Well, today was the day! After nearly 3 weeks in China, my boy...my baby boy...was coming home.
I couldn't wait!
I spent the day trying to keep busy...cleaning house, cooking, etc. We decided that, since his flight got in at 7:30, we would just plan to pick him up at the airport...and grab something to eat on the way home. As a family. Holly was getting off work at 7, and Aaron-the-son-in-law was picking her up...and, of course, we had Joshua with us. We were all going to meet at the airport.
Except that I had been trying to track the plane from Dallas, and it wasn't letting me...and then when it finally, FINALLY updated...right as we took the exit to the airport...it said, "flight delayed." And, just like that, we had almost an hour to kill.
We decided to go find a Sonic, and the one that was the "closest," and I'm using that term loosely, because it was a good 20 minutes away...was the one we had joked about FOR YEARS as being the slowest Sonic in Arkansas.
But we got our food quickly, and it was hot...and we took off back to the airport. It was raining, so Jim dropped Joshua and me off at the door, and went to park. Eventually, we all met upstairs, and got to be there when Clark walked toward baggage claim.
I was SO HAPPY to see him! He is a bag of bones, but he looks good! He said they walked a minimum of 20,000 steps a day! He said that he ate well...and that there wasn't anything that he just felt was too gross to eat. He gave us a list of things he tried, like seaweed and bamboo and "some sort of fish." He said that he ate chicken BONES, because their host chopped them up and put them in a stew with the rest of the chicken.
His comment? "Not that bad."
He talked about the pollution there, and said he couldn't wait to get back to the "natural State," and breath some clean, fresh air. They also flew to Beijing on the last 2 days of the trip, and their group got to go to the Great Wall of China. The pictures he sent were GORGEOUS.
What an amazing experience!
He talked of the lives that were reached for Christ...the seeds that were planted...the relationships that were formed...the encouragement they offered to the missionaries there. He said it was a very fruitful trip.
Now, he is telling us all about the Chinese language...because being there for 3 weeks has made him an expert. And he is saying things in Chinese that we, of course, don't understand.
And I have started Operation Fatten Up Clark. I made a chocolate chip cookie cake, which I know he loves...and a peanut-butter pie. Tomorrow, at some point, we will have a big, hearty breakfast...that hopefully, he will eat.
But, right now? He took a lonnnnnnng shower (and I was so happy about that, because he said the showers there were not the same). Also, side note: when we picked him up from the airport...he was wearing the same shirt he was wearing the day he left. Not sure it had been washed...he said it had been "rinsed" in a sink. (eeek!) But he took a shower, and piled up on the couch...and he.is.out. He had a 13 hour flight from Bejing to Dallas, and he said he didn't sleep a wink.
Well, he's out now...and I'm just gonna leave him where he is.
I am so very thankful to have him home safe and sound. Yeah, I worried about him while he was gone...and I worried about him as he traveled home...but I covered him in prayer.
I know that the same God that was holding me, and calming all my fears...was holding Clark.
Way on the other side of the world.
"Where can I go from Your Spirit? Where can I flee from Your presence? If I go up to the heavens, You are there; if I make my bed in the depths, You are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there Your hand will guide me, Your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, 'surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,' even the darkness will not be dark to You; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to You." Psalm 139: 7-12