Tuesday, January 16, 2007


We left for the airport at 4 pm Sunday Liberia time...that translates to 10 am Iowa time. We flew the first leg from Monrovia to Brussells as planned except for a minor time delay for refueling (because in Liberia they use gallon jugs to fill the gas tank so it takes a LONG time to fill a big airplane). After a short delay in Brussells, we loaded the plane to head to Newark. The captain came on and said there was ANOTHER slight delay...the defribulator was not working and it is a "no go" item, meaning we don't go unless this works. So, we were to give them 5 minutes to locate the part and they'd report back how long we'd be waiting. So, 5 ++ minutes later the pilot came on and said they had to get the part from London. Seriously, no where in Belgium carries a battery part for this thing?? So, long story a little shorter we had to deboard the plane and wait 5 1/2 hours more. But, the story gets better. About 2 minutes before the pilot announced our possible delay I took my customary sleeping pills...a full dose. By the time we finished lunch my words were slurring and I thought I was going to fall over. I ended up laying on the floor asleep in the middle of Brussells airport. We missed all our connecting flights. We got to Newark in time to make some alternate flights but by the time we stood in line most of the flights had left. Decision: keep going to Chicago and sleep in O'Hare airport or get a courtesy hotel in Newark. There was only 3 seats left on the flight the next morning and we would get home by late afternoon. Tony and Jill opted for the Newark option while Mark, Eric and I were going as far as we could. We were seriosly thinking about renting a car to get home. I had a little mental breakdown in the airport at the realization I wasn't going to see my kids last night...and a few reports from home brought me back to the real world as well. Emotionally spent, longing to see my kids, and exhausted from the many hours in the flight, I took a back seat out of Newark while Mark and Eric wheeled and dealed to get us to Chicago. They were still working the "system" at the gate just before boarding the plane. Still thinking we were sleeping in the airport, we were glad to just get some food vouchers and grab a quick pizza and a long awaited diet coke with ICE before the last leg of the night. We got into Chicago around 11:15 pm just in time to check a few more flights out. One flight left: Cedar Rapids. But because of weather delays in Chicago many flights were cancelled and many people sleeping in the airport or re-routing their journies. The Cedar Rapids flight was full, although Eric plead a good case with the attendant who offered stand by seats (meaning the flight is full but I can give you a seat in case someone has a heart attack before they walk between this gate and the airplane). :) A little more of our soga shared with another gate attendant and Mark was able to get us rooms at a very nice hotel. About 38 hours after our journey began, we arrived at the hotel in time for a HOT shower (which we hadn't experienced in two weeks), freshly brushed teeth (which I think EVERYONE appreciated...we were starting to clear rooms when we breathed), and three hours of sleep. 5:15 am we met outside our rooms and headed back to the airport. A little more patience was needed as our tickets weren't entered correctly again but we finally got out of Chicago and flew into Moline around 9 am. Whew. So grateful to finally be home safely. The kids waited around for us this morning and just headed to school at lunchtime. Eric headed into work. I'm heading to bed. (this doesn't seem fair to Eric but seriously, someone has to be able to parent our children this evening!)

One last thing. I was really bummed at how the trip took a turn towards the end. We were really on a high about how God is working in Liberia. I won't give you all the details until I sleep a bit and have some organized and whole thoughts but I will share this. Our short 30 minute flight this morning was hosted by a beautiful young black woman who reminded me of the families we grew so fond of in Liberia over the last 15 days. She was so pleasant and reminded me of the welcoming and friendly Liberian people. I only had the duration of the flight to reflect on this but this flight attendant reminded me how much we all fell in love with the people we lived life with over the past weeks. I was reminded of how God brought us home safely and through this whole trip safely. This is the day the Lord has made. And so was yesterday. Let us rejoice and be glad. I'm glad to be home. But I left a part of my heart back in Africa.


Blogger Amy Gubser said...

I am so sorry for all the delays- I'm sure it was so very frustrating! But, we're so glad you made it home safely- have a good rest and a good evening back together as a family!

1:35 PM  
Blogger Cassie said...

SO very happy that your are home safe. We missed you so very much and look forward to hearing all about the trip.

1:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It was so good to hear your vioces thie morning. I woke several times last night and wondered where you were and how thing were goig,each time I would start to pray and fall asleep but God knew what was on my heart. One thing we were ask to pray for was for you to be flexable, now I know why. Love, Mom

3:17 PM  
Anonymous Candi said...

You are home, I am glad and I am thankful!! Enjoy your family!!
Love & Much appreciation for your mission,
Cassie's mom :-)

5:58 PM  
Blogger Jessica said...

Hey YO ! I missed my late night blogging buddy! Welcome back to DisneyLand as said by Andy Kampman, aka Perspectives,speaker Sunday night. B Dean was making fun of my note taking, i did'nt want to miss anything!
I am on my knees thanking God for your RADICAL OBEDIANCE! as well as bringing you home slowly..... but surely......safely....& Healthy!?!!! To say we missed you is an understatment, can't wait to HUG you & Break bread with you & the gang!!!

12:02 AM  
Blogger The Brookharts said...

I'm sure this trip was extremely rewarding for you spiritually. But I think you're incredible for making all the sacrifices you did to go to Liberia. I've never left my children for more than a day or two so I'm sure that was the biggest sacrifice...but the traveling and losing all the conveniences we are so accustomed to had to be so hard. I love your passion Pam. I love you!

12:45 AM  

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