Wednesday, April 6, 2011

We Made It Home

The last I wrote, we were going to be waiting until Monday night to head home. I finished writing that and laid down for a nap. When I woke up, Ken informed me we had new plans. We were flying out Sunday afternoon instead.

I had relinquished control of the situation to God and went to sleep, letting go of my worries and He provided a better solution to us getting home. We left Bamako on Kenyan Air (we still don't know what the Kenyan tickets will cost us). instead of Air Mali and flew to Dakar. We had an 11 hour layover in Dakar, so we planned to sit at the restaurant since the missionaries told us this was a good place to wait during a long layover. Just getting to the restaurant became a challenge because of all the guys that wanted to carry our bags for us. It seemed we had to drag guys up the stairs because they wouldn't let go of our bags.

We spent almost 9 hours in the mosquito infested restaurant at Dakar airport. Mostly, I read and did crossword puzzles. Ken got interested in some wrestling on TV and a few soccer matches. We had supper at the restaurant. I had nems, which we had several times in Mali this year. They remind me a bit of taquitos. The ones at the airport had seafood in them, so they were really good! Ken had grilled fish and said it was some of the best fish he's ever eaten. Thankfully, there were a few items on the menu we recognized from other menus we had seen in Mali! The menus were in French and the waitress apparently didn't speak any English.

We went to check in for our flight and they were having computer problems and our names were not on the list of passengers. So, we had to go to the South African Airlines' office. They charged us $200 each because of the flight changes. They said that usually, Air Mali would pay that penalty for us, but that Air Mali hadn't done that in this case. They said we could submit the receipt to Air Mali for reimbursement. I have my doubts that will ever happen with Air Mali. Lesson learned: check with the missionaries and find out which airlines are most reliable and stick with those, no matter the price difference.

Finally, we were on a flight home. I slept about 6 or 7 hours on the plane. When we got to New York, we were there for a 7 hour layover. We had coffee and pastries for breakfast and fast food for lunch before flying out. It was just good to be back in the USA where most airport employees speak English. I spent most of my down time listening to music and catching up on emails and stuff. It was so good to talk to Sarah and Zac on a cell phone! We had a slightly rough flight, flying through storms into Columbus. I thought I was going to get sick with the plane bouncing all over.

When we got into Columbus, Sarah and Zac were sitting waiting on us! It was so good to see them! It was so good to be home! We headed to Red Robin for supper! It was good to have a huge hamburger with a fried egg on it! We serve an amazing God! The time in Mali was so blessed by God. Our flight home was guided by His hand! I praise God for this great trip! Please pray that the phone system at the hospital will continue to be a blessing to all the hospital employees and that through this means of communication, lives will be saved and Malians will come to know Christ!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

God Is In Control

I think this whole flight home thing is a way God is showing me that I'm not in control of anything in this world. Thank God, He is!

Our tickets have been transferred to Monday/Tuesday flights with the same airlines. We have to keep a very close eye on Air Mali flight schedules for Monday and be sure our flight out does not get cancelled/postponed. If this flight gets cancelled/postponed, we have to try to get on an earlier Air Senegal flight, paying for a ticket. I'm not sure if we'd have enough cash with us to get the tickets, so we'd have to see what we could work out. If the Air Mali flight leaves much later than scheduled, we'll probably miss our connecting flight in Dakar again. At this point, the best situation would be the Air Mali flight leaving on time. Please pray and have everyone you know pray that this flight will remain on time and that we will be able to get started home!

On a different note, we've had the opportunity to do many things today we wouldn't have gotten to do. We went to a yard sale at the U.S. Embassy in Mali. We also got to go tile shopping with Kristen, Angela, and Doug. It's fun to see the shops and all that goes on in the streets here. We've also gotten a little taste of what happens when a missionary gets a house and has to do the usual "decorating". We had lunch at a great, new, little place. It was amazing!

I'm really missing my wife and son. It's been over two weeks now since I've seen them. The fact that our arrival home was seriously delayed isn't helping that much. I am very thankful that we have quite a bit of support from the local missionaries and a safe, comfortable place to rest.

Please continue to pray for our flight situations. Please also pray for me as I struggle through letting God have control over the situation! Please pray that our bodies will hold out and that we'll get the rest/sleep we need when we need it. Please pray for Ken as he took the last anti-malarial pill he brought with him. That leaves a few days without it. Please also pray for our families at home who are trying to stay strong even with all the delays and confusion.

Thank you to all our prayer warriors out there! Your prayers have been greatly felt throughout this trip! We are very blessed to have such faithful prayer warriors on our side. We are also extremely blessed to have a relationship with the one true God! It's hard to see so many people here that do not know the one true God that I know.