Monday, June 9, 2014

They Say Half the Fun Is Getting There??? Travelling to Nicaragua

So we arrived at the Sioux Falls Airport on May 27 at 10am, eager to start our adventure.
 Nine of us, raring to go to, ready to serve.

Sometimes God has other ideas.

It was going so well until we got to Denver.   This was the first of 2 connecting flights.  We got into Denver - ahead of time!  Really - about 30 minutes ahead of schedule.

So how did we leave 2 hours behind schedule?

Houston had some bad weather.  Really, really bad weather.  They called a ground stop just as we were getting read to take off.  So we sat on the runway.  The pilot tried to reassure all the anxious passengers - if we couldn't take off for Houston, no one else could, so the connecting flights would most likely be delayed as well.

No, our flight wasn't.  It left Houston on time - 15 minutes before we landed.  The airport was a zoo - we weren't the only ones stranded there.

The airline had our boarding passes for the rebooked flight ready for us when we got off the plane.  I have to say United was on top of things.  The downside was that the flight wasn't for 24 hours.

After waiting in a long line for customer service just to make sure we had not other options and there was no earlier flight to Managua, we resigned ourselves to an overnight stay in Houston.  I contacted a few local colleagues to see if there was someplace in Houston where we could volunteer the next day and we headed for our hotel. (BTW - travel insurance is worth it!  Our hotel and meals were paid for.)

The next morning Josh O. gave an amazing devotional.  I love having someone else do the devotional - it's so nice to be able to just receive the Word!  He reminded us that even when we don't know what's going to happen or why, we need to just listen to what God is telling us.  Words we very much needed to hear that morning.

After several calls to several places my local colleagues had recommended for service work, we discovered that you can't just drop in and serve at most places in Houston.  We came to serve and we couldn't!  So disappointing.  So we decided to follow Josh's devotional and listen to what God was telling us to do - which was team building.

So we headed off to downtown Houston to the local aquarium, where we bonded over the novel experience of feeding sting rays.

Group building...

                                                        and serving some fishy snacks to the sting-rays!

We hustled back to the airport to make sure we got there in plenty of time.  We didn't want to miss our flight again!


Finally, we boarded and the flight took off on time.  Amazing cloud formations bid us adieu as we flew away from the States.  Finally we saw the lights of Managua.

The weary travelers received a warm welcome from Mike, the synod missionary, Helen, Maria and Luis.  Mario brought the bus around and we loaded up and headed for the retreat center.

We gathered on the veranda for our evening devotion.  We had felt so rushed in the morning and Josh's devotion was so perfect for us that we asked him to give it again.  

We needed to be reminded once more to slow down, and listen to what God was saying in, with and through the journey we were about to begin,

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