I had it in my mind for the past month that his arrival time was 1:40 pm on Thursday, October 13th. I had told his best friend, Donnie, Jordan was arriving at that time and Donnie made plans to meet us at the airport. As I gathered things together that morning I picked up Jordan's itinerary and gave it one more look and it was a *really* good thing I did. As I looked again at his arrival time it was actually for 12:40 pm!!! I don't know how I missed that but I was thankful that we caught my mistake early enough to still make it to the airport in time to get him!
In the pouring rain Tim and the girls put up letters on the garage door that spelled out "Welcome Home Jordan". They had to hang the letter up high on the door because of the rain. At least up high they were a little sheltered from the rain.
On Monday night we had made a FINISH LINE banner for Jordan and wrote all kinds of fun things on it. He is a runner and in his last letters of his mission he compared the ending of his mission to running a race. He said that in a race you can't slow down at the end, that you have to keep on going just as fast. He didn't want to slow down at the end of his mission; he wanted to keep going just as he had been. So, we made him a finish line to greet him at the airport. We all laughed when Abigail thought she was looking up phrases she wanted to write in Portuguese but it was actually set for Spanish so the banner has some Spanish phrases on it! :)
So we waited at the airport with our banner and our balloons. His flight arrived and we were so anxious to see him coming down the escalator. Except, he didn't come. We waited and waited. Lots of other people came down but not Jordan. Some ladies came down and commented on the FINISH LINE sign and asked who that was for. We said that our son was returning home from serving a mission in Brazil for 2 years and to that they exclaimed that they had sat next to him on the plane! Well, that was good news to at least know that he was on the flight!!! We were beginning to think he missed the flight! The ladies said what a nice young man he was and that he had said he wanted pancakes and eggs when he got home! We laughed and said that he had told us he wanted barbecue and cold root beer and that we hoped he wasn't disappointed with our choice of where to take him for dinner that night! The ladies stepped off to the side to get their luggage and then came back over and said, "We want to see him when he comes down!" So they waited with us, perfect strangers who wanted to see our happy reunion with our son. That made me smile.
We continued to wait, and wait and wait. Finally nearly 20 minutes after the flight had arrived Jordan made his descent down the escalator. (He later confessed he was delayed because he stopped by the bathroom and took his time because he knew that I had said in my e-mail that his flight was coming in at 1:40 so he figure we wouldn't be there waiting for him!) First we saw only shoes but as those moving stairs carried him ever closer he came into full view. What a wonderful sight it was to see him in person after 2 years away. I swear he got taller but his eyes were the same and so was his smile.
Donnie got Jordan coming down the escalator and breaking through his FINISH LINE banner on video. We posted it on Facebook for the world to see. :) It's embarrassing to see yourself on video crying and to have your friends say, "You were sobbing!" Yes I was.
After the video we did a few still pictures. This one is Jordan with his brothers and sisters (minus young Tim -- how we wished Tim and Lisa were able to be there with us.) and his best friend, Donnie. Jordan and Donnie have known each other since 2nd grade. Donnie wrote to Jordan while he was gone, something a lot of "friends" say they will do but didn't necessarily do.
After the airport we came home until it was time for Jordan to be officially released from being a missionary. It wasn't until 6:00 pm Thursday night that that would happen so we brought him home, fed him a few McDonald's cheeseburgers and some fries that we picked up on the way home and gave him ice cold root beer. :)
He filled in the last remaining circle that counted the days he was gone. He looked around the house catching up on his surroundings. We asked him lots of questions and played some Catch Phrase (a family favorite!) and laughed...a lot. :)
Jordan was released by Sam Thomas that evening. We took a group picture afterwards, just like we took a group picture when we was set apart 2 years ago.
After Jordan's release we took him to a barbecue place called JJ McBrewster's and had some really good food and Jordan got to use an iPhone for the first time!!!! It's amazing how technology changes in 2 years!
Jordan and Andrew
After dinner we headed home and we did what we always like to do. I turn the camera to the backseat, hold it up and count to three and CLICK! It's any one's guess what we'll get and that is what makes it fun! :)
So, Jordan is home with us once again. We are enjoying hearing about his experiences and stories from Brazil. In the course of 2 years he has grown into a great young man and his faith in God has grown immeasurably.
These are one of the pairs of shoes that Jordan had on his mission. After miles and miles of walking day after day they wore out. It made me smile that he just put them in a plastic bag, Brazilian dust and all, and brought them home. I had to take a picture of them. They tell a story -- a wonderful story of a mission well served.
Another chapter now begins for Jordan. He is busy looking for a job, getting reacquainted with his friends, and adjusting to life again. While he was away we counted the days till he came back home. Now it seems that we are counting a little differently..... compliments of Abigail and Annah. :)