The other day I was talking with our little guys about their older brothers being sick. They asked me if it was c@vid and I said no, because they'd just been tested. Zachy's eyes grew wide and he said, "You mean there are other viruses that aren't c@vid??'
He had just turned 5 when this mess hit and it's practically all he knows. He barely remembers a time when people went about freely with their faces showing because here in Thailand, masks are still required everywhere.
The rules of the world have changed, plain and simple.
When we set off for the foreign mission field we had happy little ideas about family and friends visiting. We imagined trips back to the US at least once a year. We pictured a reality that proved anything but realistic.
God was wise to conceal it from us. So often we wish we could see the future and think we could prepare so much better if He'd only show it to us. But if God had sat me down and said, "Kasey, I want you to sell the home you last lived in with all 8 of your children, get rid of your belongings, pack some suitcases and go to Thailand where you'll have no paying job and your finances will always be a mystery until the beginning of each new month. Once you're there, I'm going to start sending you children you won't be able to speak to because you won't communicate in the same language. And then a virus is going to stop everything globally and all those visits you're dreaming of will be impossible. You're little boys will go more than two years before seeing their older brothers. But I want you to go and not look back."
Let me be very honest: I don't think I would have gone. I'd have reasoned away the idea or rationalized that surely God wouldn't separate our family like that while my adult kids were so fresh out of the nest. I'd have conjured up a hundred reasons why the impending global situation should keep us grounded.
I'm here to tell you I'm incredibly grateful that God, in His wisdom, keeps these details from us.
We left in August of 2019 and we're now a few sleeps from the dawn of 2022. Most of our family here in Thailand hasn't seen Micah since two days before we left. And it's now been two years since most of them have seen Alex. Our little guys are young and 2 years is a very long time to be separated.
But with Micah's graduation from college arose the opportunity for him to come visit before launching into a career. Nikolas spent a few months here earlier this year but was able to plan a return, as well. Only problem was, things were looking bleak with the constantly changing c@vid travel mandates.
The tickets were purchased and the required quarantine hotel and c@vid insurance were secured. The only thing remaining was the test that had to be taken within 72 hours of departure and must read "not detected".
Micah searched and found a place that promised results in 24 hours. They both went and then waited. One full day passed. And then two full days. No results.
The evening before the 6am flight they still had no results. For various reasons I was entertaining some doubts ... maybe they weren't supposed to be coming and God was going to close the way. I didn't beg but I did feel panic begin to settle in. The little boys had been praying so ardently and had their whole heart pinned on this visit.
When I learned the test results hadn't come and the office was closed so nothing could be done, I actually felt a peace sweep over me. I was a bit perplexed by this peace that had evaded me until the bad news was confirmed. But I realized all over again that sometimes we worry about things that never actually happen and so the worry was wasted. And then other times we worry about things that do happen and the worry was again wasted because it did nothing whatsoever to prevent it.
All the while, my older boys maintained a confidence that things were going to work out. I was busy calmly trying to surrender myself to a veto of plans.
The morning of the flight they arrived at the airport around 3am. They were supposed to check their bags all the way through to Bangkok, Thailand and present all the required paperwork to board the flight. The airlines go over these papers with a fine-tooth comb. Obviously, the boys had no test results to present and so they asked if they could check their bags and documents again after landing, since the first flight was technically a domestic one where they'd transfer to catch an international flight. This would buy them some time.
Surprisingly, they were allowed to board. I was thrilled and continued praying.
A short time later, as their plane touched down, the boys flipped their phones back on and found the test results had come in while en route to the airport where it was an absolute requirement to present the papers.
God designed things in such a way that all my doubts regarding the wisdom of them coming were erased. His hand was so clear and evident that I could do nothing but praise Him for the open door.
Robbie left about 5 hours ago with Abi and Levi to drive to Bangkok and pick the boys up first thing tomorrow morning. By mid afternoon they should be back here and I can't wait to see the reunion.
Tonight I will sleep easy knowing tomorrow I will have 7 of my 8 birth children all together, under one roof, for the first time in 28 months.
I may not be getting to have every last one here at the same time, but I'm certainly asking God if it might be possible to get Alexander over here soon!
It'll be fun to see how He answers.