36 hours later, mom is in Africa at her final destination. That comes with a lot of relief for me. I'll be honest, I was a total mess all of Saturday. Not being able to go see her at the airport almost broke my heart. But now that she's there I can rest easier and stop stressin'! The email I got this morning when I woke up said she had arrived and had been exploring bit. She is understandably overwhelmed and exhausted. Thank you for your prayers for her safety!
A couple of interesting things happened during her journey. These are two examples of our no-coincidences, all-knowing, Great Provider God! I heard about this first story from my Grandma. Just after I talked to her at DFW and the plane began boarding, she handed over her boarding pass and it would not scan. WOULD NOT SCAN. The gate agent set her aside and boarded every other passenger, including stand-by passengers(!!!!), while she tried to figure out why mom's wouldn't scan. There were phone calls the the airlines to confirm her connections and identity and at one point, very near departure time, the gate agent herself was put on hold by another airline person and in frustration exclaimed, "They put me on HOLD! I HAVE GOT to get this flight out!" So, in one last flurry of activity, the gate agent printed mom a new boarding pass, handed her carry-on --which contained her purse, money, everything-- to another flight attendant who gate-checked it, and sent mom on her way down the ramp with nothing but her passport in hand and her computer. She was The. Very. Last. Person. on board the airplane. She sat down next to what she called, "the sweetest little Southern Baptist boy you ever met" who was on his way home to Atlanta and shared her story. During the course of the flight to Atlanta she made a new friend in him, a new prayer warrior in Atlanta, and a guide though the apparently confusing and difficult Atlanta airport. He helped her find her carry-on at the baggage claim, and it was safe with all her valuables inside. It's no coincidence that she was sitting next to that guy. That's God.
Here's an even better one: Arriving at the airport with five very large and heavy bags (some were actually huge plastic containers on wheels), which were going to cost an arm and a leg to check, she met an airport employee at the baggage check-in. The man, they found out quickly, was from Sudan (in Africa). He noticed she had a LOT of bags, and then saw where she was going - one-way - and said in his funny accent, "OH! You are going on a mission! God Bless you God bless you! I will HELP you!" And that sweet Sudanese man proceeded to help her rearrange some things and consolidate things so that every bag was exactly the right size and weight -- saving her over $700 in costs! Of all the people that could have been working that counter, that afternoon, at that airport, for that airline. This is NOT a coincidence, people. This is God's hand in EVERY detail!
I hope to Skype with mom very soon and plan to keep relaying some stories of her adventures in Africa. She also has her own blog about her adventures.