Sunday: Yesterday was another interesting day. We were up at 4 am. The hotel was supposed to give us a wake-up call at 4 am but didn’t, but we were up anyway, thankfully. At 4:30 am, they sent a boy to check our snacks to see if we had eaten any but we were not yet dressed and sent him away. The desk called and asked us to allow him in and we explained that we were not ready. Asked why we did not get a wake-up call. He said he thought it was for 4:30. At this point, it was already 4:35. I did not argue but 5 minutes later, sure enough the call came in, right on time, 40 minutes late. Sometimes it is hard to see how this type of behavior seems face saving to them.
We headed to the airport and the driver turned into the international terminal, all Indian airports have domestic on one side and the international on the opposite side of the runway. We were flying domestic but he could not turn around so we wove through all the traffic unloading, etc., and then proceeded to the domestic terminal, about 10 minutes away. We paid the taxi man and went to the front gate to gain entrance. In India, you have to show passports and your ticket voucher to get in the airport. The guard looked at our tickets, then at a chart on the wall and said, “This flight is from international.” For some reason, that domestic flight flew out of the international terminal. We quickly flagged down our taxi and rushed back over to the international terminal we had just left. It turns out that the driver was a Christian and was so nice. Tom had initially paid him 1000 rupees and needed 200 in change, which the taxi driver did not have, so Tom said just keep it (about $3). The man said he would not charge us to return to the international terminal because we gave him too much. I gave him a tip, which he tried to refuse (unbelievable in India!), but he said he wanted to be honest because he was following Jesus. What a blessing! We made it to our gates just as they started to board.
On arrival to Chennai, no one was there to greet us. It is a little unnerving to be in a huge city in India at the airport and not know how to connect with anyone. We waited a half hour and I dug around on my computer and found a number to call. A taxi driver let me use his phone. Unbeknownst to us Vasanth was at the domestic part of the airport waiting for us, but we had come in on the international terminal. He had his cell phone stolen the previous week, had bought a SIM card and gave it to his daughter in case someone called. I call her home and his 8-year-old granddaughter answered, saying hello, hello, over and over again. She did not know English. Finally, she hung up telling her mom it was a wrong number. I called back and the daughter answered and finally connected us to Vasanth, who quickly came and picked us up.
We soon were so delighted to meet him because he turned out to be a fine, humble godly man. We attended their house church, which we enjoyed, although I think I slept through half of it I was so tired, but it wasn’t in English so I didn’t miss much. Edie said she was glad I did not fall out of my chair. Later we had a great opportunity to share our ministry and they were so receptive. We had lunch together and then we met with the leadership team. We began to strategize about how to work together. It was such a joy to work with such mature godly people. We expect great things for the future there.
Tom was still sick and stayed in bed most of the day, which was so good for him. When we left, back to the airport at 4:30 pm, he was feeling better and this morning he seems much better. Praise the Lord and thank you for your prayers.
Our flight to Trichy was an hour and a half delayed but we arrived safe and sound and to our rooms at 11:30pm, a long but good day. We are getting ready to work with our dear friends here and expect a good, even if interesting, day.