the final stretch

Many people know that I cannot nap.  What few people know is that hand-in-hand with the not-napping is an inability to sleep on an airplane.  It is 1:25pm on the clock in front of me.  I am sitting at gate H37 in the Munich Airport.  I have been awake for 25 hours.  I do not function well without sleep and the only thing driving me at the moment is this gigantic magnetic force that is only an hour and a half flight away.  Well that, and German espresso.

The past 25 hours deserve to be documented.  We had an original plan of arriving in Belgrade by way of planes, trains, and automobiles.  There are free daily flights to Germany and Spain from both Andrews Air Base and Dover Air Base.  We live near both and we felt certain that it would be easy to get on one of these flights.  We planned to purchase raileurope passes and travel by train from where we landed to Belgrade and then rent a car to drive to our apartment.

On Friday, Chad called both bases and flights were scheduled for Saturday, Sunday and Monday.  On Saturday, he called again and things had changed.  The Nuclear Summit was underway and it turns out that the bases were hosting world leaders.  All flights were bumped from Sat. to Sun. and then from Sun. to Mon.  Then, on Monday morning, Andrews cancelled all flights until Wednesday and Dover cancelled all but one and could not guarantee that it would fly.  There was a lot of pacing going on at our house.  Our ministry appointment is tomorrow at 11am.  Chad and I both spent hours on the internet and making phone calls trying to find an affordable way to get to Serbia as quickly as possible.  Two months ago, I checked airfare from DC to Belgrade.  I checked every discount online travel agency and I checked with the humanitarian agencies.  The fares were outrageous.  At 1pm yesterday, I sent an email to Golden Rule Travel.  They book travel for humanitarian purposes.  Someone from their agency called Chad and by 2pm we were booked on flights from DC to Belgrade leaving at 8:10pm.  The roundtrip fare for five people and one-way fare for Ana-Sophia totaled about $2000 more than what we were planning to pay for our planes, trains, and automobiles adventure.  The comfortable travel and the peace of mind that we will get there on time were worth every single penny.

We made a mad dash to get packed (for the 4th or 5th time) and headed out for Dulles at 5:42pm.  Dulles is 26 miles from our house and the fastest way to get there is the beltway.  Anyone who has ever driven in the DC area, knows that there is never anything fast about the beltway between 3pm and 7pm.  We prayed before we pulled off of our street for God to give us a clear path.  Guess what? He did!  We pulled into our parking spot at 6:12.  There was absolutely NO traffic.  It made no sense.  I think that Chad had our mouths hanging open the entire trip.  Go God!

I don’t want anyone to think it’s been stress-free and all grins and giggles.  The mad dash brought out the worst in all of us and we were all able to identify it.  While we were standing in line to check our baggage, Seth slapped his hands together, squeezed his eyes tightly shut, and said, “God, I’m pleading with you to make the devil stop attacking us.  Please, God!  I’m begging you to help us all get along.” Talk about conviction!

We got through security in less than 15 minutes (another act of God) and when we got to the gate, they rearranged our seats so that we were all able to sit together.

On the sleepless eight hour flight, I caught up on some movies and recalled just how many things I forgot to pack.  It looks like Seth will be wearing bright yellow Keens for the next three weeks.

We are now too exhausted to argue and too excited to even want to.

At this time tomorrow, we should be with Ana-Sophia.

A ninety minute flight.  A cab ride to our apartment.  A good night’s sleep.  A ministry appointment.  A drive to a little town about an hour south of Belgrade.  And the waiting will be over.

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