Yesterday, we returned to the Omaha Airport to welcome back John and the rest of the team from our church who'd traveled to Ethiopia.
We were so determined to avoid being late that we arrived with enough time to play games in the airport's food court.
Soon the Henns joined us. Layne had been on his own with their five youngest children while Tanya traveled with their oldest daughter, Kaylee. "Mr. Mom" was very ready for the return of his wife!
The Henn kids were sure ready to see their mom, too!
As usual, Lissie scooped up the youngest Henn.
The Nordstroms, including 5-year-old "Peaches" who was added to their family of seven through adoption from Ethiopia just about a year ago, weren't far behind. Peaches' daddy, Russ, spent hundreds of hours coordinating the trip for those who traveled from Sioux City.
We waited as people from the same flight deplaned. We knew our loved ones were at the back of the plane, so we had to wait a bit longer to see them...
When the concourse seemed to be emptying, the entire group sidled forward several yards closer to where our family members would emerge...
...and then in a blur we were rewarded with the return of our loved ones!
Almost immediately there was an exchange of stories--from those who'd remained at home...
...and those who'd had a profound life experience on the other side of the world.
Meanwhile, the hugging and kissing went on and on...
Families were reunited...
...and a little girl, adopted from Ethiopia less than a year ago, had a daddy to cling to.
Before we left the airport, I gathered our tribe for a group shot. Oh, how we love togetherness!
I love the way this silhouette of four of our kiddos captures the joy of being back together. Alexander (on far left) wouldn't leave John's side, while Natasha slid her hand into that of her oldest brother. Lissie's happiness that her twin was back shows even without the benefit of light.
Lissie started counting the HOURS until John's return the morning after he left and gave all of us regular updates.
As we drove the two hours back home, Lissie listened eagerly to the details John had the energy to share. When he drifted off, she was very protective of his need for sleep. Since Lissie had traveled to St. Petersburg just last August for a missions trip, she knew the deep but satisified exhaustion he was experiencing after giving of himself to serve others in the name of Christ for more than a week in a foreign land.
When we reached home, we thanked God for John's safety one more time and poured him into his bed; he'd been traveling for about 40 hours.