Thursday, October 2, 2014

Day Two – Air Travel Ain’t What it Should be!

4:15 PM local time.  We are on the last of our three flights taking us to Kinshasa, DRC.  Having left Oklahoma yesterday at 11:45 AM, we are now in our 23rd hour on the road.  We have seen the inside of Dulles International Airport in Washington D.C., where we had a two hour layover.  We met up with David Owen from Global Ministries at Dulles.  David’s extensive experience in the DRC is greatly treasured by the entire team.  Just having one person who knows the labyrinth you go through once you get in-country is comforting to a new ministry team entering a country for the first time.

Then it was on to Brussels Airport in Belgium.  After a 7½ hour flight, we had a very welcome three hour layover that allowed us to regain our senses before heading on to Africa.   The excitement seen on everyone’s faces in Oklahoma City had been replaced with fatigue by the time we arrived in Brussels.  But after patiently waiting for our gate to open, we once more gathered our backpacks and bags, were checked in at the gate, and headed for seats closer to the jetway; so we could board quickly at the appropriate time. 

Of course, we did have to wait on our social gathering team, comprised of Gwen Shaw and Lisa Carpenter-Grant, who have seemed to spread out their belongings and either return emails and text messages or strike up a conversation with other passengers.  Steve Hanson has established the five minute rule for the remainder of the trip to ensure that we don’t lose anyone in the transportation process.

The ten hour flight from Brussels took us through Luanda, Angola where we disembarked some passengers and picked some more up before continuing on to Kinshasa.  Upon our arrival, we were processed through immigration which was very similar to many Latin American countries immigration process.  After we all processed through, we were escorted to a VIP waiting room while several protocol officers engaged by the Disciples of Christ church in Kinshasa gathered our equipment bags.

Finally after a 45 minute wait our luggage was all accounted for and we loaded up in a van; nine of us in a minivan along with all of our carry-on luggage and personal items.  It looked like a large can of sardines.  However, as we drove across the city we quickly realized that most of the other vehicles had considerably more passengers than we did.

12:45 AM Local Time.  Arriving at the hotel, our exhausted team checked in and met in the hotel restaurant for a light dinner and to meet Jacques  Mulunda from Water 4.  And then….. we gave in to our aching bodies and called it a night.  But, the good is that God has been watching over us and WE ARE HERE!!!!

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