Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.
We met the Miller family two years ago at our church in Pyeongtaek, South Korea, when the Christmas Eve service was held in the preschool room instead of the upstairs hall. We were surrounded by ABC’s, the months of the year, and cut-out birthday cakes including one for Jesus. Like most church plants, the congregation started small with about five families gathered in a room singing Christmas hymns. I still remember Andrew guiding his boy, Carson, to the front to light the advent candles. Ava sat in her mother’s lap, both her and her brother’s eyes widening at the sight of fire. Their youngest child had yet to exist in her mother’s belly. During the sermon, I used to stare and admire LaVaughn’s curly hair.
Our trip to Miami, FL would have been very different and dull without such friends who are now stationed in the sunshine state. If it weren’t for the Millers opening up their home, we would have never decorated a Christmas tree nor toured a park full of twinkly lights. We would have never eaten all their homemade cookies out of their “kimchi” pot. And we especially wouldn’t have joined in on their fondue dinner and clinked mugs together, steamy with red, spiced wine. Friends are indeed the not-so-secret ingredient for Christmas cheer.
The Millers hosted us the first week in Miami along with the weekends in between airport locations and airbnbs. With a house key in hand, it was such a comfort returning to a safe home that didn’t require us to lock our bedroom door every time we left. Our space wasn’t shared with airbnb tenants but giddy kiddos who wanted to show off how fast they could run or twirl.
Yet even in the unexpected ghetto airbnb of southern Opa-locka, God gave us new friends. Ammar and Aswab are Pakistani med students in the process of shadowing medical teams and collecting letters of recommendation from local doctors. While John was diligently studying in our bedroom, I was so thankful for our roommates’ company. We hung out in the kitchen, swapped stories, and even planned a Saturday venture to the science center. Together we petted sting rays, marveled at Leonardo da Vinci’s inventions, and danced with light particles projected along the floor. I felt safe and cared for as if they were my brothers from another county.
The hard part about Miami was the constant change of schedule and training locations, and even the exam date of the checkride wasn’t definite. John’s experience of Miami was a glazed stare into his CFI (Certified Flight Instructor) study guide and 10am-5pm classes while I explored the sand and sun without him. I don’t want to complain here because the trip was good, but at moments, the Miami shoreline would tug at my ankles or wash over me completely with homesickness. We were finally in America but not quite home and the beachy December was too similar to Cali weather.
When the checkride was verified, God provided clear skies for the one task John came to Miami to complete. The CFI checkride was a ten hour ordeal that involved an 8 hour oral exam followed by a 2 hour flight and a fifteen minute break that John utilized for prepping a lesson plan. Great news is, my husband is a champ! He passed (: