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7-1-2014 (Tuesday)

We were up by 4 am to get ourselves ready to head to the airport.  Quito now has a new airport that is outside of town and requires about an hour to hour and a half of travel just to get there.  The old airport is about 5 minutes away.  Jane picked us up at 5 am so we could be at the airport by 6:30.  Our flight is scheduled to depart by 8:30.  We got checked in and then met Jane for our final hugs and good-byes before going to security and customs.

Our trip home went well.  We had some concern at Quito during boarding.  As the people were boarding the ticket agent called out a couple names for people to come to the desk.  Then he called my name.  I went up and a lady took me around behind the ticket counter to a secluded place and asked me some questions and then checked my hands and the zipper on my Ecuador bag with pieces of paper that were run through a machine.  I suspected she was checking for drugs or something.  Then she said okay and took me back around to the front of the line and allowed me to go on to the plane.  I decided to wait at the ramp entrance for Howard and Jordan as they were further back in line.  Then they called Howard and Jordan.  Both went up and the lady took Howard first.  Then she brought Howard around past the boarding area into a hallway that connected to the ramps.  Then this lady took Howard down the hall and they disappeared.  I stood there waiting and determined if Howard and/or Jordan get delayed and miss the flight, I was getting off as well.  Jordan just stood there waiting and waiting.  Eventually, the guy came to Jordan and told him to go on through without any inspection like what I got.  Jordan and I decided to go on to our seats and I told him Howard would likely come and could find his way by himself.  We waited until there were no more people coming on the plane and I was about to ask a flight attendant about Howard when he then came on the plane.  He got back to the seat and told us they inspected his luggage for explosives.

On the way home in the car Howard told me more of what happened.  He had wrapped his tile saw and drill together and what the screeners saw on x-ray was a blob of something with wires running around.  He said they were concerned that it might be a bomb or something explosive.  He said the lady took him down to the baggage loading area just in front of the plane.  There was a long table set up with 6 agents behind the table.  People who were called down with Howard were all standing in a huddle.  Surrounding them were several police and soldiers, all armed with guns out, watching them.  One agent came over to Howard and asked him to identify his suitcase.  Howard did and the guy sternly told him to stand still and not touch the suitcase.  He went over and gingerly picked it up and brought it to Howard.  They he said, “Open it.”  Howard opened it showing the tile tools and the guy pointed at the conglomeration of tile saw and drill that were wrapped in bubble wrap that you could not see through.  The guy asked Howard why he was in Ecuador and what he was doing here.  Howard explained that he came on a mission trip and brought his tools to lay ceramic tile.  He explained that the tools were what he needed for the tile work and the bundle was comprised of a tile saw and drill that were wrapped together.  The guy then pulled some of the bubble wrap apart and saw the old, dirty drill and then said all was okay.  Howard said the guy became more friendly and carefully repacked the suitcase so everything was back where it was.  He then took the suitcase directly over to the plane and loaded it and then took Howard back upstairs.  Howard said he had to go out front and go through security screening again and then was able to board the plane.

Since the three of us had the same flight itinerary I wonder if they pulled us out because they were suspicious of explosives or something.  Then when Howard’s suitcase passed inspection, Jordan didn’t have to go through any questioning and was allowed to board the plane.  I asked Howard if he was trying to have his own version of “Locked Up Abroad.” 🙂

Once we all were on the plane we departed on time and had a smooth flight to Miami.  Upon arrival we processed through customs and immigration without any delays.  After getting through all the stops we took Jordan to the check in counter for US Airways for his trip to Charlotte to meet his parents.  Jordan got his boarding pass and I went with him to the security processing and then after some hugs sent him on his way.  He gave me a big wave on the other side of security and then headed to Concourse E to his gate.  He had about 5 hours of waiting time until he would leave to his final flight home.

Howard and I then took the luggage and went out on the curb and in a few minutes the shuttle for Embassy Suites came by and we boarded.  I parked my car at the Embassy Suites for the duration.  The shuttle took us to the car and we loaded the luggage and headed home.  The drive home was uneventful with no delays.

It was a joy to walk in the house and into Phyllis’ waiting arms.  I didn’t want the hugs to stop.  It was so good to be home, yet I longed to continue the work that we went to do.  San Lorenzo has a place in my heart and the people are so appreciative of the help we give them.  What brings so much satisfaction and fulfillment is knowing I am serving God there and following Him as we work together to bring healing to the people there.  I so appreciate the heart and ministry of Dr. Jane Weaver.  She is a special person who has devoted her life and career bringing God’s love to these people.

We accomplished a lot of work.  Howard and Jordan put in a tile floor and started on the walls.  Jane and I operated on 32 patients with many of the surgeries difficult and challenging.  Yet, God was with us throughout, empowering and equipping us to accomplish the work He called us to do.  God deserves all the praise and glory!

Father, thank You for this trip and bringing us to San Lorenzo to do Your work there.  Thank You for giving us safe travel to and from San Lorenzo.  Lord, it is such a joy to know You and walk with You.  Thank You, Lord, for everything.  May Your name and Your name only be praised!  Amen.



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