Well, the trip we were originally meant to take in August… then again in February… is now finally going to happen. The baby we came with is now a toddler and in her place is a new baby. Matt learned Arabic, both kids learned to count to twenty and say the whole alphabet. And me, well, I learned that my body does have limits and that rest is a very important thing.
We are excited about many things for our return to Iraq. Jack will start kindergarten (probably at home), we are going to have someone work with the kids in Arabic, and Matt will be back in the office with his co-workers and on the field. More than all that though, we are excited to be back in our own house as a family of five. Since the beginning of 2017, we have spent less than 3 months together, just us.
This journey back will be unlike any other we have done. Not only is our party growing, but we still can’t fly into the Sulaymaniyah airport so the last leg of our trip will be over land. We would very much appreciate prayers as we embark on this three-day journey. I have written out our detailed itinerary if you are interested in praying with us in real time. We would especially appreciate prayers for sleep, for patience, for calm kids, and for smooth connections.
Tuesday, March 20 we leave Dallas/Fort Worth at 11:15 PM
9 hours later we arrive in London for a 3 hour layover then a 4 hour flight to Istanbul
We will arrive at 11:10PM local time (3pm CST), claim our 4 large bags, go through customs and go to a hotel in Istanbul (I’m trying to pack lightly but it is so hard!)
Our next flight is the next day, the 22nd, at 10am (2am CST) we will head back to the airport and take a 1 hour flight to Ankara, quick layover, then another 1 hour flight to Sirnak, Turkey.
Then we will get into a taxi and drive about an hour to the border where we will wait….
When you wake up on the morning of the 22nd, you can pray for us as we sit at the border. Pray it is smooth, quick, that the kids find something fun to do, Eli sleeps, we all have lots and lots of patience, and that our Kurdish visas are still enough to get us across.
Once we cross the border, our friend will be waiting for us in a big car with carseats for the kids. Depending on how the crossing went, we will either drive straight home or stay in a nearby town for the night. It is about 7 hours from there to our home in Sulaymaniyah.
We will try to send updates along the way and I will post here as soon as possible. Most real-time updates will probably be on Instagram. If you don’t yet follow Matt and I, our user names there are caylaelisew and matt.willingham, don’t forget to check the ‘stories’ at the top of the Instagram feed.
Thanks for the prayers and all the love!
A few pics just cuz =)