We have been here for almost a month… and these are some of my thoughts from our first few days back… more to come soon!

We are in Florida, we have touched US soil… you could say we are “home”.  I have literally been dreaming for months about what these first days might look like.  Even in my dreams, I would say to myself finally it’s not a dream, we are really here… and I would wake up and it would still be a dream.

Our last few weeks in Senegal were a whirlwind.  Our house was broken into, by the grace of God only our computer was stolen along with a couple other small things.  We made the decision to move out right away because of some other circumstances making it unsafe for us to stay in our apartment.  We packed in 2 days and moved on the 3rd.  Again, by God’s grace and provision a room opened up with our mission guest house that wasn’t originally available, and we were able to move right in!

I had been excited for so long to come home, and then Irma… Irma decided to come visit.  I stopped being excited about coming home and was just concerned for friends and family all over Florida, but mainly our home of Brevard County.  I didn’t even sleep well the night the hurricane came through, I kept checking my phone for updates from people.  Finally when Monday rolled around I could finally be excited again about coming home.  We packed the entire day on Tuesday and then left for the airport at 10:30, it was an uneventful flight thankfully.  Even though we didn’t have ANY time for our layover, we made it to the plane.  My baby belly was unhappy to be sitting up for so many consistent hours at a time, but I survived.

Landing in Florida was crazy, fun, weird, exciting and disappointing.  Our expectations had gone down because of hurricane Irma, but it was pretty sad to walk out of security to no one.  I think originally we were excited about the thought of people welcoming us home…. don’t get me wrong we COMPLETELY understand… but it doesn’t change the fact that it was a bummer.  We got our bags, and TJ’s sister Ruth was waiting for us with a truck for us and all our bags… we were so grateful she could come pick us up.  I laid down in the truck on the way home, was the first time laying down in 24 hours… this baby belly was crunched!  We went right to Publix in Cocoa to get Subs.  My body was tired and hurting, I waited in the eating area while TJ and Ruth waited for about 30 minutes in the Sub line… apparently after the hurricane everyone wanted subs.  I felt like an emotional wreck ready to start crying at any moment.  I even prayed that I wouldn’t see anyone I knew in the store because I wasn’t ready yet, God is good and answered my silly prayer… also no offense it was me not you ;).

We are SOOOOOO grateful for the Dewitt family and a certain Dewitt family member who gave up her house so that we could have a place to live just our family.  They had been cleaning and getting it all ready for us to stay in.  When I saw Joyce… my dear dear friend, she hugged me and I just started crying… why?  I don’t know, because it had been two years, too long and I was tired and emotional and didn’t know how to handle myself.  When we got to our new living arrangement, we were overwhelmed with gratefulness, and feel so so so blessed to have a place for our family to live with furniture and linens and everything we need.  Some friends of friends also are letting us use their car, which will also be a blessing.

I didn’t know what to expect as far as how we would process coming back here.  We have been on such a mission, we have been working so hard to learn french, to make effort in relationships in another culture and language and it has all been hard, good but hard.  It all came to a halting stop, and then all of the sudden we are here in this really nice townhouse, living in the air-conditioning eating Publix subs and cherries.  Just in the first couple days it has been, I feel guilty in a way for enjoying all these nice things… it’s hard to put a finger on it.  I also have little fears that come up like, what if I enjoy living back here too much?  What if I don’t want to go back?  I feel guilty for wanting to be here and not in Senegal right now… I feel scared that I won’t want to go back.  My mind and body feels stretched between two worlds, and I don’t know yet how to fit them together.  In the middle of my fears and emotions that I don’t know how to process, I’m so grateful that we serve a faithful God and that he will continue to guide, that he will deal with my heart, discourage me and encourage me in ways that I need.

There were some immediate physical changes that have been obvious to us.  The air-conditioning, we are not sweating at night, my hair is not always frizzy from constant humidity (although it’s humid here, just not in the air-conditioning).  Inside our house it is. SO. QUIET, our ears are just starting to stop ringing.  Our living situation for at least the last year has been really hard, Senegalese incense and cigarette smoke always flowing up into our house from all the open windows (no air-con), constant yelling neighbors often till two in the morning.  ALL Day, every day constant reciting of Koranic verses from the orphanage that was right across from us.  Okay, back to here.  It is sooooooo clean everywhere!  Inside there is barely a speck of dust which makes sense the windows are not open all day every day.  My mind and heart feel so peaceful, I feel like I have time or maybe just the ability to stop and think, reflect.  In our new house here there is a balcony connected to our bedroom and behind there are just palm trees and green grass, I think it might be an old golf course.  It is so peaceful and a gift of a place for me to sit in the mornings and talk with God, reflect on who he is, what he has done for us, and what he is doing, a place to just think, to just be without the absolute business of life.  These things are all gifts I feel.  “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, with whom there is no change or shifting shadow.”  James 1:17