Mace and I take our seats on the plane, and he leans back, breathing a deep sigh of excitement. We agree that we've never had a greater adventure than this. The adventure of Mace pulling up a map of the entire world, pointing to a tiny little island in the Philippines, and saying, "We need to get from here to there. No internet, no hard plan. Just figuring it out as we go."
We are both energized for our trip, yielding only the mark of calm certainty. One would think such a rushed escapade would leave us frantic, but we speak quietly with each other about feeling so confident and alert. Though Mace is one who is rapid with passion, he is also equally filled with wisdom and caution, and I feel no hesitancy trusting him. Our excitement is evident when we decide our recently-purchased travel pillows have more purposes than just sleeping neck support-
A smiley face!
An overgrown droopy mustache.
A punching pad.
A bulky headband!
Earmuffs for small-headed people!
A cheek clamp.
Our laughter is too unbreakable to finish the conversation, and our travel pillows take on their final use of... laughter suppressant.
In the one day we had between booking our flights and boarding the plane, Mace and I quickly prepared to leave, working steadily as a team. Mace stayed up all night to clear his schedule at school, completing as many assignments as he could in advance, while I gathered supplies we deemed necessary for the trip. I won't ever forget my trip to Walmart - a shopping experience unlike any I'd ever had - as everyone else around me shopped according to their routine, while I shopped for medical items of survival. Nothing was at stake for them; a whole country was at state for us.
A mission friend of Mace, named Preston Olsen, agreed to join us on the trip. He purchased his own plane ticket and planned to meet us in Cebu, Philippines in two days time. Additionally, Mace had arranged for one of his Filipino friends to meet us in Manila and accompany us as well. Preston and Mace had served their missions in a northern part of the Philippines, so they are familiar with the dialect of Tagalog, which is different than the dialect of Cebuano where we were headed. However, Walter had served his mission in this exact area of ruin, so he would be able to assist with the language.
After we'd completed our relief efforts to the destroyed island of Leyte, Mace and Preston planned to travel to the area of their mission and spend some time visiting old friends. My plan was to directly return home, as my best friend was to be married in just over a week, and I was her maid of honor. A friend later asked me, "Oh yeah? How did that conversation go?" I joked, "Oh, hi Leslie. So, I'm going to be right back. I'm just going to go to the Philippines for just a little bit, and then I'll be right back for your wedding!" Though Leslie was of course supportive of me going.
Additionally in our one-day of time, Mace and I reached out to raise donation money. Most of our friends and family had been watching the news, aware of the recent stories of the horrible typhoon in the Philippines. "We're going," we told them, "and you can donate money that we'll spend in direct support of the surviving Filipinos." They barely had time to process the shock, as they donated some money to accompany on our travels. By the time our day was through, we'd raised over $10,000.
And now here we were on the plane, eager, ready, and packed with the best we had.
The travels ahead of us would be extremely long, with layovers in Seattle, Tokyo, and Manila, where we'll pick up Walter. And then we'll proceed to Cebu, where we'll meet up with Preston. From there, we'll all work together to determine how to get to the island of Leyte as quickly as possible to begin our rescue mission.
Our plane rumbles, and soon rapidly heads down the ramp for take off. My stomach lurches with excitement. I look over at Mace, and he grins at me. I really can't believe we are doing this! Who knows what is to come, what we'll see, how we'll be needed. Certainly there will be much good for us to do. And though we're not entirely sure what to expect, we trust in a God who does. We know He will guide us.
Mace lays his head on my shoulder, attempting to catch up on the no sleep from the night before. I think back to yesterday, as I was packing my backpack for this trip, and Mace called to run the rough plan for our rescue mission with me. He was very open to my suggestions and support. I was taken aback at his desire for my input, demonstrating right up front at his strong ability to make me feel comfortable and safe. Mace later told me that having me trust him so easily helped him to be significantly more confident in his role. I was trusting him to take me across the world to a very shattered place. And he was in need of my trust to courageously do so.
I close my eyes, deciding to rest as well.
As we fly through the air approaching our destination for a mighty mission, I've already concluded that the trust of companions is tantamount to any other bit of preparation. There is no greater force than two who absolutely believe in each other. One person alone can cause a wake. But two people united underneath a God can cause a revolution.
And we fall asleep as we fly into the sunrise. Light is coming, God quietly tells the people in the Philippines.
Upward and onward,