This morning, Brad took Geoff and Dana to a church to play. I, on the other hand, hung out at the hotel with my pup Millie, repacked my suitcase and duffle just to make sure everything was in its rightful place, and wondered what it would be like to travel to Guatemala as a participant rather than an employee. As part of my “farewell” from the organization, Buckner is paying for my trip – so I still get to travel back to Guatemala, visit again the orphanages there, see once again the incredible staff. I get to travel again with Geoff and Dana. I get to see Katie on her first-ever mission trip. I get to finally travel to somewhere other than Texas towns with my “brotha,” Jeff Jones. And I still get to experience ministry with my friend Courtney, who is journeying with me.
We filled up on Jake’s hamburgers, said our “goodbyes” to Brad, Ryan and the pups, and drove – slowly – to DFW (thank you Dallas Cowboys for allowing us to experience your nasty traffic). There, we met Bonnie Hilton and Carmen Brown, two awesome gals from the radio world who were joining us. Steven Patterson was also there, the lead singer of Branch and worship pastor at a church in Athens, Texas. Ben Day and his equipment were waiting – he was to join me to take video and photos for Shoes for Orphan Souls, Geoff Moore, and Branch. My departure from Buckner meant someone else would be working with him on this trip – and I couldn’t have asked for a bigger blessing than to have Jenny Pope join the team. She is the publications editor for Buckner, and getting to spend a few days with her is a special treat! And John Adams, our trip leader and NOT the president, is waiting. He is an awesome guy with such a heart for the poor – and he’s got an amazingly dry wit. My kind of guy.
The plane ride was easy, and the sunset outside our window as we flew held new meaning for me. Only a week before, before the praying and the downsizing, Courtney had said, “I don’t know why I feel this way, but I feel like this trip is going to be your sunset with Buckner.” The flaming red, rich blue, and bright orange in the sky brought tears to my eyes – they were all the colors used in our “Go. Be. Do.” branding. I pray the sunset is only for this chapter – I hope Buckner remains a part of my life in some way.
Hello Guatemala. I’ve arrived.