We are here! We are here! Holy, moly, the outpouring of support has blown us away. We feel so loved and spoiled! Our friends and family rock. So many Viber messages, so much facebook encouragement, so many emails. Thank you all for loving us so well.
Here's how it went down.
We said goodbye to my family and it was p-a-i-n-f-u-l. Picture Addy clinging to the window, sobbing as our family walked away and you'll be able to picture the level of sadness. Our family has so fully released us to this and we know it is hard. I can't imagine how we could even do this if they didn't let us know that they are behind this 100%. Thank you dear fam for letting us go. WE LOVE YOU!
We were feeling rather pathetic, so we hurried off to distract ourselves with a long security line. That line made us want to poke our eyes out, so the other sadness was forgotten for a bit. It felt like all we had ever known was that line and our 4 roller carry-ons + 5 backpacks + 1 guitar. All time stopped and we were lost in the vortex of shoe-taking off, pocket-emptying, luggage-heaving, and luggage-scanning and re-scanning. Did I mention the miracle that we got to check all 12 bags ALL THE WAY to Kiev, and 7 of them were a couple pounds overweight and they made us pay nothing? Oh the cheering that rang out at the American Airlines ticket counter!! Did I also mention that TSA officers have a knack for opening the bags stuffed with loose legos? Yep, they chose the lego bags without fail. Hehe…it was like an explosion of legos every time. Annnnnd it never stopped being funny.
This flight was pretty uneventful. As we were heading down the runway I explained to Havalah that we have to go really fast before we go up in the air. She said “Oh, when we start to drive really fast will our hair blow back?” 🙂
TSA really had a ball with our luggage this time. They must have scanned Ezra's backpack 4 times. I think the nerf gun bullets were the culprit…or maybe the scary shark toy? I guess it will always remain a mystery.
We ate some yummy food, took a train, changed terminals and we were off again!
This was the biggie. We were flying from Chicago to Istanbul and it was a 10 hour doozy. The kids did AWESOME!!!! They really couldn't have done better. We watched movies, ate, and slept. I won't bore you with all the details…
Before we arrived in Istanbul we explained to the kids that when we got off that plane we wouldn't be in America anymore, so they needed to expect things to be different. The first sign of different was when we went through the security check. O.M.G. As Havalah went through the x-ray scanner deal-io the TSA officer (a woman) grabbed Havalah and started smothering her face with kisses. HAHAHA!!! It was so awesome. She was going on and on in Turkish, grabbing, kissing, talking, more kissing. At that point we were certain we weren't in Oregon anymore. Seth got the same smooch treatment and we were on our way. I'm not sure they took note of anything in our bags, they were just too enamored with our kids. I loved every second of it, and Hava and Seth didn't seem to mind it much either. 🙂
This flight was less than 2 hours long, so I don't have much to say about it. Quick and painless, and before we knew it we were in Kiev! The feelings as we touched down in Ukraine were like nothing I've ever felt before. Jed and I met eyes and were like “Holy cow. We did it. We made it. God did this. After 3 years of dreaming, we are here- with our kids. WOW.”
Once we got down to baggage claim in Kiev we were in good hands. We looked out the glass doors and could see a group of our dear friends from the Kiev Vineyard waiting for us, waving and smiling. YES!!! All we had to do was get our bags from the carousel to the door and then we had many hands hugging us and helping us. Praise God for the Body of Christ. Praise God for family in Kiev. We love them so much!
Want to know the biggest miracle of all? ALL 12 BAGS MADE IT TO KIEV. Jed and I were literally whooping with joy when we grabbed the last bag off the carousel. It was definitely a moment to celebrate. 🙂
Our friends helped us to the van we had hired and we were off on the road to Zhitomir! All the kids except Seth fell asleep on the two hour drive, so that was easy peasy. When we arrived at the house our friend Oleg was waiting with keys to let us right in. He even brought food for breakfast this morning! All our friends here made us feel so loved and welcome. Then we logged online and all our friends from the US were cheering us on like crazy! It's like one ginormous hug fest and we are loving every second of it. Thank you, dear ones, both near and far.
All in all, the travel couldn't have been more perfect. Tomorrow I'll show you pictures of the house, so stay tuned! Woot! 😉
We are so unbelievable thankful that God has brought us this far. He has covered every single detail. It just goes to show you that the children we've come to serve are so stinkin' dear to His heart. He will stop at nothing to have His way. He will stop at nothing to bring light into darkness. All of this is for His glory. He continues to pave the way and we simply can not wait to see what He has in store next. He is changing the atmosphere and softening hearts. He is opening eyes and we are humbled to be His hands and feet in this place.
To God be ALL the glory for the great, amazing, fantastic, unbelievably good things He has done.