I am back in Uganda after 3.5 weeks in the U.S. what a trip! My husband and I with our 2 kids and 23 soccer players along with frankly 1 good chaperone and 4 other adults. It was quite the experience travelling from Uganda to Dubai, Dubai to Chicago where we had to go through customs, get all the bags, go to a different airline and check in and then RUN to our next flight to Detroit. We had an amazing experience in Detroit. I was overwhelmed by the amazing host families and I was less than excited about being a true Soccer Mom driving a 15 passenger van around the entire Detroit/Rochester/Canton/Westland areas. But my rule in my van was I am playing my praise music and you can put your earbuds in and listen to yours if you don’t like it. And I cannot say enough how much I love using GPS in the Good Ole United States. In Uganda you use it and you get taken to places no one should go and the lady pronounces every street (if you could call them streets) wrong. But in America they even reroute you if there is construction or delays happening!
I was brought to tears of joy when I was able to meet so many of Matt’s contacts in Michigan who were amazing hosts. We had some that were mutual friends and one that was my contact but overwhelmingly they were families that Matt had known through church and other childhood events. It was more emotional because without going into any specifics it wasn’t the best time connecting with Matt’s family. We did get to connect with a few but there are a lot going on and something to really be praying for. I saw with my own eyes people who have impacted my husband’s life from an early very critical point in his life and help shape him into the man he is today. I got to see families that stepped up and took him in as their own son, coaches that inspired him to love the game of soccer, churches that helped him learn about God and come to follow Jesus Christ. I was so blessed to witness those very people show up again at a critical time in our lives and again step up and show encouragement and love. God was present on this trip in many ways and for that I am thankful.
We then took a flight to Minneapolis and as we were in the airport I was sending messages back and forth with a missionary friend who was trying to get me a place for myself and my two littles to stay while we were in Minneapolis. God again is amazing (no surprise there) but she was able to find a great former missionary couple who lived just minutes from all the activities that were being done in the tournament. They were such a lovely couple and showed a genuine interest in investing in our lives even for the short time we were there.
My parents came and got us driving with a less than reliable vehicle all the way from Beatrice, Ne to Minneapolis and were able to take us home with them so we could have much needed family time. The Lord looked out for us and allowed the car to make it home. I was able to spend time with my parents and my grandpa along with visiting with some dear people who I would have otherwise not had the time to visit with. Matt was a trooper as he managed 3 groups of kids because two players who were older played as a guest on a team and then our only girl also played as a guest on a team. He had to get people where they needed to go and had to rely on the other adults on the trip to also help out (some did better than others- that’s a whole ‘nother story :p) I missed being his support and realized we really do make a great team.
The team travelled by bus to meet us in Omaha and again amazing people in our lives stepped up to the challenge of hosting us. I put the role of soccer mom on again as I drove a 15 passenger van and my mom also was the soccer grandma helping with transportation. This time it was a little bitter sweet as I was able to share my story of how missions is for a mom and wife for the last 10 years and how life has changed over that time in Beatrice. I was reminded of the hard times and the great times and the amazing work that God has done and continues to do. I missed out on sharing and being a part of what I would have called my childhood church as Matt took the soccer boys there, but also felt a bit of a disconnect with what that church now means to me as we have spent so much time away. It is a challenge to feel like anything is home when you live away and people move and things just change.
However, when we flew to Dallas a place I have never called home it actually felt very much like home. I got to stay with a wonderful family that I knew in Michigan and the church family there at Skillman truly get what it means to be the body of Christ they embraced our team, they hosted us in their youth room, they drove us around to different activities, they let us share our stories and spent time listening to us. Even when things didn’t go as planned they helped us process things and gave us encouragement and advice. It was the perfect way to end an amazing trip through the United States.
Would I do it all again…maybe ha! This trip was truly unique and I honestly believe it was ordained to happen when it did every single location, person and time all lined up just as God wanted it to. I also believe that it was more than just myself that was impacted and for that I am truly grateful. God works in amazing, mysterious ways and for that I am humbled and in awe of just how amazing our God is.
Thank you to all the amazing people who stepped up to God’s calling and made this trip a success. I hope you were blessed through your time with us and keep praying for us and the people who you met along the way. For those of you we didn’t get to see but sent us a gift or just followed our journey thank you for your prayers and your gifts. God Bless you!!!