Friday, May 22, 2009
God's faithfulness in lost luggage...
Arriving at the Port Au Prince (PAP)airport can be VERY overwhelming for someone who is a PAP virgin but as we stepped off the airplane into the humid and tropical climate that greeted us Haiti, I was feeling oh so CONFIDENT. I knew what to expect after traveling there so much lately... I knew that there would be no organized exiting the aircraft and people would push their way to whatever exit struck their fancy regardless of whether it was behind them and would completely disrupt the flow of traffic. I knew to expect a long hot line going through customs where most people would completely disregard line etiquette and cut in front of you if they felt worthy. I knew that finding your luggage on the one and only baggage carousal was nothing short of a miracle and pushing your way through the hoards of anxious travelers to grab your suitcase would be difficult even for a NFL defensive linemen. I knew that a dozen men would try to carry my luggage (expecting a huge tip in return) and an ASSERTIVE "No Merci!" (aka "No thank you!") was my only hope of avoiding a hefty token of "gratitude" or outbreak of world war III. Yep knowing all this gave me a false sense of confidence that buzzing in and out of PAP would be a breeze... but I was sorely mistaken.
For starters, apparently Haiti was decided to jump on the H1N1 band wagon and even though they have a million other "legitimate" health crisis' on their hands... they now require each traveler to answer a questionnaire in customs assessing the likelihood you might be a swine flu carrier. The questionnaire is completely in French but with the help of a Creole dictionary and some savvy nursing knowledge we passed that hurdle and made our way to the baggage claim area.... only to find that half of our luggage had NOT made it's way to PAP. Being the mature and selfless person I am (lol, as if) I was thrilled to see that the luggage that had found its way to PAP was Jake's suitcases and the suitcases containing my clean clothes and toiletries (and Belinda's) were just stuck in Miami. I had to laugh at the irony of the fact that Jake's luggage made it, even though he would be perfectly happy not showering or having clean clothes all week, but mine didn't and I am the biggest hyigenetically correct, clean freak, germ- a- phob- person you will ever meet. Not gonna lie, I REALLY thought I needed clean clothes and deordant at that point but God knew what we truly needed and in His providence and faithfulness provided.
Yet this lost luggage was our first opportunity to taste God's faithfulness on the trip.... you see Jake had packed the TB test vials and syringe's in his suitcase. The vials were ice packed and needed to be refrigerated. If his luggage had not made it to PAP, due to lack of refrigeration, we would not have been able to test anyone for TB and our sole purpose of the trip would have failed miserably. In allowing Jake's suitcase containing the iced vials to make it to PAP, God's providence was once again meeting us at every step of our journey.
Last week, Jake finished up a series with the youth group called "Do Hard Things". Something he said last Wednesday really resonated with me... he said that "God is WAY more concerned about growing in my faith and relationship with Him than in my momentary comfort and pleasure!!" God never promised us a comfortable life and if we choose comfort over our calling, we just might miss out on some of the greatest adventures of our life!!
The lost luggage and my resulting brief moment of being uncomfortable (and quite stinky and dirty) was totally worth it because it allowed me to be stretch in faith and trust in His providence a little more. It also allowed to feel just a little of what it must be like to walk in the shoes of those we served... and for that I am so thankful!! And was even more thankful when our luggage arrive last the next night and I was able to shower 48 hours later :-)
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then this rough one of me might just be pretty valuable.... and you could smell me from a mile away at that point as well.
"And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. To our God and Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen." Philippians 4:19,20