I am currently sitting in the window of my hostess, Beth’s house, as the sun is out and feels so lovely after the damp chill of the outdoors earlier. Today has mostly been cold and rainy, as many days are here I suppose. Still, I enjoy the crisp air. It reminds me of fall.
So yes, after a lot of hassle and stress, we arrived yesterday at around 9:30 Am, Scotland time. There were many moments Friday night when I thought I might not be here today after all, what with terrible traffic, ratchet rest stops, packed parking lots, clueless airport check in agents, and of course the constant fear that they might reject Oleta’s paperwork for some obscure reason, I was a little worried, but we did get there in the end, and I knew we would. On the way to the airport, and as I went through the checking in, security routine, I was sick with nervousness, for several reasons, but through all of it I had the underlying sense that no matter what went wrong, this was God’s plan, and he would redeem every situation for his purposes. With that knowledge, I tried to calm down, though I still couldn’t bring myself to b excited exactly.
That is, until we reached the gate, where we were greeted with this:[audio http://vocaroo.com/i/s0l5ciLqLb8x]
And it finally hit me. The music was in celebration of the fact that this was the first direct flight from Philladelphia to Edinburgh, offering the passengers and flight crew an early welcome to Scotland, but to me, it felt like a welcome from GOd. I heard his voice in it, rejoicing in this new experience in my life, and the way it has and will continue to draw me closer to him, assuring me of his blessed sovereignty through everything. I needed assurance, and encouragement, and He knew there was no better way to provide those things to me than through music. He is so awesome!
With that boost of confidence, my anxiety melted away, and I felt much more secure hugging my Dad goodbye and taking my seat on the plane. As we taxied onto the runway, I marveled at God’s providence, the way He had brought me here despite all of my stumblings and lack of trust, and how incredible it was that our All-powerful, All-loving God would choose to work through me, through any human, to achieve his purposes. God is, as I said, all powerful. He doesn’t really need us to do anything, but He loves us, and wants us to participate in His perfect plan, even if we do mess up and make things more complicated sometimes. That is also awesome!
In that moment too, I realized that this trip will change my life. In what ways, I don’t know, but I know that I will return to the States different, with new purpose and fresh direction. I hope others will be changed by it also.
So, after a 40 minute delay due to air traffic, we took off, and were in the air, headed to the Scottish city of Edinburgh. They served dinner, and I ate half of my hard tack roll, and a bit of my oatmeal raisin cookie, but left the chicken and very sad salad alone. I couldn’t eat much, partly because I was still full from dinner, which probably hasn’t ever happened before in my life, and mostly because I was too occupied to be hungry.
After dinner, I curled up with my airline pillow and blanket and tried to sleep. About 2 and a half hours later, I awoke to the sound of the speaker, as a flight attendant announced breakfast. Groggily, I accepted orange juice and a cynamin muffin from the stewardess, and checked my clock to see that it was about 3:30 in the morning Maryland time. I guess it was Maryland time… who knows.
An hour on, and we were touching down onto the runway of the Turnhouse airport in Edinburgh. I could not believe it! We were in Scotland!
Oleta and I disemBARKED (haha, get it?), and found our way to the immigration people. They asked only a few questions, stamped my passport, and I settled down with a friendly airport employee, Fiona, I seem to remember, to wait for the department of agriculture person to come check Oleta’s paperwork. After an hour of friendly conversation and confused phone calls, someone called to inform us that we had to go to another room to have her checked, so, huffing and puffing on my behalf, an entire entourage of employees escorted me to the room in question, and got Oleta processed and verified. Finally, Fiona, Oleta, and I headed out to the luggage area, and found my team leader and our host church’s secretary waiting for us there.
I am cursed with being a very detailed writer. It is late, again, and I shall have to complete this account tomorrow. I will try to make my posts a bit briefer in the future.
Right then. Good night.