Whew! What a unbelievable last few days! We left Thailand for the long trip to Mumbai, India on Friday evening. Our flight started out late and then on arrival had to circle for an hour, getting us on the ground around midnight. Then we had to wait 2 hours for our bags. We do not know why, as you know they have had some bombings in that city recently and perhaps that is the reason. We heard that there had been a threat at the airport. At any rate we were tired when we reached the hotel at 2:30, or 4 am Thailand time. We were up at 7 am to eat and head to the airport to go to Trichy. We mistakenly had our driver take us to the international airport because we did not know that there was a separate domestic terminal. About an hour before our flight we found that out and had to rush over to the other terminal, about 15 minutes by taxi. We made it on time and had a good flight. On arrival we collected our bags and went outside to meet the pastors who were picking us up, but they were not there. We were surprised but waited patiently for about 30 minutes. Finally we thought maybe they were at the international terminal in that city and I walked over to see, it was only a few blocks. No one at all was there. When I returned, they still had not come. I went over to a cab company office and asked if I could use their phone and called the pastors. The person at the office spoke in the language of the area and I could not tell what the conversation was but I assume she asked them where they were. They were at the airport waiting for us, just not the airport we were at, not even in the city we were at. We had flown to the wrong city! They were 440 Kilometers away. The names here are so long and difficult that we had failed to notice that we were headed to the wrong place. We had to rent a car to be driven to the right city, about 8 hours away. We were going to get to tour a large part of South India, something we had not planned on. On the way it started to get dark and I felt a critter crawling on my neck. I grabbed it and flipped it on the floor of the car. We turned on the light but could not see it. About a half hour later Edie had the same sensation and she gets a little more excited when things crawl on her in the dark. She flipped it off and this time we saw it, a large spider. We were able to kill it and no harm came to any of us but the spider. Edie actually maintained pretty good composure given the circumstances. The highway we were on started as a winding two lane but eventually connected with a very good divided highway. Still, occasionally we found others driving on our side of the highway in the wrong direction. It tends to make you a little nervous when it is a truck or bus coming at you. But by God’s good grace we arrived in Trichy around 9:30 safe and sound.
I mention these adventures not to complain, although we were tempted to do so at times. I mention it to show you what missionary life is sometimes like. These were not really ministry days, just travel days, but still they were a part of what it means for us to travel in order to do ministry. I spoke this morning in the church here and used this adventure to illustrate to them that God does not always take away all of our problems, but is always with us in them. At the conference my supervisor had said in a message he preached that we should not ask, “What is God trying to teach me?”, when we encounter troubles. Instead we should ask, “What does God want to show through me to others?”. Hopefully we are showing trust in an almighty great God who loves us even when we go to the wrong city!