“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble” (2 Corinthians 1:3, 4)
I am home. I have lots to process, as would be expected after such a trip. I have seen and experienced much on mission trips in the past, and this was no exception. It may take many months to emotionally process the journey. The trip home was long…wake up in Athens, take rental cars back, get on bus to airport, check in with group of twelve, through security without incident, board the plane. Eleven hours in the air. Limited leg room, at least for my six foot frame I felt limited. 😳 Arrive in Philadelphia. Upon landing, we are in a thunderstorm. We have to wait to deplane. It is ok though, at least we can stand up and stretch.
Our connecting flight is cancelled which would have taken us to Washington D.C. Our cars are in D.C. No flights available for 2 more days. Rental car will be over $1200 due to needing one way vehicles to accommodate 12 people. We are travel tired. We opt to take cabs to the train station. This still will cost over $800 after incorporating taxis to and from train station. Joe talks to the cab driver who gives us a deal on 2 taxi vans from Philadelphia to Washington D.C. It is the least expensive option. We take it.
We get to D.C. Now 10pm. We have traveled for over 22 hours. We check into hotel and sleep. Up the next morning at 4am east coast time. 11am Greece time. 11am to my body time. I get up and check in on news sites, BBC, Al Jazeera, American news, Facebook and local Greenville news. The most alarming news I get is on Facebook. While I was away, two of my patients have finally found their victory against cancer and have gone to heaven. I am breathless with grief and joy all at once.
They were both taken too soon. Too young. Too much life they wanted to live. They both told me before I left to “Be safe, come back home, we need you here!” I feel as though I failed them in some way. This sounds ridiculous I know, but my selfish side wanted to see them at least once more. We knew the prognosis, the battle that lay ahead. A tough road they were on. They suffered a challenging fight. But the victory was theirs. They are eternally healed. Eternally perfect and eternally joyful. They both had committed their lives and their journey with illness to the glory of God and although they knew they did not have years of life ahead, they never stopped praising God for His love for them, His presence in their lives. They were the epitome of grace. The picture of true beauty. My heart melted with love for them. I know I will see them again one day.
While I walked in Greece, they struggled with illness and the transition out of their earthly bodies here at home. I was trying to reach the Unreached, and they were doing the same here. Their lives are a testimony for God and surely someone here saw their testimony and will be forever changed by them.
God bless their families and loved ones. God bless their souls. They were among the strongest of women I have known. They faced the challenge of each day with immeasurable determination and they defied the odds in every way imaginable. They never let cancer steal their joy or their love for God. The clung to Him through the storm and He delivered. Like He always does. Praise His Holy Name.