August 6, 2010:
We are waiting to take off in a jet out of Mozambique. As we sit here in the air conditioned plane, there is a stunning sunset out the western window. The sun looks huge and deep red....sinking down through a line of clouds, we watch it drop through and emerge from the bottom. It's like the punctuation mark on the end of an epic, unforgettable trip.
We just said our goodbyes to Charlie and Angie Lechner and their family. They are a missionary family in Maputo and we spent the night and a very fun day with them, breakfast at a cute coffee place, shopping at the town crafters' market, and lunch by the bay. I highly recommend making a layover in Maputo to stay at the Lechner B&B! Very fine people serving there....and now they are our friends.
The stewardess is telling us instructions over the speaker and it sounds like she is whispering a love poem to us. Charles was interpreting what she was saying, "Dear passengers....You are the most beautiful passengers we have ever seen. We will love serving you this evening, you lovely people." It makes us laugh until tears come. (When we landed and the stewardess started in with her sultry voice, Charles leaned over and interpreted again, "Dear John....leave this plane at once for you dirty rotten passengers.") Portuguese is a beautiful sounding language. It sounds like Spanish, French and Italian all mixed together. I will miss saying our most used Portuguese phrase, "Obrigada" which means "Thank you", because it sounds so nice if you can roll your r's and I can, so it's lovely to say. ;) Bon Dia means "good day" so we would say that as a greeting as we entered a village. One morning John Dina offered Diana a cup of coffee and she sleepily said, "Bon dia" instead of Obrigada, so now we use them both interchangeably to razz her a bit. Although it really is a good day when it begins with someone offering you a cup of coffee.
We are in the air now, beginning our 31 hour trip home. Before we sleep again, we have an hour flight to Johannesburg, a five hour layover there, an 11 hour flight to London, another 5 hour layover, then a 9.5 hour flight home to Phoenix, where we hope to find our families waiting to hug our necks and take us home to our beds!
We're glad to be headed home, but it is a hard goodbye. We have deeply meaningful memories and insights from God now in Mozambique. Our hearts are full even through the lingering grief. Just as the Bible passage that Michael gave to David in the Johannesburg airport on our way here, I think that God is causing a great joy to rise up in David and Diana's spirits as they come out of this journey.
You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;
you have loosed my sackcloth
and clothed me with gladness...Psalm 30:11