Thursday, August 30, 2012

Leaving on a Jet Plane


     We have a departure date.  The fine folks at British Air, after being provided with sufficient remuneration, have agreed to fly us to Nairobi, Kenya.  They have even agreed to let us spend a few hours in the lovely international terminal of Heathrow Airport free of charge.  So, on October 2, we will depart from Dulles Airport at 6:30 pm, arrive at Heathrow at 6:30 am, depart Heathrow around 10:30 am, and finally land in Nairobi around 9:00 pm on October 3.

     Now that we have our departure date, I am reminded of the recurring cycle that always occurred during college.  I would spend most of the summer looking forward to returning to campus, and  I would arrive on campus to enjoy the bucolic splendor that is Hampden-Sydney.  During this period I was carefree and the world was a wonderful, leisurely place.  Then I would go home for Thanksgiving, and it was upon my return that the sense of dread would descend.  As I drove through the gates of this campus that just 72 hours before had been a sanctuary of peace and contentment, I realized that in just a few short weeks exams would be upon me.  I could think of nothing but the papers that had to be written, the books that had to be read, and the questions which must be answered - sometimes correctly, in order to get through the semester.  (Caveat: This analogy in no way pertains to Joy, or those of her remarkable ilk, who began preparing for the end of the semester on the second day of the semester).

     Today, I feel like exams are approaching, and I will be pulling many all nighters to get to October 2.  Just as one tends to spend a few minutes on the eve of exams wondering where the carefree days of fall went, I have spent some time thinking back to my early days in law.  Today, I tried my last case in the John Marshall Courts Building.  As a young man, it was my success or failure in this building which was the standard by which I judged myself.  I still remember the afternoon I successfully argued a Motion to Suppress before Judge Duling.  Upon returning to the office that afternoon, I declared that I had “arrived” as an attorney.  In hindsight, I realize that the motion was won, not on account of my brilliant legal argument (for I missed the key issue entirely) but because Judge Duling saw the real defect in the Commonwealth’s case.  In essence, my contribution to the case was just getting it on the docket and showing up on time.

     As we are just about a month away from leaving for Kenya, that memory gives me great hope. It reassures me that at this point, all I really need to do is get on the plane.  God will do the rest. Just like those early days practicing law, if left to my own devices I’m likely to miss the issue entirely. 

     As we prepare to leave, Joy and I would ask for your prayers that we remain strong as we finish packing up our home and saying farewell to our friends and family.  While we know that the excitement of arrival will be soon be upon us, we must not let the fear of departure paralyze us. Also, we are thankful for the support, through prayer, donations and positive affirmation, which we have received.  Joy and I truly feel that we are being sent to Tenwek Hospital by our friends, old and new, who share this call to help the women and children of Kenya.

      Joy and I have been privileged to meet with many people throughout the summer and share our hopes for this ministry in Africa.  We have been amazed at the power of the Lord as reflected in so many lives. I was thinking about a family who has experienced a terrible loss. When we met with them, I was able to hear the sorrow in their voices when certain subjects were discussed.  However, what I also heard and saw was a deep and abiding faith in the mercy of Jesus Christ.  Please pray that Joy and I can have that same presence in our lives.  Our friends know that Jesus is with them as they struggle with their loss each day. Spending time with them gave me great reassurance that this same God is with us too--right now in the packing and leaving, and on the plane as we go, and is waiting for us in the place where he has called us.