Friday, June 18, 2010

"You've gotta be flexible!"

Never before had the above statement been so true! And we should have expected it. Rae Rynaker, our short-term site coordinator, reiterated that phrase over and over during our orientation at the beginning of last week.

If you haven’t heard, here is a brief (and I do mean brief) synopsis of our travel adventures thus far:

Wed, June 16 – 3:30 p.m. – arrive at JFK, except it was the wrong terminal. We then hauled all of our luggage to the end of the terminal, took a variety of elevators and hallways to AirTrane which led us to the correct terminal.
- 6:00 p.m. – depart JFK for Amsterdam
- 9:30 p.m. – realized an air conditioner unit on the plane had failed, causing us to turn around and head back to JFK (legal reasons, apparently)
Thurs, June 17 – 1:00 a.m. – arrive back at JFK and stand in a line to potentially receive hotel and food vouchers along with transportation to the hotel.
- 1:00 – 4:00 a.m. – stand in various lines trying to figure out how to reconnect our flight out of Amsterdam. Realized we were in a pointless line, and eventually received meal vouchers at a different kiosk. We then boarded a van to take us to our hotel, which just so happened to be overbooked. So another hotel is logical, right? Nope. The driver took us back to JFK briefly, then we took a 20-minute ride to our final destination, the Holiday Inn Express.
-12:00 p.m. – leave our hotel for JFK Take 2
-12:30 p.m. – arrive at JFK and stand in line for three hours to figure out how to reroute our flight.
-6:00 p.m. – leave JFK for a second go at Amsterdam (an hour later than the expected take off)

As I write this, it is 10:15 and we are somewhere over the Atlantic well on our way. So it will take a bit longer than we had expected to get into Uganda, but here is how it is happening:

Fri, June 18 – 7:00 a.m. – land in Amsterdam
- 8:30 p.m. – leave Amsterdam for Nairobi, Kenya
Sat, June 19 – 7:00 a.m. – land in Nairobi
-8:30 a.m. – leave Nairobi for Entebbe, Uganda
-9:30 a.m. – ARRIVE IN UGANDA!!

Again, this is how it all is expected to happen. Who knows what will really happen.

But going through this has actually proven to be a very positive experience. All our time in line allowed us to meet a few different African natives, a couple of whom where believers. It was very encouraging to see other folks using their skills and situations to benefit the Kingdom. And we obviously learned patience, but in a much more applicable way. One difference we have continually heard between American and African culture is a time-oriented vs. event-oriented mind set. So just as was said at the beginning, we have to learn to be flexible! We are going to encounter many unexpected tests in our 7 weeks in Arua, and this was a great test-run to see how our team acts in the face of frustration.

And on top of this, we are privileged to be travelling with a fifth Ugandan teammate. Ashley Gillman, who we met Monday at orientation, is ending her travels in Kampala, Uganda and will be there for at least nine months serving the Lord by using her public relations skills to help at-risk children. So it has been great to have someone else along in the adventure with us.

Well, we’ve got another good 4.5 hours left in this flight, so I’m gonna do my best to get some shut-eye – something thas has been rare as of late and will be hard to come by tomorrow night as we make our way south into Africa. Again, thank you all for your continued prayers and thoughts for our team as we seek to show the love and goodness of Christ in whatever and any way we can.

Photo by Ashley Gillman

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