It is incredible be here for the first time with my entire family. Shepherds historically are nomadic, and I suppose that characteristic has helped us arrive at this place. Somehow I breath easier when I am here, and after watching my wife and children in this place for a day… I can tell you we all know that this land is now our home.
We boarded our flights today with feelings of peace and excitement. Aleksandra was in full blown chatterbox mode as she watched the earth fall away and greeted the clouds. Caleb had pointers for everyone on ear-popping techniques and flight seat operations (tray-tables, armrests, earphone jacks, lights, air), and Sterling was an absolute riot, making us all laugh while we watched her laugh and squeal during takeoffs and landings. The bumpier the ride… the more she loved it. The only times she cried was when the flights were smooth (and boring). That child demands to always be on the move!
By our second flight… I had two cool-cat veterans. They kicked back and joined me with my love for flight. We spoke some about the 10 days to come. I thanked them for being willing to embrace this life that we chase, and I gave them my expectations for the week. Keep your eyes open, keep your minds sharp, listen for deep truths, be respectful, be flexible, and most of all… do everything with love. The plane held us with its’ deep rumble and carried our dreams across the gulf. Several diapers, bathroom breaks, head bobbing naps, and mild head-thumpings later… the seatbelt sign was lit and our wheels met the tarmac. Welcome to Guatemala!
We moved smoothly and quickly through immigrations and customs, picked up our bags, and made our way outside of the airport where Edgar was waiting to take us to Mimi’s House. It was amazing catching up with him… like we had never left. We carried our bags into Mimi’s House and immediately set out on our first excursion. It was time to pick 9 of the girls up from school. So the five of us loaded up with Fontaine and made 3 right turns through the city and then pulled into the compound. We listened as the monitor called through the intercom and out bounded the girls, dog-piling us with greetings, beaming out smiles, and burying us with hugs.
We returned to Mimi’s House where I took the kids and set up home for the next couple of weeks. Kellie was off with Paula on an errand run and quick tour of the city. Welcome to the Shepherd Apartment at Mimi’s House! The five of us have our run of 8 beds, a full bathroom, and an incredible porch with a view of volcano Pacaya (active volcano Pacaya).
Outside of our window… the girls laughed and played with Caleb and Aleksandra. Aleks ran up to me and said breathlessly, “Dad… I don’t know how, but this place is awesomer than you even said it would be!” She told me about all her new friends, calling them by name. Yes, we are at home.
Sterling certainly felt comfortably at home! She stood still with rapt anticipation as I unpacked and assembled her sleeping pad for the week. As soon as the pink blanket was in sight… she was reaching for sleep. This evening she has been a miniature socialite, going from arm to arm, sharing smiles, giggles… and even snot drool. Our story of adoption rings out loud and true in this place. We feel our souls deeper entwine with each return.
I spent the evening on the porch sharing plans and vision with Fontaine and Edgar. It is powerful how God has drawn our stories together in this place. We come from different parts of the globe to find ourselves brought together with common belief.
There is peace that is greater than the unknown. There is contentment that reaches beyond comfort and convenience. There is strength that is found in something bigger than ourselves.
Over the coming days we will continue to cast vision on our future, and we will work with the people in Labor de Falle to construct 2 homes, dig and set up a tilapia pond, and share a day with the children of the local school.
I look forward to sharing our experiences with you each day.