459 days. That’s how long it’s been since I was in Grenada.
459 days ago, at this moment, I had just gotten home from being picked up from the airport and going out to dinner at someplace where I had a delicious rice bowl, and I was worrying about the next day, and what the future might hold.
459 days ago, I didn’t know I would work at a hair salon but leave that for a full-time position at a bank. I never expected God to remove me from that job for reasons I could have never imagined, to put me to work at a grocery store. I had never heard the names of the 300+ souls I’ve met since 459 days ago. I had no idea that I would spend 3 months living my lifelong dream. I didn’t know there was a man named Joshua Rushing living in Mississippi and God was already designing our lives to meet at just the right moment.
459 days ago, I was fearful, excited, apprehensive, with a heart full of hopes and plans. So much has happened since then.
Grenada has come up often in conversations and my thoughts recently. Random memories jump to the forefront of my mind. Why? I think it’s because I’m sort of plateau’ed right now. I traveled and adventured so much over the summer, and one weekend trip two hours north with my youth group did not satiate the desire to go and be and do. But I am not complaining! Today I’m grateful for the almost-6 months I spent on that tiny island. I’m grateful for the moments I’ll never forget. Like when I went to the beach for the afternoon with three sisters, and I pretended like I was deaf so the man running the boat rides would lower his price. (He didn’t.) We laughed so hard, he surely knew we were in jest. Or the night when Pas was driving my roommate and I back to our apartment, and a possum (or “mannicoo” as it is called there) ran across the road. Grenadians enjoy mannicoo, and Pas was determined to get this one. He tried to hit it, and succeeded, as my roommate and I shrieked and laughed in terror and hilarity. Or the funny looks I got from American mission teams when I showed up at a church service with cornrows in my hair, getting off a bus with Grenadians. Or the long drives down the coast at night. Or the toast for me a friend spoke my last night with my Maranatha church family.
I’m thankful. Thankful it all happened. It’s hard sometimes, because sometimes it doesn’t feel real. It feels like it was all a dream, a different life. But it did happen. I still experience the effects of #teachinggrenada2014, and, prayerfully, so do the people I was able to meet and share Jesus with. I miss it. I miss the heartache of being so far from home and having nothing but my Savior. I miss the lonely nights when His presence became so real. I miss singing praise to Him under the stars. I miss the spiritual challenges and physical challenges I faced every day.
459 days ago, I left the life I was living in the Caribbean. But it was real, and I’ll be back someday. I don’t know when or for how long, but a piece of my heart will always be there. Thankful for the opportunity God gave me to be there.