Ben and I had enjoyed lunch at a local burger joint in the Portland Airport and with full bellies we waited for the long journey that awaited us.
As we waited inside the gate, just as our boarding zone was called, my cell phone alerted me that the next leg of our journey had been canceled and that it was being rerouted.
We both thought, “No need to check now, we’ll figure it out on the ground in Seattle.” So, off we went to Seattle to meet up with Paul Moody, and Liana and Becky Novak — our American traveling companions. We found out from a flurry of texts once we landed that Paul was stuck in Spokane, and we were trapped in Seattle. When we landed, we discovered that the second leg of our itinerary, the flight to Amsterdam had been canceled. We also learned that had we stayed in Portland we would have been able to get to Amsterdam via Minneapolis.
With myself, Ben, Liana and Becky stranded in Seattle, and with a far longer itinerary ahead, we needed to make sure we all made the same flight, and at that point, Paul was headed to Amsterdam via Minneapolis without us.
We talked to four agents on the phone, two agents at a desk and one at the special services desk, all to get on the same plane. It was a long day, but all we could do was roll with it.
We were given food and hotel vouchers. Ben and I ended up hanging out in the hotel room and relaxing and were able to get a good night sleep before the trip. The girls meet up with friends and then the following morning we were all able to get to the airport.
There were many opportunities to get frustrated, exasperated and angry. But ultimately we could not change it, and simply had to accept what would be. On the plane, as we were taking off, the person I was sitting next was very angry at being delayed a day. Everything was the fault of the airline, the long line at the ticket counter, the frequency of announcements interrupting his movie, the plane itself, everything was wrong and bad.
He also made no attempt to hide his frustrations.
There are times in life where we must accept the circumstances we find ourselves in and walk forward in patience, we aren’t going to make it better and getting angry or impatient makes us look bad and really does not allow our light to shine. On a side note, the flight we were booked on was added to the regular schedule and was half empty. It was the most comfortable international flight I have ever been on. People had full rows to sleep on. God knows what He is doing.
During the night in Seattle I was sitting and thinking about the day that had gone “wrong.” I realized that I had not taken the time to pray, I had not stopped and asked God for His guidance and that things would go well. I had been so busy I had not involved Him in my life that day at all. So the next morning as a group and privately we took time to pray to ask God for the protection we needed, to ask for His intervention that we would arrive safely and that we would have favor in the eyes of the officials so that our arrival in Africa would be smooth. Not that God is a maid or a genie, that we can simply make every request that we need, but that we need His intervention and we need Him in our lives in all aspects. As we traveled through the day everything went smoothly. We were able to make our flights, we were able to get through customs and everything went according to plan. So often we get so busy that we forget to involve God in our plans.
Pray for His guidance, His protection, and His involvement in our lives because He cares for us.
Being able to travel, if we have the opportunity, gives us a chance to see how people live in other places. To see their struggles, their accomplishments, and their goals. A big part of it as well is just the ability to be able to function in a place that is not home and is outside your comfort zone. It provides perspective.
When boarding the plane for Ghana it was interesting that when it was time to board, we just got up all at the same time to board, no zones, no nothing, one line and go. When we landed coming out of the airport you enter a square area where a large gathering of people are looking for customers, family, and friends. It was like entering an arena and you are the sport. It was, just a different and interesting perspective.
Once on the ground, we were able to get out into the country and it was all new — the sights, the smells, the sounds… An interesting perspective on how life works for our brethren in other parts of the world.