Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A few extra days in Addis

Last night (Monday night) we arrived at the airport in Addis, Ethiopia to make the trip back to the states. Over the last eight days we’ve had a wonderful time here with Compassion International and our church partners in Nazaret, ET: Nazaret Emmanual United Church. God answered our prayers to put vision in our hearts for our partnership with Emmanuel and for our work with Compassion. It was a wonderful trip. Which leads me to the trip home…

As we walked into the airport I noticed that the first leg of our trip to Frankfurt was not showing up on the monitors. My suspicion was brought to confirmation as we walked up to the Lufthansa Airlines desk and discovered that an earthquake caused a volcano to erupt and spread ash over east Africa. We aggressively tried to reconnect with the Compassion staff in Colorado Springs. We were unable to get the Internet in the airport to work and the local payphone would not recognize an American credit card or an American phone number. Finally we were able to borrow the cell phone of a local person and get in touch with the Country Director for Compassion. For the sake of brevity I will spare all of the details, but it took about two hours to get a hotel voucher and confirmation for a flight the following night (which is now cancelled).  In order to get all this arranged we walked back through customs, out of customs, through security, out of security and waited in a few lines to say the least. By the grace of God we were able to get vouchers for an “Ethiopian Four Star Hotel.” By the time we walked out of the airport the Compassion Int. drivers were waiting for us. They transported thirty minutes across Addis to the Four Start Hotel, the Riviera. When we walked up the hotel lobby was filled with smoke from all of our German friends who had also been displaced and replaced into this hotel. We were the last group to arrive.  Unfortunately, there was no room in the inn for our team.

We were then shuttled to another hotel, The Panorama Hotel. So after traveling over an hour in Addis we reached our destination. They had anticipated our arrival and arranged individual rooms for each of the eight of us traveling in the group. We have two different churches, South Bay Church and Rockbridge Church from Dalton, GA.  I located my room, dropped off my bags then headed back to the lobby to try and make connection with Stacie. It took me almost two hours to get connected, send her an email and get a reply. I finally retired for sleep at 2:30am.

After watching the news I’ve discovered that there are thousands of other displaced people all over the world. Many of them are stuck in airports, sleeping on suitcases. While I’m very disappointed that it may be a couple of extra days before I see Stacie and the boys… I have so much to be grateful for.  A warm shower, a great bed, clean water, electronics that can be charged (ipad, iphone and laptop), books, journal, the bible, and friends here to connect with.  

As I finish this post it’s Tuesday at 4:00pm in Addis, 6:00am back home in California. Our flight for tonight has been cancelled. I don’t know when we will be rescheduled. Compassion has a staff back home working to try and reroute us through other cities. Personally, I’m praying that we get to go through Dubai, but I am left at the mercy of God, the volcano and the airlines. In the midst of my circumstances today, I have a great opportunity to choose gratitude and live in joy.

Please pray that God would help me keep proper perspective and that he would strengthen my wife as she is on day 8 of caring for the boys by herself! Pray that God would protect her and the boys physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

PS, tomorrow is my 30th birthday. This has the potential to be the most exotic birthday of my life!