Thursday and Friday

It’s sunrise now and I’m sitting on the tarmac at Dublin International, awaiting them to complete refueling and cabin crew swaps.  It was a good flight up from Addis.  The ride was smooth and I slept about 5 hours – that’s pretty good for sleeping on a plane!  But we still have a long day ahead.  According to the map, we’re still some 3400 miles from DC. 

It’s later now – at home, it’s 2:35 AM.  In 13 hours – I hope – I’ll be home.  My bed.  Fresh clothes.  My couch.  My TV.  Plenty of hot water and wifi.  I’m excited but this is a strange feeling – almost like culture shock coming home.  I’ve gotten so used to carefully managing my data usage (I was only allotted a certain amount for the trip) that I was an absolute miser with it.  Thus, I didn’t use my phone except for my Bible app and my journal.  When I could get Wifi, I called Julie and Josh.  I know – when I get home – there will be no such restrictions.  And yet, I don’t really know that I want to go back to how I was using it before.  Perhaps I found something in Africa by losing something. 

It's later now and we’re MUCH closer to DC.  I can see the edges of Newfoundland out my window.  That means NORTH AMERICA! 

You'd think "what kind of new experiences are left when you have been sitting on a plane for 5 hours?"  I just got reminded not to underestimate what God can do when he chooses to.  First a little background.  When I was a child, my mother was frequently driven crazy by my willingness to talk to strangers.  As a child, I didn’t see the dangers but only benefits - these are friends I haven't met yet.  I just had an encounter that made me think of that, even without leaving my plane seat.  The seat next to me is empty.  I’m certain they would’ve much preferred to sell it but empty it has remained.  Until one of the pilots came out.  He asked if he could sit there and have his lunch.  Of course, I said.  When he sat down, he introduced himself as Paul, one of two pilots for this long-haul flight.  He asked me what I was writing.  I told him I was a pastor, preparing messages for future talks.  He smiled broadly and said, “I too am a born-again Christian!”  What are you doing in Ethiopia he asked.  I told him I had been leading pastor’s conferences and Bible college events. Now he smiled even bigger.  “I’m flying for Ethiopian Airlines for only a few more years and then I’m going to Bible college.”  I told him I was coming most recently from Nairobi and I thought he was going to come unglued!  I AM FROM NAIROBI!  When I told him I had been at Ongati Rongai, Subkia and Gilgil, I thought he was going to cry.  He asked if I could contact him next time I’m going to Kenya so he can join one of our events. Wow.  Certainly, I said.  And he got me his business card.  He also told me he had done his flight training in Johannesburg, but had gotten certified in US issues at Meachum field in Ft Worth.  Wow.  Small world indeed.  He also gave me some really good news – Ethiopian Airlines is opening a new site – Houston.  It will be online before the end of the year with non-stop service to Addis.  How about THAT!?!  That saves me a whole day of travel by not having to go to DC first. 


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