The first in a series of fairly difficult decisions was the decision to have Jess and Sophie go back to the states without me. I say this was difficult, but the difficulty was not in knowing that the right decision was to send them home. The difficulty was not having them with me. On top of that, it was painfully difficult for Jess to leave her husband and our children here while she returned to safety. I know she would never be able to write about this because it was extremely emotional for her. It was the right decision because Sophie did not need to be here, but I know it killed her to leave. On top of that, we are much better when we are together in these types of situations. We think about different things, have different strengths, and in general operate better as a team. The truth is, when I got back in the truck after dropping her off at the airport, not only did I feel lonely, but I also felt incomplete and a little nervous. I was about to go through something pretty dangerous without half of myself and it was a difficult thing.
Let me reiterate before moving forward, we knew it was the absolute right decision, but sometimes the right decisions are quite difficult. In this case it was extremely difficult for both of us. When we realized the storm may turn toward Haiti on Saturday, I called American Airlines to see what it would look like to change their flight from Monday to Sunday. I talked to maybe the most helpful American Airlines employee I have ever spoken with and she made everything extremely easy for us. In fact, she kept their flight numbers the exact same, got them into Jacksonville by 3:00pm on Sunday, and we were not even charged a change fee. It was great. On top of that, Jessica’s Dad was visiting and I was able to change his flight and get him on the same exact flight with seats right next to Jess so he could help with Sophie through the airport. It was super easy and it was clearly one of the ways GOD blessed us during this time. It was so difficult sending them away, but American made the logistics simple for us!
In the end, it was clear that Sophie did not need to be in Haiti when a category 4 hurricane made landfall, but it was equally clear that I did need to be here for our kids. At this time, however, we did not know where or how the hurricane would hit. In fact, it really looked like it would make landfall in Jamaica and that we would get relatively few affects from the storm. We actually thought that I would make the Monday flight because it did not look that serious for Haiti…We were wrong. Having our home open to our kids and to our employees was so important and so necessary, and it was clear that GOD was even leading us in this decision. I am so glad that I was here for our kids so that they did not have to be scared and go through the storm without us! We really appreciate your prayers and all of the texts, phone calls, Facebook likes and comments, and everything else you have done to let us know you were thinking of us and praying for us. It was hard being apart, but you really helped!