Well, we made it. After 24 very long hours of travel and 6 hours of time change, 5 weary travelers arrived in Rwanda. Traveling always seems like a necessary burden of the trip given how long it takes and how draining it can be, but it is actually an important part of team bonding as you’re trapped together (either inside the security boundaries of an airport or in a metal box in the skies) with no where to go and nothing to do, but get to know one another- and we’ve had plenty of time for that.
After a smooth start at RDU, we had the ‘opportunity’ to sit on the tarmac in Chicago for 2 hours. I (Ford) watched almost an entire movie before the plane even took off. Of course, this lengthy delay began the ongoing transatlantic conversation of whether or not we would make our connection in Brussels.
When we landed in Brussels we sprinted all the way across the airport to a bus, which took us to a different terminal where our flight to Rwanda was boarding. It looked like Teresa was making a last minute bid for the US Olympic Track and Field team as she sprinted across the airport. As is so often the case, it ended up being a situation of hurry up and wait. Relieved to get to our terminal on time, we ended up standing in line for more than half an hour before we got to board our last flight. (If only the ground crew at the Brussels airport had hustled like we did. Our bags didn’t make the connection so we’re without all of our things for the next 2 days. Everyone’s spirit is great and we’re using it as an opportunity to lean on the Lord in dependence for what we need. It’s also a good reminder of how unimportant our ‘stuff’ really is!)
More movies (and the excellent services of a European International Flight) got us to the continent of Africa. Before we landed, we practiced our Kinyarwandan words and tried to remember the names and faces of many of our Rwandan friends that we were about to see.
There were several familiar and friendly faces at the airport, including a surprise visit by Rev Jean Baptiste, the Pastor of Runda. It was a joy to meet him!
Throughout the day, we reflected on Psalm 121 which states:
1 I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? 2 My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. 3 He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber. 4 Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. 5 The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade on your right hand. 6 The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night. 7 The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life. 8 The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.
We reminded ourselves that as we head to the Land of a Thousand Hills, the Lord is the one who will be watching over us. And we reminded ourselves that as we grow weary from travel and time changes and the discomforts of Africa, our Lord never grows weary. He never slumbers or sleeps. He will be watching over us when we are aware of Him and when we are not; when we are sensing His presence and when we are not. He will keep us secure in our going out and in our coming in. For that, we are thankful and in that we will rest tonight….really, really well.
Highlights of the Day:
- FOOD….LOTS and LOTS of FOOD
- French fries on national French Fry Day (July 13)
- Deep Dish Pizza in Chicago
- Actual (mulitiple) meals on each of our international flights
- Ice Cream Bars before we landed in Uganda for a pit stop
- Teresa & Sarah’s bites of chocolate after each meal
- A full 7-item meal ready for us when we arrived at the Halleluia House at 12:30am (after we’ve been up for 36 hours straight)
- Having too much luggage for the White Horse Van that picked us up at the Kincaid’s house
- Everyone getting TSA pre-check status - except for Ford
- Ford trying to be discreet at security while wearing a money belt with A LOT of cash strapped around his waist
- The smiling faces of our Rwandan friends waiting for us at the airport
*We want you to get to know the Rwanda Team over this trip. Below is a brief quiz from our discoveries today that we thought you might have fun with. Answers are below. Enjoy.
Who was most excited about the possibility of missing our connection and spending a day in Belgium?
Who saved the day by bringing laundry detergent in their carry on so that we could hand wash our underwear?
Who read the most on the airplane?
Who sacrificed the most on the airplane in order for Ford to have an aisle seat? (hint: It wasn’t Ford)
Who is most afraid of turning into a monster when they are tired?
Whose favorite genre of literature is ‘Amish Romance’?
c. Ashley & Teresa
Answers: 1. Ford 2. Sarah 3. Benji 4. Teresa 5. Ashley 6. C