good. Gotta love soggy grilled cheese sandwiches at 30,000 feet. Everyone is excited to arrive – I believe there was applause on the landing….kids are too much fun!
More hurry up and wait – pile all the luggage, wait for the vans to arrive, notice people starting to sort themselves and worry who is going to ride with whom. Jody teaches the younger kids some basic games you can play with a few coins and a wall outside the airport. Adults worry about organizing and is everyone safe. Teens worry about where they are going to sit on the vans. Grade school kids just run around and play – interrupting everyone else’s worrying……
We load up – I get to co-pilot a van. Of course that means we take a wrong turn but eventually end up at Point Loma Nazarene College. More waiting – unloading luggage, room assignments, making sure I know where my kids rooms are and what room my wife is in. I was in a room with Alexey but he ditches me to sleep with his buddy Peter so I have a room to myself – perfect for the introvert that I am!
Pizza for dinner, some time to wander – you can see the ocean but we can’t get down to it from where we are. We spend time in worship – Steve leads us in songs….he has grown in being a worship leader so much this past year. We pray and John shares some with us.
Expectations start to surface and more questions……what is about to happen, how will it effect me, will I remain unchanged – do I want to change, am I hoping something in me changes?
I’m tired. As I lay down to go to sleep in my dorm room I have the window open. It opens into the courtyard where all of our rooms are. I can hear a student moving outside to sleep. I hear others talking – I love listening to students talk, especially when they don’t know you are listening. They say such amazing things and the way they relate to each other is always fascinating. As I lie there, listening, it fills me with joy. I don’t sleep much…..it is too much fun listening to the voices, the ocean, the sounds outside my window.
I have to think that God gets even more pleasure as He is watching and listening over His creation and we are behaving as if God isn’t listening, looking, yearning for us. (For the moment I’m going to ignore the fact that so much of what we say and do breaks God’s heart – and focus on the joy He must get when we are in relationship with each other…..created in Hi image…..and the joy he gets in listening/loving on His creation.) I can picture Him in some way – smiling over us as we talk and finally drift off to sleep. And I am comforted knowing that He is there – whether I am awake, asleep, tired, rested, scared, joyful – he is always with me, and I know I will need to rely on Him in the days ahead. But for now – I go to sleep……taking joy in the voices I hear…..and thinking now that I am hearing God through them.