According to the dim glow emanating from the LCD screen in front of me, I am writing to you from 34,000 feet approximately 500 miles off the eastern coast of Australia.
What a whirlwind of activity the last few months have been. Packing up our home in the Philippines, preparing for the quadrennial General Assembly in Indianapolis (June), arriving in the States on May 5th, speaking across the nation from the West Coast to Ohio, officiating our Niece’s wedding in Central California, a family reunion in Idaho, a mission open house at Mission Aviation Headquarters in Nampa, taking EVERY opportunity to love on our kids and grand baby, and now…preparing to descend to a new chapter south of the equator!
We’re glad that the Lord has promised us, “He knows the plans He has for us,” because a year ago and even as late a today, I certainly wouldn’t have anticipated this plan!
On Thursday morning, we met at a local restaurant with our kids and parents for a late brunch and then headed to the Boise Airport to say our good byes. At the airport we were informed of a baggage embargo (limiting the number of checked bags allowed during this period of the year) and so we began the process of unpacking our action packers to turn 6 packers into 4.
Our prayer is always that we represent Christ well, regardless of the circumstances faced, and so thanking the counter agent for her understanding (as she processed our passports and tickets and gave us time to go and re-pack all of our bags) we started unloading in the lobby of the airport. The young counter agent was from Guam and we had shared our connection of living in Micronesia back in the 90s and how much we had loved Guam and the people there. There was a connection and I think she was amazed that we weren’t having a typical “passenger meltdown.”
About 25 minutes later, as we were repacking, the counter agent came up to us and said that she had worked with her supervisor, had pulled some strings, and that we were going to be able to send all 6 bags, and be charged no luggage fees for the extra two pieces! Connie was in tears of joy! So we re-packed a third time and sent the bags through. (Thank you to our girls and parents for helping us navigate this small hurdle!)
And then our flight was delayed…. Before we even said goodbye to family, we were informed that the smoke on the West Coast had snarled traffic in Seattle and that our flight was pushed back an hour, giving us just 9 minutes connection time in Seattle. Then pushed back again, and now we would be arriving after our connecting flight was to have departed.
I’ll tell you, technology is great! While we were sitting at the gate, we received an email from Delta alerting us that they had gone ahead and cancelled our reservations for today and re-booked us for Saturday, getting us into Cairns late Sunday night. Not what we wanted to hear…but at least we were informed (thank you Delta for doing a good job of keeping us informed!)
And so… quick keyboarding by desk agents, some more “strings pulled” a reroute through Salt Lake City, and rather than having to go home, come back and repeat the checkin, security, wait game a day later, we made it to LAX and are flying on our original international flight and will be landing in 57 minutes in Sydney. What did we gain? New friends and new connections with more people who will hear about what God is doing!
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.” Jeremiah 29:11-12
Connie and I rest in the assurance that He does have our plans in His hand. Our job is to remain patient and to look for the opportunities to be “Salt and Light” and to respond in a counter-cultural way…to respond with grace and peace regardless of what we are facing.
Then God can use us wherever we go. I just smiled in amazement once again as the desk agents came up and gave Connie a hug after closing the gate and leaving (while we stayed waiting patiently for our re-booked flight).
Thank you Lord for another day to serve! And thanks to each one of you who continue to pray and encourage us along this journey.
Todd and Connie Lou – from Cairns to you!