It has been a wild and woolly ride this weekend but all is well that ends well I supposed. Our nerves sure got a workout along the way!
I knew it was going to be a complicated weekend when the Lufthansa pilots announced on Thursday that they were continuing their strike through Saturday. However, I checked Friday morning and the Saturday night flight was still scheduled.
When we arrived at the hotel from the services on Friday afternoon, we had an email awaiting, telling us the flight Saturday night had been canceled. It was completely expected but it was still terribly disappointing.
It is not easy at all to reschedule airline tickets in Nigeria. The planes fly in and out of Lagos at near maximum capacity every day. With three nights of flights canceled, I knew the next few days were going to be a madhouse.
The only way to reschedule usually, is to go to the airport early in the morning and just wait in line. Wait in line some more and wait in line some more. Talk to everyone you can talk to, then when they say no, talk to them again.
That is why it was amazing Friday night when I received the email telling us that they had rescheduled us on the Saturday night Air France flight. It was awesome but I was afraid it was too good to be true.
All that we could do was go on with our Saturday morning service as planned and then go to the airport. That is exactly what we did.
God blessed in the last service of the Ministers Conference in a Mighty Way, Saturday morning. I loved every moment of it. We were all praising God for the Word we heard, the miracles we saw and the encouragement we felt.
Once it was over, we needed to get moving as soon as possible. I changed into my traveling clothes, shook glad hands with the brethren and then headed south.
The men below are some of Bro. Shobanke's Pastors in Abeokuta. He has eight plus himself.
We arrived on Saturday at the Lagos airport before 4:00 PM. We left Abeokuta after 2:00 so we made record time to the airport.
We were among the first 50 or so people in the Air France line. All the workers were there, and a huge line of people waiting, but for some reason they waited another 90 minutes or so to open the line.
After they opened, It took us about an hour to wait in line to weigh our bags, wait in line again to have our passports checked and our bags completely searched and finally wait in line a third time to approach the ticket counter.
On approaching the ticket counter my fears were confirmed. Air France had never heard of us or at least that is what they told us.
The ticket agent told me to go to the Lufthansa ticket counter or to visit the Lufthansa ticket office. I explained to her that we had already been hours in her line and we did not want to start that process over.
By now there were several hundred people in the line. I told the ticket agent I would leave my luggage right there with my wife and I would go to the ticket office.
I tried the ticket counter and they could not help and so I went in the back to the ticket office. One of the supervisors explained what was happening.
He said Air France knew I was booked with them but they would not issue a ticket to any of the Lufthansa customers until they were sure all the Air France customers had seats.
We had ticket numbers, we had confirmation numbers and we had a confirmation email but they would not acknowledge us until all their customers were seated.
He had been round and round with their office people but he went up to the Air France office one more time to go round and round again for me.
I really appreciate this man helping me. They had hundreds of people trying to leave and I know they were able to help very few.
He came back and told me to go and try again. I did and after much hand wringing and praying and discussing, they were finally to able to issue boarding passes.
After nearly 4 hours of standing in line, we finally had our boarding passes. Bro. Shobanke and his men stayed at the airport until this point. I tried to get him to go home but he would not.
I appreciate him taking such good care of us. When KJ was standing at the counter alone, his men stood behind the rope line about 50 feet away watching her. They were a great blessing to us.
It took another hour to go through customs and security but we finally made it to the gate. We had a long wait there as well but it was fine. I would rather wait at the gate than to be running to the gate at the last second as som had to do.
Some of those folks running toward the gate at 11:30 probably arrived at the airport well before 8:00!
The overnight flight was great. We were so hyped up that we did not even try to sleep. There was no need.
We arrived in Paris, made a sprint across the airport and through security again. Then the adventure began again.
We discovered at the gate, we were flying "standby" on our next flight. Wow! Thankfully they had two seats open.
This happy picture was taken moments before we found out we were not guaranteed seats on the next flight.
At our final destination our hotel shuttle did not show. When were finally able to communicate with them, they had no record of our hotel reservation even thought KJ had sent emails back and forth several times, including Friday.
What in the world?
We forwarded the confirmation to them and we finally checked in almost 29 hours after we started Saturday morning. What a fun ride!
Here we are 31 hours into our day and still going strong!
Hopefully the next few days of rest will go a little easier than the last few days. Whew!
No complaints though. It is All in a day's work I guess. It could be much, much worse. I could be Pastoring a church!
Kelly Jo's reward for stringing two days together and handling it like a pro!
Thank you for reading.