As the sun peeked over the horizon, Jack turned over in his sleeping bag and the sun hit him directly in his eyes and it woke him up. Jack couldn’t help but be a bit nervous but very excited for the day. Jack packed everything up in his backpack and went to hide his backpack in the brush that was right behind where he slept.
As Jack began looking around again, he started realizing he was much further in the tribe’s land than he thought. As a matter of fact, he seemed to be almost in the middle of their settlement, not on the outskirts. The map showed the cemetery on the outskirts but there were huts and houses all around him. And that’s when he noticed something that would change the journey forever.
It was a sign on the front of a building. It was in Portuguese and it said Escola em Monumento de McKinney. He had to think back to when he spoke Portuguese to figure it out. It was hard, really hard because he just couldn’t put it together and then it finally hit him. The sign said School in Memory of McKinney. His last name. What he had feared must have been true. His parents didn’t survive. But why was the school in their memory?
Jack began crying because he knew he would not find his parents but he so badly wanted to know what happened and why the school was in their memory. Would that mean they respected his parents or what? What did it mean. And with that thought, Jack heard someone behind him. He knew he had been alone and now, he could feel someones presence.
As he turned around, he saw two men standing there. They appeared to be friendly and he soon found out they spoke fluent English. They did not give their names but Jack began telling them why he was there. He told them his name, Jack McKinney. He asked them if they knew who he was and they said yes. “We’ve been expecting you for many years Jack,” the older one said quietly. “What took you so long?”
Jack was more than shook by this and fell to his knees crying out. Now what? What happened to his parents and could these men lead him to the truth? As Jack began standing up, the men took him by his arms and said, “If you will trust us, we’ll show you what you are looking for.” Jack couldn’t turn this down.
As they walked for the next hour or so to the main part of the settlement, they two men explained to Jack that the portion of the settlement he was on was a newer settlement that his parents helped start. Jack was in total awe and just didn’t know what to say.
As they continued their talk, they explained that they were the leaders of the jail. The tribal leaders had arrested John and Stacy for teaching English in the region. The guards knew they had no reason to be jailed and over the first year of their time in jail, they had taught the guards and their fellow captives English. As the second year came around, the guards would take them out at night and allow them to start teaching English to the rest of the settlement. For the next 12 years, they taught English to those who wanted to learn and helped those tribe members build their own settlement. One with a school.
But in the 13th year of their capture, the tribal leaders found out they had been teaching the guards and their families English and were put to death. The guards comforted Jack as he found this out but they both wanted him and the rest of their family to know they were heroes to the tribe members. They helped start the most forward thinking tribe in the region and with their teachings, they were able to overthrow the tribe leaders and elect their own leaders. Without the McKinney’s teaching and their death, this would not have been possible they explained.
Jack’s mind was still reeling when they said, “Here is what you’ve been looking for Jack.” It was a very nice area with 2 headstones. As Jack moved closer to them, he saw their names. Jack took out his camera and took a picture. He couldn’t believe he was actually finding his parents again. He was noticeably upset but he was so proud to be their son. Finding this place and these men brought truth and closing to him. The men asked Jack if he wanted to take them home and Jack could only say, “they are home here. This is their final resting place and I’m good with that.”
Jack thanked the men and asked if they had a faster way back to his home. They were happy to help him with this request. As Jack got into their helicopter, he couldn’t wait to get back to Shelly, Miguel and Mary. To know the truth was better than he expected. But why was he led here to this place at this time was still going through his mind.
Jack finally got the courage to ask the men if the school was still open. They explained to him it closed a little over a year ago because their only qualified teacher had passed away. She was taught to teach by John and Stacy. This news hurt Jack very badly and coudn’t believe what they were saying about the school.
As Jack got off the helicopter, Shelly was waiting for him. What had he found and why was he so happy? As he began talking to Shelly, he broke down. He explained he had found the truth and his calling. Shelly couldn’t believe it as he went through the past 10 days and what he had found. Shelly and Miguel were so happy. They had no idea what Jack might find but were so pleased in every way possible.
So, as Jack folded his last shirt and put it in his bag, he knew he had grown and knew exactly how much. He also found out that the truth will set you free and set you to your true calling. After his bag was packed Jack went to the airport and took his flight back to Kansas City. But this time it would be his last trip to Kansas City.
Jack had decided to follow his calling and teach in the school in the settlement his parents helped start. He couldn’t believe it but knew this was the right thing to do. It was his way of moving on and moving up. He would be close to Shelly, Miguel and Mary and would be able to help all of them. Jack had not only found the truth during the journey but had found his calling. Now he was headed to help everyone he came in contact with to find their calling.