In the field at last!

I’d like to tell you a story – not to complain about difficulties, but to praise God for His mercies!

You see, I was scheduled to meet another missionary (Chris) at my first layover of this trip and we would travel together from there to our destination. The trip started easily enough. I flew to Chicago, found my gate for the next flight to Tokyo, and waited for Chris to arrive. Just as I sat down, he texted me. His flight was delayed and he might not make the plane to Tokyo.

I’d never been nervous up to this point, but I suddenly very much didn’t care for the idea of traveling alone. “Lord, if it’s your will, delay the flight to Tokyo just a little bit so Chris can make this flight…”

Chris’s plane landed. Someone began to speak over the loudspeaker at my gate. To begin boarding, I assumed. Instead, I heard in disbelief that our flight had been delayed by 4 hours!

Once we had processed this news, we realized this meant we would miss our flight from Tokyo to Bangkok. We spent the next few hours talking with United Airlines customer service and our travel agent, working out a new flight for one day later than we’d anticipated. This meant spending one night and one day in Tokyo.

We were blessed to be gifted two separate rooms from United Airlines, and we had a great time exploring Japan the next day. We returned to the airport quite early, so we sat and waited until 2 hours before our flight, then got in line to check in.

The line took an hour before we reached the counter. Our bags were already checked in, but we discovered they needed to see our baggage tickets so they could put our bags on the right plane.

One small problem though: I had lost both of my baggage tickets. The ticket agent spent time on the phone looking for unclaimed bags, and finally handed me a piece of paper with two numbers written on it. “I think these might be your bags, but you can check when you get to Bangkok.”

It was 5 minutes until boarding time, so he ran us to security, which literally took us 2 minutes, and we then practically ran to our gate. We were so relieved to see there was still a long line waiting to board the plane and we were not late after all!

When we arrived in Bangkok, I walked up to the baggage claim praying that my bags would be there. I could not hold back a few excited squeals when I finally saw them and realized that ticket agent had gotten the correct numbers!  I believe this was nothing short of a small miracle!

We needed to spend not night in Bangkok, as our flight to Khon Kaen was not until the next morning. We had booked two hotel rooms for this purpose, but to our surprise, no one seemed to know where this hotel was! We spent more than an hour looking for a bus to the hotel, which simply didn’t exist, then finally looking for a cab that could take us there.

It was another moment of huge relief to finally arrive at the hotel and fall asleep at last.

The rest of our trip to Khon Kaen passed without incident, and we were so excited, after nearly 3 full days of traveling, to be at our longzawaited destination.

It has been fun getting to know my fellow missionaries here, observing some music lessons, attending the church, meeting the youth. I can’t wait to see what God has in store for this year! My work begins in earnest next week!

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