The night before we left was a calm panic with Shin lugging the suitcases into the bathroom scale, and me sitting in front of the largest suitcase making last minute decisions about what to take out. The bathroom scale revealed that we were 1lb or maybe a 1/2lb close to hitting the maximum.

We ended up sleeping at 2:30am, which wasn’t so bad. We had a comprehensive list of last-minute things to do the next morning, like cleaning up the room and making a bank deposit.

We left for the airport at 10:30am. As we parked, a church deacon pulled up behind us. After entering the terminal we were met by 3 of our students, both sets of parents, and another church member. Then we stood in the long baggage check in line while our mom’s followed our progress from the other side of the nylon border. They made the most of the remaining time with us.

The suitcase we were most worried about, mine, ended up being 1lb too heavy. So Shin took the blanket out and it was exactly 50.00lbs. We actually saw the agitated AA rep smile at our *luck. Finally we finished and rushed over to the TSA inspection where we anxiously parted with our 4 bags hoping they would all make it to Asuncion. We returned to our family and waved goodbye every 10 seconds as we got on the escalator and finally departed from our family.

Seeing the people that showed up, including the two WLAKC pastors, P. Kwon and P. Park, really was encouraging. It was different to leave like that then to stand in line ourselves and depart on our own. I am so grateful for all the people who cared. Our students even took the bus to get to the airport(!), while our parents missed a crucial day of work, just to wait on concrete benches while we stood in line- just to see us and say a few words to us before we left. What a blessing family is.

The care packages sent by supporters proved to be extremely handy. Even before takeoff I got a papercut on those duty free magazines in front of your seat. So I used a band-aid from the first aid kit. As I’m fighting a cold, I also used a whole pack of kleenex in between eating strawberry yogurt granola bars, slim jims, and swedish fish! Thank you for all the thought and care!

The flights were good with smooth take offs and landings. First the American Airlline flight to Miami. Then AA again from Miami to San Paulo. Neither of us had ever seen much terrain while flying and this time we saw gridlike agricultural patches covering Colorado, and hours later the lush green trees and grasslands covering Brazil & Paraguay, the low dense clouds of tropical climate, red soil, and the mustard brown water of the fast winding river. It was the most breathtaking first impression of a country we had never seen before.

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