Early, early on Friday morning,
(since I am on west coast time on vacation with the Nies),
I got a facetime call on my phone. It was Claire, my sister Nielson!
She was in the airport ready to board her plane and start on her way!
Her 22-hour travel itinerary and journey to Brazil took her from
New Hampshire to Washington DC to Newark to Sao Paulo to Vitoria!!
She looked exhausted probably from a late night and with little sleep.
We talked for a few minutes before she had to get to her gate.
She said she'd call us back when she got to Newark.
I could tell she was feeling emotional and a little homesick.
We hung up and my heart was sad.
I dropped to my knees and prayed that God would bless
and help my sweet baby girl.
I know He will. I have no doubt she will be safe and protected,
but I felt lonely for her.
Later I got a text from the mission nurse who told me she was the one
who dropped Claire off at the airport.
Later in the afternoon, we got another facetime call from Claire who was
waiting in the Newark airport on her way to BRAZIL!
The good news was she had met up with another sister,
who was sent home last year because of COVID and was returning
to finish the last 6 months of her mission.
I was so happy to know she'd be traveling with Claire!!
But, the bad news was we were at DISNEYLAND when she called.
I felt so guilty trying to talk to her while walking the streets
of the "happiest place on earth" while she was alone in a huge airport.
It just felt wrong.
Claire was able to call us ONE MORE TIME when she made it safely to Brazil
after a very very long day of traveling.
Her wonderful mission President and his wife, the Turner's picked up
the new sisters and took them to their
apartment in downtown Vitoria where she met
her new companions (she's in a trio!) and other missionaries in her district.
The Turners, as it turns out are from North Carolina, too and
not only that but from the SAME AREA as us!
We know a lot of the same people.
Claire said she was so comforted seeing them, especially Sister Turner.
She was so warm and welcoming and Claire loved hearing her
familiar North Carolina Southern accent.
Claire and sister Hale are the only American sisters so far
who have been back to her Brazil mission since COVID.
I'm so glad she's there!
Claire had dinner with the rest of the group and judging by her plate,
she didn't eat much.
A vegetarian in Brazil will take some patience
and probably a lot of trial and error.
She can do it. She's prepared for this!
After the dinner, and a message from President and sister Turner,
Claire said the closing prayer.
(Claire said President Turner told her he was impressed with her Portuguese!).
Then her new companions took her
to the apartment where she will stay to begin her new life as a missionary!
On the facetime chat, I could see that her eyes were swollen and
she couldn't hold back the tears.
I could tell she was overwhelmed. She was exhausted and homesick.
The whole family was on the phone call and together we clapped for her
and told her how proud of her we were and that she could do it!
Then she said she had to go, so we said our goodbyes
and told her how much we LOVED her, and how
PROUD of her we are. Christian closed our phone chat
with family prayer and told her to
fear not and to lift up her chin, and go forward with
confidence because the Lord has confidence in her.
After we hung up I bawled like a baby, too.
I was feeling so many emotions. I am so excited for her,
so proud of her, and homesick for her, too.
"At this time in your life, a mission call from the Lord,
my young friends, is the most important work that you can do."
If that is true, (and I really believe that it is), then
I can't be anything but happy for her.
She is in my heart and my thoughts and my prayers ALWAYS!
And she is doing it FOR HIM!
GO, CLAIRE, GO!!