Wednesday, February 04, 2009

I woke up at 4:30 a.m. on Monday to be ready to leave for the airport at 6:30 a.m. We had to be there at 7:00 a.m. Julio's brother, Raphael, picked us up in the school van and Leila and Laura went along to be sure we got through everything at the airport. I can't believe how crazy the traffic was at 6:30 a.m. but we made it to the airport safely (which we were always thankful for with all the crazy driving) just a few minutes after 7:00 a.m. We figured we would get checked in and through security and have plenty of time to look around at the shops in the airport Boy were we wrong! We first had to stand in line to get a slip of tax exemption because we paid our exit tax in with our ticket prices. We then stood in a very long and very slow line to check in. In this line we went through our 1st security clearance as we were questioned by security officers about all sorts of things: the reason for our trip, where we stayed, our professions, how we obtained our ticket (this one almost tripped Dad up as his ticket was the one we got with airline miles), who packed our luggage, etc. We got through this clearance but then Dad got pulled to have his luggage searched ... and of course his underwear was right in top! Finally we arrive at the check in counter and get checked in without any problems. We then proceeded to the next security clearance where we and our carry-on items are checked. We said our goodbyes to Laura and Leila before getting in line We were really glad to have them with us to guide us through the maze. We both got frisked at the clearance and then passed through. At this point we still thought we had enough time to look around so we stopped in one of the shops.
Dad came with the determination to purchase me an emerald since Columbia mines emeralds and is known for some of the finest in the world. We never got a chance to shop for any during the week so we took a look at the airport. We were astonished at how expensive they were. The first necklace I looked at was over $1000.00 US. I have to admit the depth of the color and clarity of the emeralds were exceptional. We lowered our expectations of what we would be able to purchase and I found a beautiful emerald pendant. I purchased a chain for it once back home.
We went on to locate our gate and I was still thinking I could look around after finding it but, again, I was wrong. First of all, to our surprise we had to go through another security clearance to get to the gate area. We got settled at the gate and I went to purchase a snack as we had not had breakfast. I got back to find that we had to take everything out of the gate area as they set up another security clearance we had to go through. We went through this clearance to be told they were bringing my checked luggage to the gate for searching. I'm still not sure what the deal was but they had an officer come to check mine. The other bags were being checked by a clerk and the dogs came to sniff mine. They told Jim he had to stay to be there for the search and the plane was then currently loading so Jim sent me on to the plane. I was very nervous as I waited and waited and waited for him to come on the plane. Finally I saw him. He said the officer moved things around and sniffed my bag. I'm not sure what they were looking for but they didn't find it.
Finally we took off for Newark, New Jersey. This was a long, hot, and uncomfortable flight that seemed like it would never end. When we finally arrived in Newark, they had all flights in a holding pattern while they changed the runway schedule due to weather. It was an awesome feeling to get off that plane. I was glad to be back in the States. Going through customs and baggage check went quickly and smoothly which we were glad of because we were late getting in and had to change terminals and were pushing it to get to our next flight in time. Then we found out our next flight had been delayed an hour due to weather. We had a smoothie, made some phone calls and waited.
The departure time kept changing but finally we boarded ... to wait for de-icing of our plane. It was great to finally get off the ground and headed for Detroit. We arrived in Detroit, dug our car out of the snow & ice, grabbed supper, and headed for home ... HOME SWEET HOME!!!! We arrived home around midnight to excited dogs and a warm, comfortable home. We were definitely exhausted from our 18-19 hour day but very blessed and very fulfilled!
I am so thankful that God opened this door of ministry for us. We were so blessed in so many ways! I can't wait to see the next door that God opens!

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