It's hard to believe that it was just a week ago that this adventure began! There are so many AMAZING details that God did on this trip that I am still processing and will share in the near future but am also anxious to share with y'all
some lots of pictures from this amazing week. It would be an understatement to say that this week was literally a MIRACLE from the Lord and I am confident that this was simply the answer to hundreds and hundreds of you that have been praying on my behalf! THANK YOU so much for all of your prayers last week and for all of your prayers that you pray every single day for my health. Slowly, Surely, Steadily (Habakkuk 2:3) the Lord is healing each day and this week away was just what the doctor ordered.
The trip began last Sunday afternoon with a tearful goodbye to my mama. I know that this will seem silly but I can't explain the way that this trip was truly a LEAP of faith for me as I had not been away from my parents or family (or at least doctors) for over a year and a half. The thought of stepping out and leaving the country was very overwhelming for me, especially in light of the extremely difficult days leading up to the trip. I share this only so that you can see through the next several days the countless prayers that were answered throughout this special trip !
On my first flight I sat next to a woman who was going through an extremely difficult time as she was headed to see her best friend who has been fighting cancer and was heading into hospice. The minute that she sat down I could tell that she was hurting and her eyes welled up with tears as she told her story. Please keep this lady and her precious friend in your prayers whenever you think of them (and their families). On the second flight into Miami (where our cruise was leaving from) I (and many others on the plane) were given the nicest gift of having a practically empty plane for about 30 of us. It was such a treat from the Lord to have the opportunity to stretch out, pray, and sleep. The Lord knew that I would need that sleep and it was a delightful surprise! As you can see from these pictures that I took from the window we were headed into Florida and the weather was beautiful!
Almost to Miami (and I was so excited to see Michelle!)
I was so blessed to have a nice military man help me with bag at the baggage claim and was headed over to pick up the rental car to drive to the hotel when I ran into some issues. Unfortunately the baggage claim is quite a LONG distance from the Car rental area. As I went to the service/information area at the Miami Airport to look into getting some assistance I was informed that because I didn't "look like I was sick enough" (despite having the disability tag, documentation from my doctor, etc) I could not get assistance. I honestly was near tears at this point as I was exhausted and embarrassed as this woman yelled at me. Looking back I should have definitely requested to speak to her manager but unfortunately was to tired to think through that rationally. Instead I ended up dragging my heavy bags approximately a mile, and after arriving at my rental car I broke down sobbing to Michelle and to my parents begging them to let me just come home. Once again I am amazed at how the Lord meets us each minute as my parents calmly listened, encouraged me, and then suggested that I meet up with Michelle before I make any decisions. (yes, my parents are very wise hahaha) When I finally arrived at the hotel (yes, the story is true that I almost was arrested because I turned into a "secure entrance" hahaha you would think I had never lived away from my family in three major cities and abroad as you read this story hahaha) Michelle sweetly met me with a hug and encouraged me and promptly took over with the preparations that we needed to make. After resting a little bit, some good laughs with this dear woman and eating a good dinner, we headed back to the hotel to find out that we were not assigned a shuttle to the port like we were originally told. Thankfully we were able to get one of the last spots for the last available shuttle and both of us were glad to get some good nights sleep that evening before the adventure of the cruise began!
Because our shuttle didn't leave until early afternoon for the port Michelle and I spent the morning driving around some of Miami, heading to Whole Foods to pick up some supplies for the trip, and returning the rental car. Thankfully and an answer to prayer was that the rental company helped us immensely and we were able to catch a taxi that took us right to the hotel with minimal walking. After we ate a snack and packed up the room we went downstairs to catch the shuttle and both Michelle and I were incredibly grateful for the spacious shuttle van that took us down to the port! If we look a little tired in this picture it is only because we had been informed that we only had a few minutes to grab all of our stuff or the shuttle was going to leave without us.
After we arrived at the port we made our way (with the gracious and amazing help of some Royal Caribbean staff) to the boat! We had a few minutes to put our things in our room and grab lunch before our 2:45pm introduction meeting. During the course of the week this became the joke between Michelle & I and some friends at our table as we started off carrying our lunches into this meeting and pretty much every activity at night our group did we continued to carry food in. Yes, there were some giggles but many people actually admitted that they were jealous that they had not thought of bringing in the food! Soon we started seeing several people copying our example! *smiles*
After the meeting we headed to our
Master Muster (why is it called this??) Station drill and then we grabbed some seats at the top of the boat for the launch!
We were so blessed to have such a beautiful view and weather!
There was another cruise ship leaving in front of us!
It was absolutely beautiful!
We were so excited to be on the cruise and officially meet (and have a chance to talk with) some of the Wissmann Family! It was a little surreal because we had both been excited and planned this trip for over a year but simply lovely. Each member that we spoke with was so incredibly kind, gracious, and inviting. It was truly a wonderful week getting to know them a little bit and spend time with such generous and amazing people.
It was also the most amazing week with one of my best friends! From the moment that we connected in Miami Michelle was the absolute model of grace. Thank you so much my dear friend for your constant support and love, your encouragement to my little heart, your understanding and selfless nature that constantly put me first on this trip, your encouragement as I was in tears in Atlantis, the laughter and understanding that you extended when I didn't have enough energy to "go go go" all day long, and your ability to bring joy to each person that encounters you. I am so thankful to the Lord for your beautiful friendship! Thank you so much for a WONDERFUL week!!
It's hard to explain how much this trip impacted me but I am so incredibly thankful for each prayer that you prayed and can't wait to share more with y'all in the coming days!