The boys, sadly, did NOT sleep on the plane, as they were consumed with Valentine’s Day Cards, which they were writing for their classmates back home. Their preoccupation with
THREE missions teams in addition to us are on the plane to Miami. Once there, we’ll part ways, as we are all heading to different locales. I had the opportunity to chat with some members from one of the groups; they are heading to Nicaragua to build a Sunday School Classroom and an adjoining washroom at a local church.
On the flight, I pondered the financial validity of sending a group of Canadians on two planes, and putting them up and feeding them for several days, when it would surely be cheaper to pay local workers to complete such a job. (I have often wondered the same thing about myself and my boys in our pricey venture down here.) I think, though, that ultimately it isn’t really about the classroom or the bathroom or the workshop so much as it is about the development of relationships between people from different parts of the world, and the fostering of understanding of some of the more complex issues that face our neighbours around the world (and for them, to meet Christians, or Canadians, or whatever, and perhaps dispel some of the stereotypes they may associate with certain people groups, too).
Coming back from such a trip will surely open opportunities for conversations with others about the sorts of ideas and innovations, the problems and challenges, the opportunities for partnership that arise from visiting another place. And, a service trip like this surely will change how Alex, Simon and I will interact with our world back home. In that sense, the ripple effects of this kind of venture can perhaps not be so easily price-tagged, I think.
Looking out the window I can see so many air strips – something I never noticed before, but am more aware of now (FLA is well known in the aviation community for its ideal VFR conditions, so flying is a popular hobby there). This is the first time I have flown commercially since learning to fly, and it’s been a pretty neat experience so far. “Chair flying” (a between-lessons practice technique I learned from one of my FIs) is a lot more fun when you’re actually IN a plane, even if not in the cockpit! I fully participated in taxi, take-off and trimming for cruise, and will shortly pause from writing this to practise final descent, approach and landing.
I was also very aware this time when the initial descent began; I could FEEL the pilots reducing power before changing to a nose-down attitude; I never noticed this when flying commercially before!
The boys are getting plenty of attention; when we travel, I often dress them identically, so that I can spot them more easily in crowds. They’re both wearing the same sweater today, and so their monozygosity tends to stand out more, drawing onlookers and passers-by to point and smile. (They even had matching pants at 3 a.m., but by 3:12 a.m., Alex—still half asleep—had peed in his, so we had to change them before heading out to the airport!)