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July 5th , 2005 Update
Although we have had many exciting e-mail updates in the past, we feel that today’s is perhaps the most important of them all. At 10:55 a.m., we successfully boarded our plane and began our long journey home! We were very excited to finally leave Kazakhstan, but we were even more amazed at the miracles God worked to get us on our way!
The morning started bright and early. We got up before Katie, packed our things, arranged our passports and tickets, then delivered some of our extra groceries to Tony and Mary (a couple we met in our hotel who just adopted two older boys). After eating breakfast and checking out of the hotel, we headed for the U.S. Consulate. Our goal was to arrive 15 minutes early so we could be the first ones there and get our exit interview done as soon as possible.
On the way to the Consulate, all our apprehensions and fears were nagging us as we remembered the trouble we’d had a few days earlier (if you remember, we had asked the Consulate to for a morning appointment instead of the usual afternoon appointment). Well, we’re happy to report that at 8:45 we cleared security and were escorted to the waiting room. Then, by 9:05 we finished the interview and held Katie’s U.S. visa in our hands. Praise God! Everything went perfect and without any trouble (we didn’t even get a stern lecture this time).
As soon as we left the Consulate, we jumped in the car and raced to the airport. Luckily we were in good hands as Sem, our Almaty driver, took every shortcut in the book. He even honked his horn through the “blind” intersections to let the other cars know we were coming through. Because of his superior driving skills and keen knowledge of the roads, we made it to the airport just in time for check-in.
Once we cleared customs and boarded our first plane to Uzbekistan, we felt a wave of emotions sweep over us; we were finally on our way home! God continued to bless us with a safe flight out, despite the fact that we were on an airplane so small, the wing was mounted on-top of the plane! It was a wonderful hour-long flight where we were able to finally breathe a sigh of relief.
Now, we are sitting in the transfer terminal in Tashkent, Uzbekistan where we have spent the day waiting for our connecting flight to Seoul, Korea. Earlier today, this ornate soviet-era building was busting at the seams with travelers from around the world; we were nestled between Indians, Koreans, Russians, Kazakhs, and many more. However, everyone else left this afternoon and together with one other person, we are the only passengers here. All the lights have been turned off and we feel somewhat lonely, but we really don’t care because we are making progress in our journey home.
Our ability to leave Kazakhstan has only been by the grace of God. We now know that through the delay in our departure, God was able to use it for His glory. He clearly demonstrated His power these past few days as He worked out every last detail. There were many times that we doubted if we would ever leave Kazakhstan. In fact, we have both been literally “worried sick” at various times this week because there were so many indications that things wouldn’t work out.
God’s working through the details of our return flights is only a small snapshot of the way He has constantly been helping us through this entire process. If it weren’t for His continual direction, and the prayers from many of you at home, we would not be heading home with our beautiful baby girl. Many people think God doesn’t use miracles in these modern times, but our little Kaitlyn is direct evidence that He still does! He took a childless couple with limited resources and provided the most amazing gift ever; a child.
As we think about this, we have to admit that God’s gift of a child goes even further than Katie (or any other human child), because His biggest gift to all of us was His own son, whom He dearly loved. When God sent Jesus to earth, He did so as a way for us know Him personally; because Christ lived as a human and died for us, God can understand all that we’re going through. Whether we’re facing issues with health, money, relationships, or even the desire to have a child, God knows the pain we’re experiencing and will be there for us if we call on Him. Maybe you have already made a personal commitment to follow Jesus, but incase you haven’t, we wanted to take a moment and let you know how.
To be accepted as one of God’s own, all we need to do is admit that we’re not perfect and that we never will be; we need Him to accept us as we are because we can’t make it to heaven on our own. We also need to acknowledge that we believe God is who He says He is; the one, true God, and that Jesus is His son. The Bible says that when we open up our hearts to Him, He will always be with us and will never leave. That truth alone has been the most reassuring fact for us as we’ve been experiencing our recent delays and struggles while in Kazakhstan; we knew that even on the other side of the world, God was still looking out for us and that everything was part of His great plan for our lives. God is very much alive; we know that first hand!
Next time you receive an e-mail from us, it should be announcing the good news that we’ve finally made it all the way home (we plan to touch down in San Francisco on Wednesday at 3:38*). Until then, we ask that you help us pray for a safe second half of our trip, and a smooth drive home from the airport.
We miss you all and can’t wait to be home!
In Christ,
Kevin, Sarah and Katie

© 2005
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