Wayfaring Stranger


Sorry I couldn't come up with a better subject than "WOW!", but that just about says it all.

We started our trip on Friday. Our plane was supposed to leave at 2:00pm, but it was delayed for an hour and a half. We only had about a 3 hour layover in Chicago, so things are getting tight. We taxi out to our runway and I hear the engines shutdown! The pilot comes on the PA and says Chicago has institued a "ground stoppage". Meaning it is under severe weather and can't land planes so no one is allowed to take off if they are headed there. And "we will be getting an update in an hour and fifty minutes! There goes our London connection :-( When we get our update, we get good news ... the ground stoppage is lifted and we get to take off first!!! ... in an hour and fifty minutes. After taking off, we were delayed by five and a half hours total. And we probably have to get a hotel in Chicago or maybe London.

The flight goes pretty well and we get to Chicago at 9:25pm. Luckily the last flight to London is still at Chicago and is scheduled to leave at 10pm. So we run to the gate and the queue is WAY backed up. We finally get to the head of the line and find a sympathetic ear in the form of Robert O. gate agent extrodinaire. He frantically types for the next half hour and manages to get all 7 of us on the flight to London. No hotel in Chicago!!! Wooopeee! But we don't get off the ground till about 11pm.

The flight to London takes about 7 hours and 11 minutes and we land (after much turbulence) and unbelievably the Ekat flight has not taken off (I guess the 5:30 hour delay was less than the total layovers we had scheduled) but it is going to leave in 20 minutes. We were in Heathrow and it would take probably 50+ to make that trek (terminal change, security checkpoint, etc...) so they told us "too bad so sad".

What to do next? The next British Airways flight would be in a day or two and the English classes would already be underway.

We went to the AA counter and found another brilliant agent with a sympathetic ear ... What's that you said. "Two helpful AA employees??!??" Yes, I guess God really was looking out for us because BOTH of the helpful AA employees were sent our way :-D This time we got diverted onto a Lufhthansa flight from London to Frankfurt to Ekat.

So the only flight on our itinerary that we actually flew was Dallas to Chicago. Everything else was reaccomodations. And all of the reaccoms happened very quickly. We ran from gate to gate and terminal to terminal. Not surprising, our bags could not run as fast as we did :-D So we show up in Ekat and have no bags. We expected this, but were happy to finally step off onto Terra Firma and not have to make any more mad dashes to make connections.

So, "What's it like to be in Ekat without bags?" you say. Well, not everyone had emergency clothes in their bags. Some packed their coats. All the lesson material are in our bags. All our candy and gifts are in those bags. All toilitries are in those bags (no gels and liquids in carry ons). We are pretty much living "with the shirts on our backs". BTW, it may be Wednesday or later for bag ETA.

But that doesn't dampen our enthusiasm. We know even more than before that God is working here in Ekat. We have seen spiritual warfare here in years gone by and it has ratched up a notch this year. We have seen attachs on Bear being in school, people dropping off the team, challenges getting support raised, and the latest attack -- trying to keep us from getting here at all. Well, guess what? It didn't work. We are here and we are excited to get to teach the English classes which will help launch the ministry for the next year and help to launch the church plant.

Please PRAY! Pray for rest and unity. The trip was really hard and we are still catching up on rest. And tired people can sometimes do or say things or hear things wrong. Pray that does not happen. Pray for transperancy and integrity, because we want the students to see God and not us. Good news, Darin had more students turn out than they could take! So we have the best of the best in our classes. Pray that they come back and don't get scared off in the first few days.

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