Trip Start Feb 06, 2007
21Trip End Apr 26, 2009
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Leaving the school on Friday, I prepared myself mentally (I guess you could say that) for the rather emotionally challenging weekend that lay ahead of me. My parents put together a Bon-Voyage celebration at my home church on Saturday night. It was fairly well attended--about 80 of my closest friends and family came out to wish me well...and sat through a very informal discussion on the challenges that lay ahead of me in Paraguay. My parents invited several local, state, and federal elected officials that represent us to attend the dinner. Many declined, but sent nice letters, certificates, and proclamations -- all of which were presented to me by 2 officials that did accept the invitation--our "distuinguished" members on the Sumter County Council. Eveyone in attendance was delighted to learn that Saturday, February 3 was proclaimed to be "Trevor Ivey" day in both the city and county of Sumter...hmmm....I thought when I heard the proclamations read aloud....the power I beheld! "No taxes," I quickly stated which was anxiously received with great applause from the audience. I was rather humbled by the thoughtfulness of the well wishes from the people who represent us in government...the very same people whom I once day wish to unseat. I am so grateful to have a wonderful family--two loving parents who would do anything they could to help me, two great sisters and a fabulous brother (who, if you didn't already know is getting married in August to the lovely Nikki Miller). My dad spent his entire day off from the fire department cooking some good ole BBQ chicken...as I write this, the family dog, Tugboat, is still enjoying the remnants outside in the cooler. My mom made sure that there was plenty of side dishes. My aunts Angie, Brenda, and Julie were there to help...Angie manned the "welcome" table with such admirable professionalism and my aunts Brenda and Julie worked tirelessly manning the kitchen. The evening could not have been possible without the help of my pastor, Paul Goff. He MCed the evening's program and led the group in a special time of prayer in our church Sanctuary. Rev. Goff presented me with a small "travel size" copy of the Bible whith my named engraved on it. That really made the evening special for me. At the conclusion of the evening, I bid farewell to several of my closest friends...
The next morning, I prepared to bid farewell to my church family. I didn't have the luxury of explaining to the many in attendance that weren't able to be at the Bon-Voyage celebration what I was going to be exactly doing in the Paraguay jungle. Instead, I used the time that was given to me to reflect on what my church family could be praying about for me and to "thank" those what specifically had a hand in raising me! I got through a very emotional song that I decided to sing..."Thank You" by Ray Boltz. It was perfect for the occasion. I called down to the front pew a handful of senior members in the church who have known me since I was a little boy who never stopped believing in me no matter how bad of a boy I was! It is because of them, that I am who I am and where I am today. After the song, "Bubba the Baptist" paid a special visit to our church and asked me to return a fishing rod n' reel to Brazil, who manufactured the defected product. I hope that Paul continues to invoke that kind of humor into his sermons on Sundays...I don't think he realizes fully how much more it adds to the ambience of reverence in the church. God loves to see His children laugh and have a good time, but at the same time, He loves to see His children studying His word and spreading It. The church took up a special love offering to assist in my two years living abroad at the conclusion of the service. I was overwhelmed by the generosity of my church family in their financial giving...I mean this was people's hard earned money. I hope and pray that I will not let them down with the results the become of this great adventure. One thing that I pride myself on now is the fact that I don't believe that I will ever forget who I am or where I came from....and the people that have helped me get to where I am at today!
Tonight is Monday...the eve of my staging event in Miami. My family is gathering together here at my parent's house for one last "Taco Night." I am looking forward to spending this time with them. Tomorrow, I leave bright and early about 6 am for Columbia airport. My flight doesn't leave until 9:30 am. I will be going to Charlotte first, and then at 11:30, I will leave for Miami. I will arrive in Miami around 1:30 to meet the other members of the G-23 training group (about 30 of us all going to Paraguay)...oh, the anxious feelings about this. I will spend the next couple of days in Miami getting acquainted with the expectations and goals of Peace Corps service and getting prepared to leave for Paraguay...ew...the malaria shots...pray for me!
Until next time....your ambassador to the world,