Tuesday, July 25, 2006

The first leg of our flight was from Dallas to London. Once in London we had to take a bus from Gatwick to Heathrow (both airports in London). Our faithful leader had reserved a bus for us to catch once there. My job was to find the bus, and get all of us on it.

Upon arrival, I began what became a somewhat frantic search for this transportation. It was nowhere to be found. I went to Airport Information. They had never heard of this particular bus line, but gave me a number to call. The bloke on the other end of that line had never heard of them either. We made other attempts at finding the bus but knew we working against the clock as we had a flight to catch at the other airport.

Finally we got in line of the only bus company that was represented in Gatwick. I shared our story with him. He was sympathetic, but had never heard of the other bus company either. Soon we rebooked with him. The cost was much greater than expected! I asked if there would be a discount if we went ahead and rebooked the return service as well (we had to do the same thing when returning from NA). He gave us a discount, which I was thankful for, but it was still too expensive.

We rode the bus and caught our flight to NA. Once in NA, we worked our way through customs. The plan was they would be waiting right outside customs for us, and we'd load our gear into two awaiting vans. They were not there, and neither were the vans.

I got on the phone and tried to call them. Our phones would not connect. I called our office and was told that they would try to contact them. They tried repeatedly and failed. One of the young men on our team who had been here two years ago when Awe Star came, said this was not uncommon, and not to worry.

We waited for two hours, and noone arrived to pick us up. Finally, our office had obtained another phone number and reached our hosts. They were waiting for us in a different city, four hours away. It was getting dark, we were in a foreign land, and it looked as if we had no hope of making our connection on this night.

Suddenly my phone rang, it was the office. I was being told that they had our hosts on the other line and they were saying to run to the train station and we might just make the last train. You must understand we had full backpacks on our backs, full small packs on our fronts, and several trunks and a portable sound system all in tow. Sprinting toward and unknown train station after dark was not my idea of how the trip was to go.

We sprinted! I wish you could have seen these students in action. 19 of us running to an unknown destination with the hope that our last possible connection would not leave on time so we could be on it.

Praise God! The train was not even there yet! We slowed down when we saw and realized we had cleared that hurdle. Laughter even filtered through the group as we contemplated our situation.

We entered the train and took off for our next destination. Another city where we would once again have to catch the last train. Anticipation filled my mind. Upon arrival, Rachel and I lept off the train and ran to the ticket counter. That was much more difficult than it sounds. We went over and under other trains via stairwells... running with full packs, desperate to connect our team to that last train.

The ticket booth guy sent us back to the train and told us through fragments of french and broken english to buy our tickets on the train. We sprinted back. We ran up and down the median looking for empty cars. Most were full.

Just then, we were summoned by the conductor to come to an area we thought was first class. We had made the last train! God had held up two trains just to make sure we found our way.

I collapsed into my seat with a huge grin and inner laugh replacing my stressed demeanor. We were actually going to connect with our hosts. Yes, it would be the middle of the night, and once with them we still had an hour drive left, but God had delivered us.

I laughed aloud as I could see in my minds eye the hilarity of our "Amazing Race" type journey upon arrival in NA. I confess I could not laugh until I knew everyone was safe.

I would have many more moments of intesity over the next 4 weeks. My God delivered us each and every time. He answered our prayers instantly on virtually, every occassion. He amazed us at His provision. We were overwhelmed at His grace. We rejoiced in His presence, and though the land is dry and desolate in spiritual terms, we worshipped His majesty, and were blessed by His presence with us.

Through disappointment and discouragement, God reveals to us things about ourselves that need growth and development. I had to grow much this summer.

dad

9 Comments:

At 12:17 PM, Blogger Linda Ronne said...

Brent I could just picture everything you described. How awesome that God provided a way for you all to reach your destination. Aren't His lessons, those that we need to learn always given with much love and grace, even though we may at times not quite see it that way at the time we are learning....
All praise and honor to our God who is always faithful and gracious.

In His Name
Linda

 
At 1:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Praise God. What a great reminder that He really is in control of everything. What an awesome God we serve.

Laura O.

 
At 3:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good story. I love hearing what God was doing in NA as he also brought us safely to Chile.
In Him,
Kayla

 
At 6:14 PM, Blogger MICHAEL said...

I HAVE NEVER BEEN ON SOMETHING LIKE THIS BEFORE-- I READ BJ'S STORY ON THE MERCYME CD AND HAD TO SEARCH AND CONNECT WITH THE STORY-- IS IT ALRIGHT TO USE BJ'S STORY WITH MERCYME SONG FOR OUR YOUTH GROUP-- I HAVE A HARD TIME TRUSTING THINGS ON THE INTERNET-- SO IT TOOK A WHILE FOR ME TO BELIEVE ALL THE STORY AND WHAT WAS SAID--SORRY-- OUR KIDS FROM OUR CHURCH JUST GOT BACK FROM A MISSION TRIP IN LOUISIANA AND I THOUGHT IT WOULD BE A REALITY SMACK FOR THEM TO REALLY KNOW WHAT IT MEANS TO DIE FOR CHRIS

 
At 8:08 AM, Anonymous Cedarburg Tina said...

And yet another seed is planted!

Travel can be so fun, so rewarding...so frustrating, so unnerving. Thank God for getting you all through it safely and without losing your focus for your purpose there. I know it is so easy to lose patience when those things you have no control over go a different way than planned. God was probably preparing you to turn everything over to Him as you prepared to share with those in NA.

Blessings, Tina

 
At 9:26 AM, Anonymous On Our Knees... said...

Love it!! Praise the Lord - He draws us near, teaches us...gently in the ways that are best for us, and blesses us beyond our imagination with how He works! Thank you SO much for fellowshipping here with us!! Continuing to lift you up.

 
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