early morning….. the kind of early when you are up before the sun…… the kind of early that really means you barely slept because you were afraid you wouldn’t hear the alarm……
We met at church at 4 am to leave for Mexico. Our bags were packed and loaded the night before, now all that stands between us and another country, is two plane rides over a whole lot of dirt.
We arrive…. descend would probably be a better word, on the Delta Connections staff in the tiny airport where we live. They were very much hoping that we would be able to go through the kiosk and just pass them our bags….. and then they realized we were international flyers, and they were going to have to talk to each and everyone of us…… let’s just say they needed a little Jesus that morning and perhaps a second cup of coffee….
We move from there to the security check point. We remind all the kids to take off their sweat shirts and to take off their shoes. I laughingly tell someone that my kids always get searched at these things…. she tells me, probably not this time….
For the record, BOTH my children were searched. One because she forgot to take off her sweat shirt….. and the other, because he had too many books to read in is backpack. I would also like to note that NO other people from our group were searched. It’s a conspiracy I tell ya.
We fly to Utah, for our connector to Mexico….. and here we promptly lose a parent. He was waiting out at our first flight for the stowed carry on…. and it was just not there…….. about 15 min later, he hears them calling for a person…. for the one bag that is left. He asked to see the tag…. sure enough…. it belonged to our pastor’s wife who had inadvertently “stolen” Mr. Henkel’s bag. The lost Mr. Henkel, found us, and brought Mrs. D her bag, with just enough time to check in and then board our flight.
The flight from Utah to Mexico was 5 hours. I am not a freaky flyer. I actually enjoy flying a great deal. The only thing that really gets me on long flights is the hum of the jet engine…. so I put in my ever so stylish purple ear plugs and thank the Lord for putting me in a window seat…. because the beauty below and then all around me on that flight was breath taking.
The main thing that I remember flying over was a canyon. It reminded me of the Grand Canyon, but I am not sure if that indeed was it, since they never announced what it was over the intercom. ( If they announce the town of El Paso Texas, when you fly over it…. you would think they would announce a major thing like the Grand Canyon…) anyway, this canyon was carved long and deep by the river in its base, lazily curving through the barren, hot landscape below. It was the only source of respite for miles and miles around.
As we neared Mexico City, there were thunderclouds. I grew up in a plane. My dad flew little planes for years and I went off with him on many adventure in a plane. I have seen lots of clouds in my day….. but these clouds, were unlike any I have ever seen. Not only where they colossal in size…. they were different colors. These clouds were so many shades of white and gray that they defy description. The tops of these clouds were outlined, with……. a color that was grayish blueish ( to have to chose something you could identify with ) but it was more than that….. the outline was multidimensional, almost electric itself. I just remember blinking and blinking thinking my eyes were playing tricks on me…. but every time I looked at a cloud, near or far, it had this outline. It was simply beautiful.
As we popped through the clouds we could see the city we were flying to greet, expansive, lush, shrouded with an umbrella of clouds. There were many areas of trees and parks that could be seen from above as well as an endless sea of houses.
I was struck by how different our airports here in the states are. We don’t store our dead airplanes on the sides of the runway, we don’t have people at every gate just sitting and waiting for a plane to arrive. People who are grateful to sit there bored out of their skulls, because it means they HAVE a job, and their family will get to eat tonight because of that job. There wasn’t all the hustle and bustle, inside and out, that we have here in the states. You got the sense that planes come and go at their own pace around here, and the people just hang around to help when they arrive.
Our next hurdle was customs. We all had divided up the medicine and packed it into our bags. We had to get it all past customs and this was going to be a task. We also knew that we serve a Risen Savior and He was the one calling the shots on this trip…. it was HIS medicine, and He was going to have to get it there.
Only three people, and of those three, only three bags total, out of 20 people, and 40+ bags were searched. Our pastor’s wife, thankfully is a Spanish speaker, and she went to each one of the people being searched and answered all the questions that were being asked. One of the customs agents thought that one of our group had some serious issues to need so much of an antibiotic we were carrying. As the rest of the group watched, and some bowed a knee to pray….. one by one, they let them join us with all their medicine in tact. We had prayed for God to go before us and to allow all our medical supplies to enter the country….. and He did. It was our First big Praise of the trip.
I happen to look out the sliding doors that led to the terminal, and I see this little white haired Chilean man waving wildly at a sea of people in light blue shirts….. It was Pastor Nelson, he was there to take us to our new home…. for the next 17 days.
………….and that my friends, is a story all in it’s own………..