As I sit here in Jason & Heather Casey's apartment typing this email, I am remain in a state of flux. I keep imagining myself waking up at any moment to find that I am not here. Our trip is still somewhat of a blur to me. We started out yesterday with a lack of sleep and 13 boxes of our personal goods. At first it appeared that we wouldn't be able to take all of them, even after I called and gotten approval from our airline's international department. However, it turned out to be just minor miscommunication. We were able to send all of them, and in fact the ticket agent told us he was only charging us for some of the boxes, not all! Then we were surrounded by close friends and family and allowed farewells to be said. That alone would have been hard enough, but the good-byes were just part of the emotion filled day. As we said our last "see-you-laters" We boarded the plane, where we sat in awe of what God has orchestrated thus far. We opened several cards and looked at pictures that were given to us by friends and family at the airport, which made us cry even more. The hour and a half flight seemed to be lost in the emotion of the moment as we thought of the past and anticipated what lie ahead.
We switched planes in Chicago and started the long last leg of the trip. Everything went on schedule for the second flight. Besides landing, the second most crucial thing we were praying for was customs. We had prayed that customs in Italy would go smoothly and there wouldn't be any problems. There was a chance that they would need to open every box, which would make the boxes harder to transport. The other concern was that some governments will add duty and taxes to goods even if they are used, which goes against most countries policies, but happens anyway. We were prepared to pay some duty if asked to, however the need never arose. We wheeled two carts and were followed by Airport Staff with two large carts carrying the boxes up to the customs gate. The customs official asked a few simple questions, including what was in the boxes. We replied household goods, clothes, movies, cd's, etc... I told him I had a fairly complete packing list, but as we were digging through our laptop briefcase he said, "It's okay, you can go on". Praise the Lord, we didn't even have to open one box. God works beyond our wildest dreams. As we wheeled around the corner we saw the smiling faces of Jason & Heather Casey. The Casey's were meeting us at the airport to transport us and our luggage to Perugia (about a 2 1/2 to 3 hour drive). The Milliser's remained home for lack of space and they also watched Jason & Heather Casey's son, Jacob. And the Cormodes are back in the states receiving new visas and visiting supporters, family and friends. They will be returning around the middle of April.
We arrived in Perugia around 1 pm and our first stop was the mall. We picked up some electrical needs and a cell phone. Any of you are free to call, it doesn't cost us anything to receive calls. Just remember we are seven hours ahead of most of you (in Central Standard Time), meaning your five o'clock is our midnight. However, we would love to hear from you. Our number is 011-39-340-5305186 (dial all of this for it to work, let me know if you have any trouble). Then for dinner we all went over to the Milliser's apartment to take part in a wonderful dinner.
Be praying for us as we search for an apartment. We are looking at one tomorrow. And will probably be looking for one for a couple weeks. We will continue to update you as we get settled in and we will also start adding pictures to our website very soon. We love all of you and thank you for caring about us and God's work in Italy. Thanks to all those who helped us pack and get ready. Also, thanks to those who joined us for our farewell party at Holiday Inn last week. If you any of you have any questions please feel free to ask.