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11-13-2011 (Sunday)

6:00 AM  I awoke before the alarm, in fact, I awoke about 4 AM with my mind going and could not go back to sleep.  So, I got up and showered and packed my carry-on to be ready for travel.  I then spent some time thinking about what it means to follow Christ and took some notes to work on in developing my final page of this blog about this trip.

7:00 AM  I met Dr. Chang in the dining area of the guesthouse to eat breakfast together.  We had a nice breakfast and sat and talked some about how God has worked in our lives and how our careers have taken turns that we weren’t ready for, such as my career interruption from chronic pancreatitis in 1985.  I told him what happened to me with this disease and how I had to give up practicing obstetrics because of it.  That was a very painful decision since obstetrics was one part of my career I dearly loved.  Yet, God took it out of my life and filled it with new ministry opportunities.  We had a good talk and then it was time for Jane and Steve to arrive so we went to our rooms to get our luggage and bring it down to the car.

8:15 AM  We are on our way to Quito airport.  The airport is in the middle of downtown Quito and is limited in space by all the housing surrounding it.  It is only about 10 minutes from the guesthouse so that makes it very easy for Jane when she is picking up visiting surgeons and other helpers for her ministry.
Quito is building a new airport that is located outside the city.  Jane said the new airport will be larger but the down side is the distance from the guesthouse.  Jane said it will take an hour and a half  just to travel to the airport.  She is not looking forward to when all flights will be arriving and departing from that new facility.

At the airport Steve, Dr. Chang and I worked through the check-in process which took about two hours.  We arrived at the gate about 10 minutes before boarding began.  We soon boarded and were ready to depart.  The ground crew pushed back the plane and we taxied down the runway to position ourselves for take-off.  Then the captain came on the intercom and said we had to return to the gate because a ventilation system that keeps the avionics instruments cool was not working and the instruments were overheating.  So we returned to the gate and waited, and waited, and waited.  A filter had to be replaced in the cooling system and soon the captain said we were ready to depart.  Then he came back on and said the instruments were overheating again.  So we waited some more and eventually he came on and said the problem was fixed and we will now depart.  By the time we took off we were an hour and a half behind schedule.  Our connections in Miami would still work but the delay took a significant margin of time away from our layover in Miami.  When you have to work through customs, recheck your baggage and get through all the security, you need a couple hours or more.  This delay would give us between an hour and a half to two hours to do all this.  If the lines were long and moved slowly, you could easily miss your connections.  But there was nothing to do but go with the flow and depend on God to work the system for us so we didn’t get stranded in Miami.

We were in the air by 12:30 PM Quito time and the sky was clear.  One of the snow covered mountains near Quito was on display illuminated by the bright sun and outlined by a beautiful blue sky.  I am not sure which mountain I was looking at as I wasn’t certain which direction the plane was flying at that moment.  The view was beautiful, needless to say.

Father, I pray for a good flight with no more problems with the airplane.  I pray also for a smooth process through customs in Miami.  Our time is shorter
and we have no extra time to accommodate any problems or delays, Lord, and I want to make the next flight.  However, Lord, You are in charge of our schedule.  I trust You for the entire trip.  Knowing You are taking care of us fills my heart with peace that cannot be described in words.  Thank You, Lord.  Amen.

2:10 PM  The flight crew served us a hot lunch that satisfied my hunger.  At this time there was a fair amount of turbulence that made eating lunch and trying to write a challenge.  We were rocking and rolling at 36,000 feet.

3:30 PM  We started our descent into Miami and it was bumpy!  The plane shook and bounced quite a lot.  We arrived at 4 PM which gave us just an hour to work through customs and security and get to our next flight.  Fortunately, the US citizen lines were not as crowded as the non-US citizen lines and we worked through immigration fairly quickly.  Then we had to get our luggage off the carousel and take them through customs and then check the luggage back in to be taken to our next flight.  Then we had to go through security which involved practically undressing to go through the metal detectors, etc.  Once we got through the security we checked the computer screens finding our flight to Chicago was at Gate 45 on D Concourse.  This seemed to be at the other end of the airport.  Steve and I walked and walked and took the sky train to get to our gate arriving within just minutes of the departure time.  We arrived at Gate 45 only to find a sign stating the flight was moved to Gate 7 on E Concourse.  So off we walked to what seemed to be the other end of the airport.  We finally arrived at Gate 7  and walked right on the plane as the boarding was underway and almost complete.  But we made it and that was what was important.  It gave us no time for bathroom break or any snack or even a drink of water.  Fortunately, the flight to Chicago was delayed some or we would not have made this connection.

Father, that was close but You gave us the strength to walk a lot and make the plane just in time.  Thank You, Lord!  Amen.

Our flight to Chicago took almost 3 hours.  The sky was clear and you could see city lights all around us as we flew through the darkness toward Chicago.  There was more turbulence as we again rocked and rolled at times.  When we came in to Chicago we flew across Lake Michigan and then turned back east to land at the airport.  The city lights were spectacular.  There were no clouds in the sky and it seemed the lights went to the edge of the earth.  One wonders how much electrical power it must take to keep all the street lights and building lights on all night, especially in a city the size of Chicago.  Once we landed we again had some walking distance to get to the gate for our final leg home.  We did have some sitting time at this gate as our flight to Fort Wayne was delayed about a half hour.  Eventually, we boarded our plane and took off for Fort Wayne.  Our arrival in the Fort was a little after midnight.  Phyllis was waiting in her car at the curb outside the baggage claim and I really enjoyed seeing her and getting a welcome home kiss.

Father, thank You for the successful travel from Quito to Fort Wayne.  It was a long, trying day as we hustled to make connections but You enabled us to make these flights.  You gave us safety throughout the trip.  And even on the plane You made it possible for me to spend some good time reading the Gospel of Luke and the Gospel of John.  Even though I have read these books before, it is always enlightening to read Your Word over and over again.  Thank You, Lord, for Your protection as we traveled and for providing time for me to study Your Word.  Thank You, Lord!  Amen.

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