Apparently there's a little weather going on. Everything going in and out of Houston seems to be running about three hours late. Our flight out of SeaTac left a little less than two hours late and ended up taking longer than anticipated after we were sent on a circuitous route over Louisiana in order to avoid more unfriendly weather. A few of the girls didn't fare so well, and we've used our allotment of air sick bags, but otherwise we made it safe and sound to Houston a half-hour before our flight to Tegucigalpa was to leave. We rushed over to the gate just in time to hear they were putting us on another flight that was created to accommodate, among others, a group of forty mission travelers from Tennessee who had missed their connection the day before. That flight was to leave an hour later, but came in about two hours late from Philadelphia because of, you guessed it, weather.
We had a great conversation while we waited. Tommy came over to see what was up with this bleary-eyed group of brightly-shirted travelers. He's leading this team of doctors, dentists, medical technicians and others--one of 37 groups, I think he said, who will go down this year to a rural area south of Tegucigalpa and just north of the Nicaraguan border with BMDMI, a Baptist medical and dental mission organization. It's pretty obvious Tommy, who is on his 9th trip, is "all in" when it comes to this work. He's an engineer by trade, and I imagine he's put his skills to work in managing a pretty complex operation.
But the passion was most evident when he told stories of ways that generosity tends to flow when people are given an opportunity to give to something significant. (It seems to me we know a little something of this, too!) He told of a complicated series of events and fortuitous encounters, for example, that led to FedEx shipping for free a 40 foot container of supplies their group had put together to send down ahead of them. Tommy pointed out what I've noticed, too -- that these kinds of trips have the power not only to do some good for those we visit, but perhaps even more, to open us to all sorts of goodness and kindness, and to the power of God's presence in those who have little but their good will toward others, their ingenuity, and their willingness to take a chance on opening themselves up.
We will see much, much more of this, I suspect, once we actually arrive at NPH. But I've already seen that in this little group of ours who already seems to be taking such good care of each other. We're all pretty punchy from lack of a good night's sleep, but we have so far absolutely everything that we need, and everywhere you turn, someone is helping someone else out.
UPDATE -- HERE SAFE AND SOUND
We're here safe and sound and now very tired. The landing to the Tegucigalpa airport is a once-in-a-lifetime experience you should ask someone on the trip about sometime (or you can even google it). We made it into Tegus (Tay GOOS), as they call it around here, in good time. Donna and Kristen had left early in the day from the ranch, which is about an hour's drive from the airport, so they didn't get the message that we were going to be late. You'd never know by their grace that they had been waiting around for several hours. They had pizza and water waiting for us when we got on the bus and enjoyed a bumpy ride through crowded streets and rich, lush vegetation that holds onto steep and dramatic mountains and deep valleys.
We arrived at the ranch to a beautiful guest house with banana or plantain trees growing in the courtyard, a cool drizzle gave us a bit of relief from the warmth. After a walk through some of the hogares (oh GAR ace)--homes--on the 2000 acres, a longer stop at the baby house and then dinner, we've had a brief debriefing and everyone is on their way to bed. I suspect most everyone will be asleep by about 8:30 and hopefully well-rested for an early morning.
I hope you will begin to hear from some of the other blogging voices in the days to come, so stay tuned! And thank you for your prayers and support.