“A blessing” is the best way I could describe the last two and a half years of my life: traveling the world, visiting new countries, partnering with missionaries, meeting new families and making lifelong friends. Of all the new experiences, languages, foods and customs, my favorite cultural norm I’ve discovered to be quite common and long to bring with me in life is the depth of family relationships.
Whether you’re in Central America, South America, Africa or Southeast Asia, families are close. Like physically very close with multiple generations often residing in the same house for years. Not out of obligation but out of love, respect, honor and genuine desire to support and provide for their family: the older generations and the younger.
Though my own family is spread out across several states and I haven’t been “home” in some time, I cherish every opportunity to reunite with my sister and brother-in-law, my mom, and extended family. And when the opportunity arises, it is a delight to fellowship with close friends who have become family over the years through church, college, work and my World Race.
So how great is it that the World Race continues to invite families to be a part of our journey on 11n11 and Gap Year through Parent Vision Trips (PVT). Over a year and a half ago, July 2015, my mom flew due-south to visit me on my World Race for our squad’s PVT in Quito, Ecuador. Read about how God used this week together on the mission field to transform my heart and our relationship here!
So what more could a girl ask for than to have her mom travel halfway around the globe to come to a second PVT, this time in Swaziland. When I invited her she didn’t miss a beat to say, “yes!” Passport ready and bags strategically packed with letters, Sour Patch Kids, tea and a few clothes, she experienced one of the World Race’s classic travel days: a little over 48 hours with layovers in multiple states and countries. Thank goodness for new friends with mom’s of other racers to accompany her journey. And in the midst of a torrential downpour in Mbabane, Swaziland, my mom and I were once again reunited. We might have been drenched to our knees in rain, but were soaked to our soul with joy.
The following days passed quickly but were filled with amazing food, long conversations, great coffee and ministry with our Adventures in Missions base in Swaziland. We spent days playing and loving on children and visited a several homes to pray for families and bring them food. On our day off we were able to explore and experience the natural beauty that engulfs the country of Swaziland, encountering elephants, rhinos and lions (oh my!).
As I near the end of this nine month journey, future post-race plans are still undefined, but what does remain clear is the deep love and gratitude for my mother and delight in our adventures, stateside and internationally. Praise the Lord for moms.
Stay tuned, updates on my time in Cambodia are coming soon!