One of the hardest parts of living overseas is being so far away from family. But God knows how hard it is, and He puts our SITAG family around us to support us and to sweeten life a little bit.
This afternoon, we had to say goodbye to the men and women who came to serve us during Conference. We are so grateful for them! They were super flexible with the delay that Cyclone Winston handed them when it attacked Fiji. We loaded up the truck and one of the vehicles and headed off to the airport.
Team SITAG had quite a few goals for the afternoon. One goal was to get this team of volunteers checked in and on the plane. That goal was hampered by the time it took for the guy behind the counter to hand write each boarding pass. We've never seen that happen before, but this team got to move very slowly through the line while they patiently waited.
One of our goals was to have fun during our wait on top of the airport.
Another goal was to pick up a colleague who finished a New Testament a few years ago and now lives in Papua New Guinea.
But he comes back from time to time to work with a language cluster project, and we always enjoy spending time with him when he is in the Solomon Islands.
Watching my kids interact with their younger SITAG "cousins" brings me such joy. I really appreciate our colleagues' attitudes about treating each other like extended family.
We whooped and hollered when our colleague stepped off the plane, then we hustled down to arrivals to welcome him. And to check on the departing team, who was still waiting in line.
Another one of our goals was to continue school work, even though we weren't at home. I was super proud of Olivia who was so very diligent in completing the work she brought with her, even though her friends were playing around her.
Another colleague of ours was supposed to arrive from Fiji over the weekend, but he got stuck in Fiji because of the cyclone. When we called the control tower about his arrival time, we were told he would arrive at 1:45. We thought we would just stick around for a few more minutes and pick him up, too.
Sarah makes everything around her beautiful, even her friend's hair. I love watching my kids blossom! When we called the control tower again, they said the plane from Fiji would arrive at 2:10, so we decided to hang around a little bit longer.
The SITAG men are such good daddies and husbands and friends. Whenever Aaron is away from the family, several of the guys always make sure that we are doing well and offer to make the trip to the wharf in the middle of the night so I don't have to go down. I feel honored to be a part of a group whose members are full of godly integrity and have servant hearts.
When 2:30 rolled around, some of us decided to go back down and say goodbye to the departing team who had finally made it through the line. But we found they were no longer in the waiting room and had already gone through customs. Oh, we had some tears, then. The men and women who taught our kids for a week really connected and made some strong relationships, and our kids wanted to be able to say goodbye. Olivia especially struggled, and I was super proud of her for her mature response in the face of disappointment.
When we discovered that the colleague for whom we were waiting wouldn't arrive until 3:30, we decided to wait until the Illinois team boarded so we could wave and holler and send them off right. Then we called another colleague to pick up the late arrival, and we headed back to SITAG. The last goal on our list was for the kids in the truck to stop for ice cream on the way home while the moms stopped by market and a few other stores for groceries. Today was very productive!