Planning is fun. Leaving is hard. Over the past few months I have managed to compartmentalize this trip into a neat box sitting on the shelf. Every day I knew it was getting one step closer, but still it remained an adventure yet to be fully realized. About a week ago, reality began to set in, and my emotions went into full overdrive. How in the world could I leave my family to travel to a third world country. Would they be ok? Would I be ok? So many things could go wrong. Before long I was planning my own funeral, and the reason I was going in the first place was left far behind.

Why do I do that to myself? The what-ifs consume the present and strip my life of all the joy God intends. Is my need for drama so significant that I have to invent it out of thin air?

Last night was a tough night. My bags were packed, last-minute preparations made, and all I needed was to get a good night’s sleep which was easier said than done. 11pm, 12am, 1am…the hours ticked on with no apparent relief in sight. 7am finally arrived. Saying goodbye to the girls and to Justin was difficult. Both girls not wanting me to leave…Audrey’s tears and Anna’s “I love you, Mom,” ringing in my ears. 12 days seemed like an eternity. By the time Justin dropped me off at the church with a tearful goodbye (from me), I was a walking zombie just trying to keep my breakfast down! A prayer and send-off picture was all that was left before heading to the airport.

Thankfully, once the journey really began, my nerves settled down, and I actually started to enjoy myself. Now, two flights later and with a few Dramamine-induced hours of rest, I am sitting on the plane in Brussels waiting to travel another 8 hours to Entebbe, Uganda!

I don’t know what God has in store for me on this journey, but I do know that I am grateful for every bit of it, even the pain of leaving. Stepping out in faith has a way of making everything a bit brighter and the most important things more clear.

So thank you for your prayers! I have already had the most fascinating conversations with my team members and with a Ugandan man I sat next to on the way to Brussels. It’s amazing how God gives us exactly what we need, when we need it!

The journey has begun, and I am ready!