The Month of God Stretching Me
This post was written by one of our Solace Missionaries, Tawnya Jackson.
December has been an emotional month for our family. I (Tawnya) made the long journey from Cote d’Ivoire to Tulsa to return Aubry (our granddaughter, who has lived with us) to live with her mom. But before we left, we spent a day at Grand Basaam on the beach. Jeff and Aubry had a great time playing in the beautiful waves. It was a reminder that God created a beautiful world! Watching the two of them made my heart hurt knowing I would say goodbye the next day. December was a month of God stretching me.
I don’t like to fly…at all. Jeff has always been my rock when we made the trips to and from Africa. Aubry asked Jeff what he did to make me feel safe and he told her to hold my hand until I"m calm. When we got to the Abidjan airport, the travelers are the only ones allowed inside the front doors so Aubry and I had to navigate checkin by ourselves. After waiting in line and the agent asking her supervisor if I could have 3 checked bags, we were on our way to security. Jeff, Pastor Paul, Somé, and Moses waited for about an hour until we were safely to the terminal and waiting for the plane. We got on the plane and were on our way around 11:55 PM. We slept for most of the flight to Paris where we were greeted with freezing cold temps! When it was time to take off for Atlanta, our plane didn’t move. The pilot announced there was a lot of air traffic so we would have to wait. Then we had to wait for them to de-ice the plane, which took about an hour. Now, we didn’t have much of a layover in Atlanta so we were already really worried we would miss our connection to Tulsa. God was looking out for us though, we were the last ones through the gate but we made our connection!
I spent 10 wonderful days with our family and friends. I bought a lot of food items that Jeff and I wanted to have that we can’t get here (like bacon, Miracle Whip, Velveeta cheese, and Rotel) and collected the bonus things that our friends had gathered up for us. As great as it was to be there, I really missed Jeff and our home here.
My flight back was completely different than the one I made with Aubry. After checking it I was completely searched at security. Talk about uncomfortable! They opened all of my carry on bags and the agent was quite amused at the 6 lb bag of chocolate candy in my suitcase. I had less than 1 hour and 45 minute layover in Atlanta AND Paris so I had to hurry once I got off the plane in Atlanta. Luckily, I was in the same terminal so I just had to go to another gate. We boarded the plane and took off for Paris around 10:30 PM. I went to sleep but was awoken by the pilot announcing that we might have felt the plane do a drastic left turn and that was because we were heading back to Atlanta because the navigation system wasn’t working. We were told that there would be a plane waiting for us to move to. Well, that didn’t happen so the technicians came on board to try and fix it. After about 2 hours, we took off again. Only, this time it stopped working about 15 minutes after we took off so we went to New York to burn some fuel…before returning to Atlanta. The next available flight was canceled so the wait was on. Once my flight was rescheduled for the evening of the day I was supposed to return, I just emotionally broke down. I was so tired. Finally, we got on the plane and arrived in Paris about 6:00 AM. I had to go to check in to get my boarding pass because it is an Air France flight from there and so Delta couldn’t print one. The agent there informed me that I was on standby for the 9:55 AM flight. I had a meltdown when I called Jeff to tell him. God made sure I was on that plane though so I finally arrived in Abidjan a day late, but safe. I passed through Ivorian customs and baggage claim in record time thanks to a connection.
I had to have my Carte de Residence appointment rescheduled for the next day. This is the document that allows me to live in Cote d’Ivoire. Jeff and Moses went with me but they wouldn't let either one of them into the appointment with me. I don’t speak French well enough AT ALL to do this alone. I was in tears because I didn’t know how I was going to understand the questions that I would be asked. It’s no secret that my faith tends to be weak. But you know what God did? He allowed me to deal with agents that spoke English. That is how awesome He is!
We headed back to Tanda the next day and got back to our routine. Moses and I put up our Christmas tree. Jeff and I gifted Moses with a trip to another town further up north so he could spend the holidays with his mom and other family that live there. Jeff and I made cookies on Christmas Eve and had a nice Christmas dinner, just the two of us. It was very emotional for both of us, as was evident when Jeff said grace over our meal in tears. We spent the rest of the evening watching some sappy Hallmark Christmas movies. He really does love me!
The next day, we got up and had breakfast. He asked me if I wanted to go with him to work on the new house so I did. We walked to the office/infirmary side to get some chairs to take a break. While coming down the stairs, my clumsy self stepped on a chunk of concrete block and rolled my ankle, breaking my foot. So off to Abidjan we went! I had X-rays to verify that I did indeed have a fracture so I’m now in a lovely (not so little) cast until the 17th of Jan. I can’t wait to get it off!
We are anxiously awaiting the time to move into our new home and also as the first children’s home being completed. It’s getting so close to time for us to start meeting the littles that we will be showing the love of God! As always, thank you all for your prayers, love, and support. We wouldn’t be here without you!
Language learning. It's very difficult, but we are working with a tutor to learn as much as we can.
Aubry. Pray for her while she transitions back to living with her mom.
Our son. He has some new scans over the next few months. If they come back clean he will officially be declared CANCER FREE!
Our daughters. Pray for them in their daily lives
Our moms. We miss them, but of course they miss us terribly as well.
I didn’t have to have surgery on my foot!
We made it through our first holiday season away from family.