Wow, it is hard to believe that this is the last day of our trip! It seems like we have known our friends here forever, and I can’t believe that we are actually heading back to the US only a week after arriving in Jamaica. A lot has happened in this short amount of time!
After a VERY late night, we began our early morning packing up the remainder of our luggage and loading it in the van for the last time. We said goodbyes to our friends in Jamaica and headed out for our last trip through the narrow streets towards the airport. It was a bright, warm, spring morning as we made our last trip on the left side of the road – this time.
Arriving at the airport we unloaded all of our suitcases and headed inside. We were reminded that we were not yet in the US as I noted the absence of the usual touch screens where we could look up our flight information, check any details, and scan our own passports. We all checked in and went through the usual challenge of getting all of our 10 checked bags on the plane, while the agent kept close tabs on the scale to make sure we did not exceed the 50lb limit.
After clearing security we headed to the terminal. We stopped for breakfast in the food court – some enjoying their last Jamaican meal of chicken sandwiches and fries, and others electing a more traditional breakfast from Burger King. Finishing our meal we boarded the plane and took off. I’m not sure too much of what happened on the flight as I promptly fell asleep! I guess too many short nights catches up with you after a while. An hour and a half later we landed at the Ft. Lauderdale airport. Although we missed Jamaica, it was good to be back on US soil. We deplaned and headed for Immigration. This time we could use the short “resident” line! We collected our luggage – thankful that all of it arrived, and headed through customs. Our bags quickly cleared customs as we were not importing the alcohol, cigars, or drugs they were concerned about. J
Drew’s mom quickly arrived to pick us up in their Excursion. It was sure nice to be back to the land of organized traffic where everyone drove “real” vehicles and even stayed in their own lane! Since Drew’s church was just ending, we stopped by to see his family and meet some of the people there. Then it was off to the Forman’s house where we hung out for the rest of the afternoon. Leah and Celina decided to make dinner, so they headed off to the store with Drew while the rest of us took advantage of our opportunity to catch up on some sleep and wait for our pizza to arrive. After a lunch outside on the patio, some headed to the beach while others relaxed or cooked dinner as we waited for the Forman’s to arrive home.
That evening we all enjoyed Leah and Celina’s 5-star dinner, complete with Drew’s family joining us for the occasion. Then it was time for the long-neglected group pictures. Like most of our meetings, it took much longer than needed as the work was interjected with many “rabbit trails” and much laughter. We all gathered around for our final team meeting and shared some of our experiences from the trip. It was amazing to me how only a little over a week before I had not even met most of the people on the team, and yet how close we had become. During our adventure together we had learned to trust and rely on each other, and work together as a team. Through this effort, I rejoiced at what the Lord accomplished during the past week – both in the lives of the Jamaicans we worked with, and also His working in my own life. My faith we certainly strengthened as I saw Him provide for my needs and work through the weaknesses in my life. To God be the glory!
As we finished we all agreed that we want to return to Jamaica – same place, same team.