THE CASE OF THE MISSING LUGGAGE…

…or HOW TO START YOUR FIRST WEEK OF CROSS-CULTURAL TRAINING WITH A ONE-YEAR-OLD!

photo: 3bfa3525

photo:3bfa3525

This is the saga of what happened in our family this past week.  I don’t really know the whole story, but will tell you the parts I do know.  If you read my facebook or twitter page, you know parts of this story already.

Once upon a time a couple who had been married a few years decided to move to Ukraine.  The wife, Dawn had lived there for six years before they were married.  Her husband Steve wanted to live and work there too.  So they decided to move to that country for a three year, short-term mission to do a specific job.  They had a little boy named Stevie who gave special meaning to the word CUTE!

One day, after their support was at the level (about 80%) that showed they would be able to go to Ukraine before long, they needed to go to Brussels, Belgium for 4 weeks of Cross Cultural Training.  They thought and planned to get ready for their trip.  There were many things they had to do to prepare including buy a special travel bed and plan for the needs for their son while in Brussels.  The tickets were bought and everything was ready.

Meanwhile, a huge snowstorm came and hit Georgia, the state where the Atlanta airport is.  That was the airport  the Sparks family was planning to change planes in for their trip to Brussels.  The day before their trip, they received a phone call telling them that their flight from Atlanta was cancelled.  Soon another call came to tell them that the flight they had rescheduled for the next day was also cancelled because of the weather.  Again, they got on the phone and computer to reschedule flights so they wouldn’t fly out of Atlanta.

Now their flight had 3 legs instead of 2 (on 3 different airlines!) and they were back to leaving on Monday as originally planned.  When they got to the airport, their flight was delayed…almost an hour…and they had to reschedule a flight again so they could get from Austin, TX to DFW for their transatlantic flight.  They did and were able to get their 3 seats together…all answers to prayer.  They arrived in Brussels in the early afternoon of the next day to find that their luggage was LOST.  As airline employees from three airlines tracked it, no one could seem to find it. At least we think they tried.  Considering that all their supplies for Stevie plus everything they needed for this month was in their luggage, it was a very disappointing start to their training.  This is an example of understatement!  It was probably more like a freak-out moment…or ten!

NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE DETERMINATION OF OVER 60’S…ESPECIALLY IF THEY ARE THE GRANDPARENTS!

Now was the time for the big leagues.  Something HAD to be done.  One of Stevie’s grandmothers got on the computer and asked everyone she knew on facebook, twitter and her church to pray for the luggage to be found!  As others heard of the problem, they prayed and asked friends to pray in their circles of influence.

His other grandma got on the phone and computer calling airlines and checking computer links to find that luggage so her grandson would have his cozy bed to sleep in.  When she had to leave for work, Stevie’s great-aunt Patty and his great-uncle Steve got on the phone and computer to find those suitcases.  Others that I don’t know about also helped as well.   These were tough, determined people from the over 50 set.  These were no wimps.  After all, Stevie, and his parents, needed their things for the month in Brussels!

NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF GOD AND HIS ABILITY TO ANSWER PRAYER!

Finally, on Thursday, the luggage was found…at DFW airport!  It was found in time to make the 3:30 PM flight from DFW to Amsterdam and from there to Brussels.  During our night on Thursday, the luggage arrived so the Sparks family received it during their Friday daytime.  (They are 7 hours ahead of our Central Time.)

What did they learn?  I don’t know yet.  I suspect that one thing was that God’s timing is never the same as ours.  I’ve never enjoyed learning that!  Every single lesson has been painful.

Another thing they probably learned is that they are so grateful for God’s provision of people in their lives who love them and care for them both in the U.S. and there in Brussels.  People loaned them clothing and supplies.  Yes, they had to buy some things, but some things they were able to borrow.  Another thing that happened was that they received WAY more prayer support than they probably would have during that first week of training…yes, they needed it, but they need it this whole month.  Now they have it.

HAVE YOU HAD A TIME IN YOUR LIFE WHEN YOU LEARNED SOMETHING REALLY GOOD THROUGH A DIFFICULT CIRCUMSTANCE?

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