Just eight days ago, my only mental images of Colombia were from the fun & far-fetched ’80s movie, Romancing the Stone. I totally! dug this movie as a kid, mostly, I’m sure, because Michael Douglas was at the height of his hunkiness and the main character, Joan, was living my then-dream: she was a romance novelist whose imaginative adventure came TRUE!

During the last 18 months or so, my real-life adventures have far outweighed my imagination, and last week in Colombia beat them all. Since we got home Friday night, we have been blessed with captive audiences – family AND concert audiences – who wanted to hear about our experience, see our pictures, and ask us questions. Even I am a little astounded at how much I now *know* about the work of Compassion International… but I am not surprised at how excited I am to share it.

I cannot possibly sum up the events, feelings, learnings, meetings, experiences, heartbreaks, and inspirations of last week. I imagine that I will be pondering them, writing about them, reliving them for a long time. I am still waiting for that A-HA! moment when everything becomes clear… all of the changes in our lives this past year and a half. But my new friend – mi amiga nueva? – summed it up so beautifully on Wednesday night, during our unforgettable dinner with Compassion’s ‘cream of the cream of the cream of the crop’ Leadership Development students. One of ‘the Vivianas’ told us in Spanish (with such animation that she was EASY to understand!) how she tells God what she wants to do, expecting Him to answer, ‘Oh, of course! Of course!’ But our dreams are all about HIS TIMING.

God knows Rod and I – and Paige, our newly blogging champion of a daughter, FYI – are itching for the Next Chapter. It’s not just about moving to a new place (because that is such a bittersweet, complicated step)… it’s about how all this stuff we’ve been doing comes together. And the answer to that is… just wait. We’re going to have to wait on God’s timing to know what the big picture is for us. But in the mean time, we are so, so, so fortunate to have many projects, many opportunities, many spinning plates, to keep us productively occupied. And now that we have been on a Compassion trip, an international adventure… our thirst for travel has grown immensely. Indeed, Lord, enlarge our territory!

Meanwhile, as I sit here about halfway through Joan Wilder’s adventure, complete with rugged Jack T. Colton, great one-liners, and a lot of action (and such a pretty Kathleen Turner!), I have to admit: I am still entertained, but really, I am just watching this silly film to feel a little closer to Colombia tonight. A week ago right now I was just arriving, and now I am missing it terribly. There is family there who feels so far out of reach (which makes me eternally grateful that The Vivanas have found us on Facebook. YAY internet!!)… there is a city there whose chaos and colors and flavors make my home street about as boring as a pile of dirt.

My adventure did not involve gunshots (THANK GOD!), crocodiles, treasure maps, or cartels… It was all about children, young adults, servants, hope, and results. It was about showing me that one person can make a difference, so I can show as many people as I encounter. It filled my heart with humility and graditude, and it filled my life with new people to appreciate, honor, and love.

Yesterday during a visit with our son (Yes & yay!), he asked me if our trip changed my life. I said YES – for I am changed in every way–not in a dramatic “let’s throw away all our possessions and set up a 3rd world mission” kind of way, but in that my perspective of EVERYTHING has shifted. If one person can make a difference, then God, let it be me every chance I can have.