There's not much to say in terms of the logistics of getting ready. It was what it was. Lots of lists with lots of busy things to do. My wife Christen is typically much more concerned about this than I am, which is really a good thing (until it becomes overwhelming for her) because, due to my laid back attitude in this area, there is a possibility of everything that needs to get done... not getting done. Yet, somehow, every time there is a vital list, we get through it. There hasn't been a single list that has kept us from completing our goal... ok, ok I admit, this is chiefly due to Christen, whom I am very thankful for.
The hardest thing about preparing for our trip was my lack of cheerful benevolence with the fact that we were leaving the girls. My apprehension was enough to make me question if we should really be doing this together. I felt comfortable with the idea of the trip itself, but I couldn't ease my mind of the fact that we would be away from our babies for 11 days. What if they get hurt or sick? What if they feel scared? What if they don't understand why we aren't there for them and they feel abandoned? I was afraid that my children might, in some ways, become the children who we were going to serve. But I was encouraged by the Holy Spirit and reminded that service to the Lord is not done in a spirit of fear but by the most mighty One. I felt a bit like Christian in The Pilgrim's Progress when he was called by Jesus into salvation and he had to run from his family as they cried for his return. When the Lord calls, run, and don't look back. You can trust Him that He will never call you into sin, and everything He does will work for your good. There is no other way with God for those who love Him and have been called by Him. He promises that the race will be hard and will require DEATH to yourself, but he who loses His life will find it in Him. And that life; living to God, is true life. It's abundant life everlasting. I had to keep my eyes on the prize and run the race that was laid out for me. I never though that my children could actually become a hindrance to my running. The truth about what I was experiencing was this: once love and concern for others turns into fear and a desire to control to the point of ignoring God's calling to action, THEY HAVE BECOME AN IDOL. I was struggling with wanting to obey my fears instead of God. But my Lord was gracious to cause me to continually refocus; to continually examine myself to see if I was in the faith. I'm so thankful that His spirit is more powerful than my flesh, and that He is far more faithful than I could ever be. I'm so thankful that He works in me to cause me to will and to act for His good purposes. I'm so thankful that God is so jealously passionate about His own glory that He doesn't leave me alone to work by my own strength, but supplies His strength to prove Himself. All things are from God, and through God, and to God. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.