Operation: Surprise Christmas

January 15, 2016 1 Comments

It was a Sunday.  I had known for months that my little brother was planning on bringing his girlfriend to Rome for Christmas to propose to her here and be with me for a little over a week, and also, little Jacob was tagging along.

After the morning’s busy service at church, I grabbed a quick pizza to go and headed to the train station to go to the airport to be reunited with my Bubba.  I was so distracted with my excitement for seeing him that I ruled out any possibility of surprises.

When I had arrived at the terminal, I saw him.  We both ran to each other.  I just about lost it!  I’ve always loved airports for this reason: emotional reunions with loved ones.  Prime people-watching.  However, it is very different to be the one displaying those emotions.

I was enraptured by the moment.  I love my brother and his beautiful bride-to-be, and that silly friend of ours, Jacob.

When I began to think about transporting them with their luggage, someone tapped me on my shoulder.  I heard her before I saw her.  My heart leapt out of my chest.  And boy, did I lose it!

I typically do not cry.  Unless God is really wrecking me, or I’m all by myself locked up somewhere with no eyewitnesses.  But let me tell you… I cried.  Very loudly, and unapologetically, if I may add.

If there ever were a season to have needed my mother, this was it.  I probably will not be able to articulate my time in Rome until much later in life.  This season of extreme stretching and growing has required me to lean solely in to God.  Especially being all alone in a new city, country, language, culture… I just know that having my mama, my best friend, someone who just gets it, was very much needed after 8 months of separation.

I don’t know how everyone back home kept it a secret.  I am in awe.


I know that I will remember the time we all spent together for the rest of my life.  For them, it may have been just a vacation.  But for me, I really think it helped restore me.  I was desperate for a break, for strength and encouragement, for a bit of normalcy, for a chance to catch my breath.

The mission field is a battle ground where workers are vulnerable to attack.  No one really tells you that before you go.  I’ve felt it, for sure.  I’m thankful for my family and friends who love me and know how to pray for me when I feel like I can’t.

The entire trip, I got to play Tour Guide Aly.  I got them where they needed to be,  I communicated and translated and navigated.  I loved getting to show off how much I’ve learned living here.  I am proud of myself; it has not been easy!  I believe we got to see everything they wanted, and more.

Stay tuned for more posts of our time together.  I hope that you enjoy these photos and that they inspire you to live life with more surprises and adventures with your loved ones in the coming months ahead.

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January 25, 2016

Alyssa

1 Comment

  1. Reply

    Ruthlee

    January 16, 2016

    It was like reading the latest in a book you just couldn’t put down. Can’t wait to hear of your growth, your experience and what God is doing. Write it! Reading it is intoxicating

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