Friday June 17th – Day 1:
Alarm went off for most of us at 3:00 am – GROAN – where is the coffee? Shower helped, and then final packing and off for the airport. As we were pulling up, it was easy to see that most of our group had arrived and were gathered just inside the Indianapolis terminal. Seemed like it took over an hour to get everyone through the check-in process – much to the dismay of our fellow travelers standing in line behind us, and Dave and Laura arrived “fashionably on time” – to check in with the group. Our group made it through security without incident and on to the plane for naps for most.
After an hour and 10 minute flight to Washington Dulles, we had a several hour lay-over. We found the international terminal and checked in at the gate. Prior to boarding, the group got in some last minute walking around the terminal and most found a hearty breakfast at Harry’s Tap.
Seats were already pre-assigned so no negotiating for a better seat assignment. Even though some of us ended up with a middle seat, what a great flight – all 12 hours 45 minutes of it. (I’m really not being sarcastic – great seat-mates and a well orchestrated plan to get up every couple of hours so no one had to suffer – thanks, Ron!).
We’ve all been impressed with Ethiopian airlines – Boeing 777 with nice amenities, great service, personal AV screen with selection of movies, music and games. Bryce scored a nice win with top bowling score for the plane and rumor has it that Gary threw in the towel after 5 frames, when he suspected he was vying for low score. Several of us watched a really touching movie (another word for tear-jerker) called Grace Card, and ate dinner. For me, my ambian kicked in to help with sleep, though intermittently, only to be woken with a lovely breakfast before landing in Addis Ababa Ethiopia at 7:45 AM (12:45 AM EST).
I have to say that God has assembled an amazing collection of individuals – who are quickly becoming a cohesive team in every sense of the word! It has been a fulfilling and rewarding experience in just the first day of our journey – getting to know each other better, supporting one another and remaining cheerful and excited about our adventure! Many thanks to Chris and Dave for their planning and all of the arrangements! Thank you to our prayer teams for your prayers of protection and peace, for God’s work to be done in us and in Zambia, and for your prayers that each of us remain teachable through this experience.
Saturday, June 18th – Day 2:
Well it seems like it is still day #1 with travel, planes and airplane food all starting to blend together! We only had a brief layover in Addis Ababa – not even time to go out of our secure gate area to use the restrooms. Caught up a bit of home connections with the airport wi-fi, and Brian even had a chance to skype with his wife! Seems like a little more room to spread out on the next plane (just ask Kym), and after another airline lunch, folks are catching up on reading, devotions, watching a movie, or most importantly sleeping! This is a 6 hour flight with a brief stop-over in Harare, Zimbabwe, South Africa (we didn’t get off of the plane), before flying on to Lusaka, the capital of Zambia, landing at approximately 2:35 PM on Saturday (8:35 AM EST). Total travel time from 4AM airport arrival to Zambia touch down = 28-1/2 hours.
Pastor Patson, Patricia and their family met us at the airport, and we packed the bus with luggage and people for the ride to the lodge. A full bus – cozy but friendly! Our first impression of Africa is one of beauty. Somewhat tropical, with beautiful and friendly people and bright traditional attire mixed in with more modern. After a quick tour of the lodge, which boasted lots of atmosphere and a large conference area and even a large outdoor tikki hut with comfy furniture, and handing out room assignments, we had a few minutes to settle in before regrouping for a nice debrief with Patson and Patricia, where we each had an opportunity to share a bit more about ourselves and how God worked in each of our lives to bring us to Zambia. What an amazing story of Patson and Patricia’s journey, and a wonderful and uplifing time together.
Dave and Chris made a quick supply run – (water and money change) and then we shared a delicious chicken dinner together prepared by the lodge. We capped off the night with a very brief bible study, then we all headed off to a welcome night’s sleep!
Tomorrow brings a 7:00AM breakfast call followed by a walk over to the church for worship and lunch with the congregation. Please be aware, our group will have only limited contact as there is not a wi-fi at the lodge and very limited or non-existent cell phone coverage. We will continue to blog as we are able.
Thank you again for your on-going prayers and support!
Blessings to each of you! The Zambia Team