January 15th, after traveling for 24 hours we arrived in Lusaka, Zambia. The flights went pretty well and we were actually able to sleep quite a bit this time. As we were about to board the plane in Washington DC the woman standing at the gate pulled me aside and said your bag is too heavy so we will have to put it below and check it all the way to Lusaka. This kind of caught us off guard so Kevin said he would stay and take care of that and for me and Hannah to go ahead and get on the plane. We didn't have any identification on it and it was not locked. It was a carry on so we didn't really need that. The woman was able to at least put zipties on it. Kevin thought to get my medicine out of the outside pocket but that was it. As we sat on the plane with my piece of luggage being stored below we began to think about all that was in that bag. My purse with credit cards and money, all my jewelry, and my camera. We just began to pray because that would have been such a pain to have to worry about getting that all replaced. Sure enough when we arrived that bag was missing. Oh, we hardly slept that night worrying about that suitcase. The next morning Kevin went straight away to get our internet set up and as soon as it was he looked online to see if anyone was using our credit cards and thankfully they were not. The next flight from SA came in at 12:45 that next day. When Kevin got there they were taking it off the belt and handed it right to Kevin. Praise God the zipties were still on it and nothing was stolen.
We were greeted by several in our mission family when we finally came out! It was so good to see everyone in person again after being apart from them for 6 months. When they brought us home we found some food in our refrigerator and roses on the table. What a blessing! Then for the next several nights friends had us in their homes for dinner. It was such a blessing at the end of the day after unpacking and cleaning to not have to think about cooking dinner.
It's amazing to me how dirty a house can get in 6 months even though the windows are shut! A friend even came over and swept and cleaned the floors before we got here. So for a week I did spring cleaning. I washed all the curtains, vacummed the mattresses, cleaned off all the shelves, unpacked our suitcases and boxes. I had to even wipe off every video and book before I put them back on the shelves. We were quite sore at the end of each day!
Kevin has been busy getting everything set back up like garbage pick up, internet and phone turned on, buying electricity, replacing many of our security lights which had gone out, getting interpol so we can travel to Malawi next week, taking care of our dog who had several bad sores on her, making contracts for our workers, planning for 40/40 coming up in April, and still doing his job as CSL. Our pump had broken while we were gone so he fixed that. Then our freezer went out almost ruining 40 lbs of meat but thankfully we were able to get that fixed as well.
Hannah started back to school this past week. She quickly unpacked her room and got things set like she wanted. She has enjoyed reconnecting with friends since being back. She has also been able to babysit twice which she really missed while we were in America.
We went to church on Sunday and it was so good to worship with Zambians and to sing and dance once again. We did notice very quickly how rusty our language is. I had trouble remembering some of the songs and hearing what was being said. So that is a big prayer request.
I was able to go to the Ng'ombe compound one afternoon and visit with my friends and see all that they had done on the school while I was gone. We sat and talked for two hours. It was so much fun to catch up with them. I'm looking forward to begin doing ministry out there once again after we get back from Malawi. It was upsetting when they told me of several that I knew who had died while I was gone.
The first week back was filled with some culture shock, sleepless nights, hard work during the days, and achy bodies at night. It seemed to take us longer this time to adjust to being back and get over jetlag. However, we are now on the other side of that and we are sleeping well at night, our house is unpacked(pretty much), and it is clean. We appreciate so much all who have prayed for us this last week and a half. I know it was your prayers that carried us through each day especially in the beginning.