The Sun Is the Same, In a Relative Way…

…but we are older.

This was us one year ago today – younger, tired after being up until 2am and then having to get up VERY early. Freshly dropped off at Sky Harbor International Airport (I defy anyone to name a more beautiful airport name) in Phoenix to begin our long-awaited departure towards a new life in Indonesia.

That’s twelve pieces of luggage, constituting a fair percentage of our worldly goods, and the only goods we were taking with us from the US to our new home in Indonesia. Minor miracle – Gena had bought name tags from Walmart the day before. It was still Covid-paranoia and a Walmart employee delivered them to our car. It was a ten pack. Yet, miraculously, there ended up being a name tag for all 12 of our bags.

Obviously, this was all meant to be, right?!

Shortly after this photo we were checking in at American Airlines. The lady helping us was curious about our destination of Jakarta, Indonesia. I told her we were moving to Indonesia, which she thought was quite unusual (not inaccurate!). Then I mentioned these 12 bags were the only belongings we were taking with us. Her eyes nearly bugged out of her head. Honey, I take 12 suitcases for a weekend in Vegas!

A good laugh. An excited and blessedly uneventful flight to San Francisco where our luggage would be transferred to a Japan Airlines flight to Tokyo. When I reached the check-in counter at the gate, the woman politely informed me we could not board the flight. Why not, I inquired. Because our PCR Covid tests weren’t recent enough. But Indonesia’s policy states the test needs to be completed within 72-hours before our flight takes off, and we had taken ours about 68 hours earlier.

Hence the problem. Literally as we were flying to San Francisco, Indonesia’s policy changed from 72-hours before departure to 48-hours before departure.

There wasn’t enough time to get the results of a PCR test at the airport, and we’d have to reschedule for another flight. She and another employee hurriedly retrieved our bags from off the plane, and there we sat at San Francisco International Airport with a pile of 12 bags, exhausted already and unsure of what to do next.

We know a little more than we did back then about travel and flexibility and adaptability. It was a very stressful day not knowing what we were allowed to do, what being good stewards looked like in that situation, and many other anxiety-inducing questions alongside. God is good. We survived, and four days later were winging towards Indonesia.

Thanks to all of you for enabling us not just to reach Indonesia, but to celebrate our one-year anniversary here in just a few days! Our lives have changed in unimaginable ways, and we are blessed to be here supported by the Holy Spirit working through faithful individuals and families and congregations. Thank you for your steadfastness that allows us to focus on adapting to life here. I may be biased, but I think God is really good and we’re doing really well because of that!

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