leaving on a jet plane

12.17.2012 |

i love coffee, yes.  that comes as no surprise; however, i am rather fond of tea.  i have sipped countless cups with my new iranian friends as i listened to stories of love, persecution, heartbreak, and triumphs.  before coming to vancouver (and on the flights over) i had no idea for what i had signed up.  all i knew was that i was going to work with amin and sepideh because i had felt an overwhelming pull on my heart to serve alongside them.  now, i am sipping some hotel tea as i reflect on traveling to vancouver from indianapolis.

my trip started off by sitting next to a girl my age named katie on my flight from indianapolis to minneapolis.  as big as this world is, sitting next to katie made the world shrink a million fold after chatting for a straight 90 minutes.  katie goes to the same college as my sister and she is originally from dallas (a city i have frequented much in the past).  katie loves cats and taking photographs.  naturally, katie and i hit it off as though we have been friends for years.  something about katie made my heart happy.  she is bubbly and humorous.  she is dating a guy for a few months now and she will be graduating in may.  she is adopted and has 2 siblings and a white cat (who she had to leave in dallas when she went to school because her roommates were allergic, so sad).  she has three tattoos: four stars on her wrist that represent her siblings and mom and dad, one on her foot that says "love is patient" and one of her ribs.  if you have a tattoo, then you understand the detail one can go into about what the tattoo means, why you got with, etc (i have an anatomical heart on my back and got to share with her why i got inked).  because i was curious, i asked her more about her "love is patient" tattoo, which lead into me asking her what she believed.  like so many people i know, katie has been burned by the church.  the catholic church katie grew up in told her that her mom would go to hell for having her sister out of wedlock.  this is not the basis for hell and i apologized to her for the pain a foolish and out of context sentence must have caused her and her family for so long.  this led to some more conversation on church, jesus, religions, relationships, confusions, fears, etc.  katie and i planned to get lunch at the minneapolis airport together, but seeing that our gates were on opposite poles of the airport and she didn't have much of a layover, we didn't get that opportunity.  we exchanged numbers, instagram names, and took some photos together...but then we went to our respective gates.  katie flew to dallas and is now home snuggling with her kitty.  i know that we are going to keep in touch.    

on my three flight from minneapolis to seattle, i had the privilege to sit next to brian simmons.  brian and his wife moved from rochester to seattle and have been married for 25 years.  brian was flying back from the mayo clinic in rochester.  he has to go there multiple times a year because he has chronic pancreatitis.  he takes over 50 pills a day and has been doing that for over 19 years.  i admire this man i met on the plane.  he and his wife started a single's ministry at their church in rochester.  they have no kids of their own (though they have two white soman dogs named jake and jasmine).  over the years, he said that the different young people that came into and out of their house became their family.  now that they live in mount vernon, washington, he is wondering where the Lord will lead them next.  this man poured into me and whether he realized it or not, gave me much hope and encouragement.  he had such a positive outlook on life and the pain that this disease has brought him.  though he could be angry and selfish for having so much physical hurt, he sees it as an opportunity to not only meet hurting and lost people, but he sees it as an opportunity to remain humble and reminder to stay dependent on christ. this was a three hour flight and we were able to visit with each other for nearly 2 hours and 15 minutes before both of us fell asleep.  i was tired but i know my exhaustion pales in comparison to this man.  he had expressed that he rarely gets more than 4 hours consecutively.  i was glad to see him get a least a few minutes of relief on that plane.

my third plane was the plane out of the country.  i left seattle sitting next to a gorgeous girl that was returning home from spending months in europe.  she was anything but interested in talking to me, but i pried just a little.  she is from vancouver but has worked in the fashion industry in new york for the past few years. she spent a few months in europe touring, shopping, working, etc.  she asked what i was doing in vancouver and i told her about my mission trip with the kanoon zendegi center and zendeh church.  i word for word told her that i felt that i had been "called" to come and she said, "called by who?" i was so thrown off by this question, yet i still told her "God."  our conversation was over at that point besidess farewells and wishes to enjoy being home.

as i walked off the plane, a lady wearing the cutest outfit ever was in front of me.  she expressed that it was from a shop called "aritzia's"  i had never heard of it, so she explained.  i told her i wasn't from here and i didn't know if they had them in america.  the finely dressed woman asked what i was doing in british columbia so i told her i was on a mission trip to work with an iranian christian church.  again, i was taken off guard by her question, "what's a mission trip?" when i told her, the mood shifted and we continued to walk ever faster to customs.  we parted ways as she encouraged me to have a nice trip.  

though i was exhausted after talking and traveling all day, i was relieved to get to canada.  i nodded off a few times while taking the sky train to surrey (a suburb of vancouver).  though i have yet to catch up on sleep, it has been awesome to see how God has been my source of renewed strength and how he removes my weariness.  my day of travel was an encouraging way to start a trip that would require me talking to perfect strangers and immersing myself into a culture where i am always the minority. 

i wish i had pictures to upload at the present moment, but they are all on my digital camera.  i didn't bring my cord to connect my camera to the computer, so we will all have to wait until i return to the states.  

i miss you all, but i sure love seeing the power of the gospel come to life in ways i never have the past 2.5 days.  i can't wait to share my stories about khali-alma, irene, kimberly, cadance, tony, and leila from yesterday's adventure and the testimonies from persecuted iranians from today's events.  it has been a tiresome yet fruitful trip thus far.  

thank you to everyone for your prayer support and for the financial support that allowed me to be apart of this trip.  God is alive and at work here in vancouver.  my God is the God of this city, of your city and we are to be a city on a hill.  go shine, wherever you are.

"i thank my God always when i remember you in my prayers, because i hear of your love and of the faith that you have toward the Lord Jesus and the saints, and i pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective for the full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ.  for i have derived much joy and comfort from your love, ___________, because of the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you." –philemon 1:4-7

  .....a lot more to come.

No comments

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...