Wednesday, December 14, 2016

December 14, 2016

We’ve been married for five years, and this is the first time we’ve had a Christmas tree!  It’s only 4ft tall, but it’s ours!

On November 30th I flew to Mexico and on December 1st had the surgery that I talked about in my last newsletter.  The surgery went well and the pain was only the normal after-surgery aches for a few days.  Now I am recovering, still on a liquid diet for a while, and then after a few months of learning how to eat again, we’ll hopefully return to South Sudan.

  The trip home from mexico was an interesting one.  I went through the line at Customs/Border Patrol with a few other people who were patients from the same clinic, but when my turn came it was different.  I’ve always been the subject of “random” extra searches and security on international flights because of my travel history, but this is the first time I’ve crossed into the USA by land.  When the border agent started thumbing through my passport and saw some of the countries I’d visited, including South Sudan, I got moved to a different area.

  After 2.5 hours I was finally cleared to enter the United States.  During my time with the agents I was questioned on all kinds of stuff: my family, my job, hobbies, names of people we work with, etc.  One of the agents even looked through my laptop at my pictures, while another one actually opened and read a page from my journal!  In the end they were surprised that I wasn’t impatient with them and that I was doing so well even though I’ve never been detained at a US border before.  I guess that training was worth it!

 Once I got to the airport I found out that I had 3 minutes to spare for check-in.  I rushed to the gate, got on my plane, and about 45 minutes later, the whole plane was emptied because of a mechanical issue.  I spent the night in San Diego and flew home the next day, only to find out that my bag was still somewhere in Dallas!  This morning (a whole week after I got home) I had an email that said my bag was delivered at 2:35am, and I found it on our front porch.  People always make comments to me about how hard it must be to travel so much through Africa, but some of my most difficult experiences have been right here at home!

Merry Christmas!

Justin, Amy, Ezekiel and Caleb