April 12, 2013

Day #12 = Returning Home

Gateway 2013 HANDS Team:

Our last evening at the Nehemiah Center was short.  After packing and preparing, we had only a few hours of sleep before loading up the bus at 3:45 am.  We said goodbye to Peter, who had come to help us load up the bus, and then our bus driver, Oscar took us to the airport.


Our check in was surprisingly easy and smooth, and soon we were drinking coffee, eating muffins and waiting to board the plane.  Our flight was shorter than expected, with some excitement in landing … There was a medical emergency on the plane and paramedics were waiting when we landed to come aboard and take care of a passenger.  We hope and pray that everything is ok with the gentleman they were helping!

The lines for customs in Houston were unbelievably LONG … it was only after about an hour of waiting that we found out we had gone through the wrong line and could have accessed a MUCH quicker line since we were “in transit”.  In the end, it was ok … it helped to pass our layover time in Houston.  The remaining time was spent enjoying lunch and perusing the stores of the airport.

The final flight home felt long, since we were all ready to see our families and be on Alberta soil again … but the students continued to have positive attitudes and do so well together! 

We landed early, got all of our luggage, and headed through customs to meet our families!  We received a warm welcome that included signs, hugs, love and laughter.  We definitely felt loved! 

Thanks so much to EVERYONE who supported our team, from the very beginning to the end of this experience.  Your words of encouragement, your prayers, your financial support, your help in planning and carrying out fundraising events, your help in bringing in supplies and preparing items for our trip, your letters of encouragement throughout the trip …. ALL of you have helped to make this such a wonderful experience … one that we have learned through, that we have grown through, and that we were blessed to be a part of!  Please continue to pray for our team as we now grapple with “re-entering” this world of ours … questioning how we live, what we make priority in our lives, and how we seek to make this short-term mission trip have a long-term impact in each of our lives. 

On behalf of the Gateway 2013 HANDS Team,




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