Sunday evening we packed into the van with banners and balloons and very excited siblings (and parents). Upon approaching the airport, we saw a plane beginning it's decent. "That's him, that's him!" Payton cried. We quickly found a parking spot and with only one balloon casualty, we raced to the outside windows to watch his plane touchdown. We were there only a minute or two before we saw it come speeding down the runway, decelerating to bring our team safely back to us. We anxiously watched as the passengers began to file out. Families, businessmen, more families and small groups, the pilot... wait what? The Pilot? Where is our group? We head inside to find out if this was in fact their plane. Upon pestering a disembarked passenger, we discover that yes, this was definitely the plane with "the kids returning from the orphanage." Apparently when the airline stewardess saw the team boarding the plane in their matching shirts, she asked a few questions, and then made an announcement about them over the speaker on the plane. They received a round of grateful applause. We continue our vigil, waiting for familiar faces to appear in the doorway when... "Here they come!" First was Ben, then it was Beau, and then TRISTAN! Oh it was good to see that guys smiling face. And it was smiling, from ear to ear actually. I think immediately, all was right in Payton's world. Her biggest brother was home safe and sound. We gave grateful hugs all around, heard quick little tidbits from a few, and grabbed up bags. We then quickly said our good byes to the others and whisked him off to home.
Bridget and her family, and Beau came to our house for a little late night partying. The kids had a ball lighting off bottle rockets and sparklers. They were at least last years leftovers but it was what the budget could afford this year. We had some snacks and a bonfire and got to hear some of the highlights for Bridget and Tristan. The theme seemed to be the kids. I was pleasantly surprised to here that for Tristan those kiddos had found their way straight to his heart especially a little guy named Augustine. He even mentioned the "A" word again (adoption). It was very emotional for him to leave his new friends. He found that his language studies paid off. He was able to communicate fairly well, especially with the kids. He is ready to get back to studying it too. The work projects went well. They accomplished a lot for them. They were able to clean out the drain ditch installed last year, build a sidewalk for a new house being added for more orphans, and clean the house up. He came home with a desire to become a bigger giver. He realized how a simple gift given from the heart can be everything to the receiver.
To say that this trip had a huge impact on his life isn't quite enough. To say the kids left lasting fingerprints on his heart would be true but, still not enough. To say that God moved in his life, while huge and true still does not capture the feeling of his heart. I think to sum it up in one statement that encapsulates it all he would and did say "I am SO going back!"