While this was a rather quick and short trip, it was not a surprise, at least not for me. I had been planning it all year. My original plan would have had me in the UK for over two weeks but the lack of finances held me back from purchasing the ticket when the original plan was made. This turned out for the best however, as I was able to spend so much of that time on the Pacific Hope in Hakodate.
The main reason for going was to surprise Sarah at her YWAM DTS graduation in Nuneaton. I was scheduled to fly to UK on the Wednesday, the day after I returned from Hokkaido and the dry-dock. However, that day was the tail end of the dust storm from China. The extra strong winds delayed our departure so much that they had to abandon the take-off due to using too much fuel just getting to the front of the line. We had spent five hours on the plane from boarding to getting off! Two hours waiting to join the line to run way, two hours in line as priority was being given to landing planes and another hour after deciding to cancel the flight, due to having lost too much fuel, before we were able to disembark! Fortunately Sarah’s graduation was on the Friday evening so I still had time to get there.
The staff at the King’s Lodge where Sarah took her DTS were wonderfull co-conspirators, so when I arrived I was whisked quickly into the guest rooms served diner and secretly escorted to the hallway outside the the meeting room where everyone was was waiting expectantly for the ceremony to begin. Rick Joyce (staff on Sarah’s DTS) was chairing the meeting and he began by introducing the other parents who had come to the King’s Lodge to be a part of the celebration. Sarah celebrated with her classmates without the slightest hint of an idea in her mind that I was just outside the room. I am deeply indebted to Stephenie Hay (Staff on Sarah’s DTS) who made the digital recording of Sarah’s surprised face when she actually realised that I was there!
Of course a trip to UK would not be complete with out eating “Fish & Chips” so just to show that I did fulfil my obligation to renew my cultural heritage, I included a picture. I did also take advantage of being in the UK to visit my mother a couple of times. I believe that she is around 90 now, which is pretty awesome for someone who was told she would not live to be twenty!
I sometimes wonder now, was that the last time I will see my mother alive? It was such a short time really but I was so glad that it was an opportunity realised. We didn’t get to say too much to each other but then, words were not really needed. Just being together, holding her hand and telling my Mum how much I loved her was such a memory to take back with me to Japan.
I could go on and on about this amazing woman who in the midst of so many obstacles raised five children right after World War Two during which she had served as a nurse treating those injured in action. (Which is how she met my dad). However, separation from family is part of the call in overseas missions and I KNOW that I will see her again when this life is all over and done with and we shall talk again!
Well, duty calls and I need to return to Japan for our National Staff Conference. I can’t leave the UK however, without one last hearty breakfast. Tastes that I left behind and are not so easily available in the land of the rising sun!