Travels went smoothly, and I arrived in Birmingham at 10:45 on Friday morning to the smiling face of Atonya, one of the staff members here. On our way to base I quickly got to know her open heart, and passion for sharing the Gospel with people - something I hope to learn from! Since arriving here I've settled into my room, explored the town on foot, eaten meals, enjoyed community, etc. Only 3 of the 12 people on my team are here - the rest arrive today - so it's been good getting to know each other before the craziness begins! There's another team of 10 English-learners also here for the same amount of time as us so it's been really exciting getting to talk to them about the different cultures they come from, etc.
I'm not going to lie - I was so proud of my lack of nerves/homesickness, probably too proud because the Lord quickly humbled me after I got here. It wasn't until my roommate (and fellow-American) expressed her homesickness that I suddenly wanted to cry and jump back on a plane home! Thankfully the Lord is the ultimate comforter and He loves to show us that He is more than enough. Although I love my friends and family and the comfort of home, those are not necessities in order for me to feel joy and comfort. I met a guy who has been serving here for a year and as I remarked on how long that was, he said "no, it feels quite short" - instant perspective! Yes, I am at the very beginning of what feels like will be a LONG 4 months, but I know in reality how quickly that time goes...I'm hoping to soak up every minute instead of longing for the day I'll be on a plane home. Yes, I miss my friends and family, but they will still be right where I left them come December. In the meantime, I'm going to welcome this chance for the Lord to grow and challenge me. Today, I'm choosing to dwell on the truth of Isaiah 41:10:
"I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."