"Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer. Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality."
My SURPRISE home started being planned last November. The plan started being formulated when most of the ship crew around me were either going home for the holidays or forever. Hearing everybody talk about his or her families and loved ones, I started REALLY missing home. Over the next couple weeks, I worked out my ‘vacation time’ and booked my SURPRISE trip to go back to Boston in April. Five months later, I had told only 10 people from the US that I was coming home. *Thank you all for your good secret keeping and for working out all the details for the SURPRISE!! For anyone that has read my blogs or emails recently, you have seen that God has been showing me a lot more about what is going on in the world. Because of these hard realities, God knew the exact date and even time, that I would need to come home. My second flight left London 12 hours shy of the airport being shut down due to volcanic ash from the volcano eruption in Iceland. *Thanks everybody for your prayers! On my flight back to Boston, I woke up to hear them say ’90 minutes’. My mind started running as I thought about how in 90 minutes I would be surprising all my family and friends, and getting to see Duncan (my dog). As I started to pack up all my things, I looked up at the screen in front of me, and sadly read that we had only been FLYING for 90 minutes. After that smack in the heart, I knew there would be no more sleeping for Becca. Finally after sitting impatiently through over 300 minutes of airtime, we landed safely in Boston. As I stepped onto the solid ground of Logan airport I could barely contain my excitement. It had been almost 10 months since i had seen my family and friends. I think the last time that I had been that excited, was when my parents came to pick me up at after my first and last week of sleepover summer camp. WHile at Camp Happy T I cried all day and all night for my parents to come and pick me up. I wrote letters to them asking them why they would just leave me here and how it was the 'worst week of my LIFE!". Talk about a guilt trip!! hehe... (sorry mom and dad) Anyway, walking through Logan airport towards the pick up area, carrying only a backpack and a sign that read, “Have you seen my Mother?” I looked around impatiently for my Mom. Lynette, Annie’s mother in law, and myself had formulated a story to get my Mom to actually come to the airport to pick me up. A few minutes later I saw my Mom walk into the airport. Just seeing her, my throat got tight and my legs started involuntarily moving towards her. I placed the sign near my face and walked right up to her, until I was about 3 feet away. My mom, so intent on finding Diane, the fake flyer, didn’t even notice me until I tapped her on the shoulder and said “Hi” (*I originally had a great line I was going to say to her but honestly, I was so ecstatic that I could barely say Hi). After a few loooooong seconds she finally realized it was me. Her jaw dropped; her arms went limp by her side, and she just stared. I gave her a big hug… and then another one… and then another. By the third hug I realized she wasn’t actually hugging me back and actually wasn’t talking either. After realizing her catatonic state I started saying, “Mom, hug me.” “Mom pick up your arms and hug me. “ Finally, I just grabbed her arms and threw them around my waist and said, “Okay, now squeeze.” Six hours later, she finally started speaking. Phew! After surprising Mom, it was now Dad’s turn. I knew that my Dad was going to be busy with work so I talked to a few coworkers to start to plan out his schedule (Thanks Joyce, Erin, and Tammy). As planned, Dad was in the middle of a meeting with his boss when we arrived. My Mom walked into the meeting and said “Hi hunny. I brought you a surprise…coffee.” My Dad, caught off guard that my Mom would interrupt a meeting with his boss to drop off a 94-cent coffee, looked back and said “Thanks!” I then slid in behind my mom and jumped out and said “SURPRISE”, and in an Eyor tone he said “Wow. That is a surprise.” Okay so both of their reactions, which will now be called “The Catatonic Eyor Reaction”, will permanently be sketched in my brain. Being able to physically hug my parents, and see them face-to-face, after 10 long months, was priceless. I would have done the two-day, sleepless journey, and paid double, to do it all over again.
My heart was so full of love and joy after seeing them and then over the following couple weeks that I was home the feeling never stopped. I got to see Annie and Greg, my extended fam, my Mass fam, my friends, my dog!! I was overwhelmed by the love and support from everyone. I figured that these feelings, that these memories could never be matched or beat. Man was I wrong!! On Sunday morning my Mom and I got into the car, Taylor style (late), and made our way over to Immanuel Church, my church that I have been going to since the womb. As I walked into the church, my knees started shaking, my heart leaping, and my stomach churning; I couldn’t believe the emotions that were flowing through me. That feeling that I said couldn’t be matched or beat, well just walking into Immanuel it was amplified x 300 or more like 365 (each member.. hehe). I was seeing my brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, etc. I held back my tears as I sat in the pew looking around at all those that I love and missed. Words can’t even begin to describe the joy and love I felt at that moment. I truly felt like God, in that moment, showed me a glimpse of what heaven will be like. Before I left Togo, I had been challenged by God to talk 4 times in one day, at my two different churches. I started feeling stressed trying to plan for my time home. Putting together a powerpoint? getting pictures? what to say? How to say it? etc. And then I felt God saying to me… “Becca, who is doing this? me or you?” As soon as I remembered whose strength and words I would be relying on, I took this as a challenge. Over my 19 days home, I talked 11 different times all over Massachusetts. I talked at my churches, I talked with my friends, I talked at Christian and Public high schools, and I even talked at a State University. Before each talk, I prayed that God would speak through me and that he would soften the hearts and minds of those listening. I was nervous almost everytime but i prayed that even if it was just one person that was effected that God would use my experience with Mercy Ships, or my life story to touch someone’s life. My time home was not relaxing at all, but it was JAM packed with love, encouragement, and support. In my 19 days home, I cried every single day. Some days was because I was sad reminiscing about things I had seen in Africa, other days it was because I realized I was going to have to say good bye to all my loved ones again, and other times it was because I was laughing so hard. Flying back to Africa thinking about all these things, I wouldn’t take back a single tear or single conversation that I had. Thank you all for filling my love-o-meter. I think next time you need to surprise me, here!! See you in Africa!! xoxo
I am currently serving on the Africa Mercy with my husband Greg and daughter Hailey. We have been serving since 2009 and are currently docked in Guinea. Mercy Ships serves in West Africa by doing specialized surgeries to the poorest of the poor. I pray that God will use us in amazing ways and that in all we do it will be glorifying to Him. If you have any questions or want to learn more about Mercy Ships and how you can help email me at BeccaTatsea@gmail.com