Saturday, August 11, 2007

A Godly detour

"Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia." Acts 16:66

By now some of you've heard the story of our interesting beginning to our July mission trip. For those of you who haven't, here's the scoop. Our Delta flight from Flint was cancelled early morning July 11th (our departure day). That cancellation set off a series of events with us trying to get our group of 19 to Atlanta in time to connect with our scheduled flight later on that day to Johannesburg South Africa. The airline informed us that due to the size of our group our only option was to divide up; with 5 going to Detroit (myself, my 2 daughters, their college friend and another gal) and the other 14 heading to Lansing (since my husband and I were designated 'travel leaders' we went in different directions to assure that everyone was accounted for). Sounds like a plan, right? But as we'd soon discover....God had his own agenda. Well to make a long story shorter, what began that morning with a cancelled flight soon developed into a series of events/delays that resulted in our tiny group of 5 missing our connection in Atlanta. We had somewhat of a 'home alone' we literally stood at the window watching the plane that was carrying our other 14 teammates back away from the gate without us! Now what? We had no way of communicating with them as we wondered how and when we'd be reunited.

We stood in line that night for hours at the Delta reservation desk trying every possible attempt to get on a flight to anywhere...that could eventually get us to Johannesburg. But despite our persistent efforts we were informed that we'd be spending the night in Atlanta. They booked us on a flight for the next night to Frankfurt Germany and after a 12 hour layover there, we'd board another plane for an 11 hour flight to Jo-burg. The phrase 'be flexible' kept resounding in our heads (a phrase drilled into us during several of our team training sessions in the spring...ok, ok...we get it!). So here we were for the next 3 days...with just the clothes on our backs and our backpacks. I must admit there were times we were frustrated and tired, but we tried our best to make the most of it; verbally expressing things for which we were thankful to God, taking the Marta (subway) into downtown Atlanta to see the city, as well as catching the train into downtown Frankfurt for some sightseeing (an unexpected blessing). Exhausted, we even slept on some park benches along the Mein river (hey, it was peaceful:-). Eventually and by the grace of God we made it safely to Swaziland via Jo-burg where days later, we were joyously reunited with the rest of our group.

After taking some time to reflect on our little 'detour', all five of us soon began realizing that every step of the way God was not only with us...He was in it. God had a reason for keeping us off that flight. He was not only teaching us total dependance on Him right from the start, but He was providing multiple opportunities for many different people (in Atlanta and Frankfurt Germany) to hear of our mission for Jesus Christ. How exciting! You see...even though there's times when things don't go as we've planned...and even though there's times when we're frustrated and can't see what the outcome will be... and even though there's 'detours' in's comforting to know that God is in control and He knows what He's doing. It's true! For those of you who prayed for us...thank you very much. God answered. Here's some of the pictures taken during our 'detour':

5 'lost sheep' on the Marta in Atlanta........Lauren and Megan in the Frankfurt airport

Frankfurt train station............beautiful downtown Frankfurt

me & my girls along the Mein river........Yes!...souvenir T-shirts!

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