My day started off well when a pastor friend of mine called before church to wish me well, and more importantly, to pray with me. He assured me that he would be praying for me the entire trip. That's the kind of news that I desire to hear most of all, for if I need anything on this trip, I need prayer. Prayer that I'll teach well, prayer that the students will be able to learn, prayer for my flights, my health, and particularly my bad back and hip. (I fell off a ladder about a week ago and I've been struggling ever since.)
While the phone call was good, the part of the day that keeps being replayed in my mind is that extended moment when I kissed Bonnie goodby and she kissed me in return. I held her tight and whispered in her ear how much I love her. She whispered back the same. We've played this scene literally dozens of times in our short marriage (28 years), but it never gets any easier for some reason. I still get tears in my eyes…every time.
Arriving at the airport, I checked in my luggage without incident, but lost the boarding passes I printed up at home. "Great, "I thought, "I haven't even left home and I've forgotten something." Ah well, it was an easy fix. The people at the check-in counter were kind. The TSA agents (before whom I had previously searched very pocket…twice), just smirked, but it was a friendly smirk.
One interesting aspect of this trip is the number of people who, in one way or another, have expressed genuine concern about my safety while in Africa. One told me that she had a bad feeling that I was going to be in some sort of danger. Even Bonnie wanted to be reminded of who I desired to officiate my funeral. Of course, we'd had a talk about funeral plans about two weeks earlier (just because the subject came up somehow), but asking me just before I fly to Africa was a bit odd. Still, Bonnie and I both know that the safest place to be is in the center of God's will. When you really trust in the providential care of the Almighty, you can be just as serene across the globe as you are in your own bed.
Arriving in Chicago, I picked over-priced McDonalds instead of over-priced "gourmet" salad (whatever that means). I think I made the right choice.
The flight to DC was overbooked. But surprisingly all went well. We arrived on time, no lost luggage, prompt service from the hotel, clean room. All in all, the best you could hope for in air travel.
I sat next to a charming young girl of 23 who was just returning from a cousin's wedding. Her last name was French, but she raised horses, studied Spanish and let me talk her ear off, so I didn't hold it against her. Yeah, I think that's big of me too! :-)
Well, an uneventful day is coming to an end. Those are the best days when it comes to travel. Probably won't post tomorrow as I won't arrive in Burundi until Tuesday. If I can make it happen in Rome, I'll do so.
Thanks for praying and keep checking back!