Monday, August 1, 2011

Safe Arrival in Uganda

Our ministry time in India ended well and we were encouraged by the prospect of future training in the area. We become close to the three leaders there who initiated the training and treated us so kindly. We look forward to working with them in the future. We had a relatively uneventful flight from Trichy to Chennai and on to Mumbai. At Mumbai we got our luggage very quickly this time and then waited in line for the bus to transfer us to the international terminal. We loaded our luggage under the bus and headed around the inside of the airport to the other side. Half way around the bus stopped and other buses started going around us. One of the passengers asked the driver what was going on and he said we had a flat tire and would have to wait for another bus. Sometime later another came and we had to transfer to it. It was raining and Edie rushed over to the other bus, leaving me to carry 4 suitcases in the rain. She wondered why I was being so slow. She didn’t realize that we had to transfer the luggage ourselves.

Once inside the terminal we began to have problems. Because she was going home to Minneapolis and I was going on to Uganda we had different airlines to get boarding passes with. My flight was 2 hours later than hers so my ticket booth was not open. We had to sit for two hours before she could go into the area where the eating places etc. were. She finally went ahead alone and I went to get my boarding pass. I then found out that my flight would be 2 1/2 hours late, leaving at 5:30 in the morning instead of 3 am. This meant I would miss my connecting flight in Nairobi to Uganda. When I finally got into the terminal and found Edie, I had misunderstood and could not find my gate. The had told me they put me on another flight, but I didn’t realize it was on a later flight from Nairobi to Entebbe, Uganda. When we finally got all that straightened out I waited with Edie for awhile until her flight left for MN, and then waited two more hours until my flight left. I was thankful that I was able to move to an exit row seat so I had more leg room for the nearly 6 hour flight to Nairobi.

In Nairobi, I just missed the original flight to Uganda and had to wait three hours for the next flight. When I finally checked in and went into the waiting area, they came in and said the flight would be two hours late. I had no way to let the people in Uganda, who were to meet me, know any of this. I finally arrived in Entebbe around 5 pm, or 8:30 pm India time. The driver had been at the airport since 9 am and I do not know who was more glad to see that I had arrived, me or him. He gave me a big hug and was so warm and welcoming that it eased some of the hangover from the day. He joked that he was worried that he had somehow missed me and “let a big fish” get away. We drove then about 6 hours to my final destination in Mbale, Uganda, arriving around 11 pm, nearly 44 hours after I had gotten up in India. Needless to say I slept well. I arose still tired but the Lord was with me as I preached this Sunday morning. It was interesting to me that Edie arrived in Minneapolis about 3 hours before I arrived in Uganda, which is about half the distance. Again, traveling is part of the cost of ministry. Thanks for praying for us as we travel as it can sometimes get to me. Praise God for His abundant grace.

We were blessed with the people here at the service and are expecting a good week training pastors. The service this morning was very dynamic, with lots of singing and dancing in the African style. The pastor asked how everyone was doing saying, “In Africa we ask ‘how are everyone’s chickens’”. We got a laugh out of that. I am staying in a nice hotel with a beautiful view of the mountains and greenery around here. The hotel has internet service but it is down today, so I am writing in hopes that it will be up tomorrow. Maybe, as the Lord wills. If it comes I will write more about the ministry here as the week goes on.


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