Monday March 4, 2019

Psalm 68:35 Awesome is God in his sanctuary, the God of Israel; he gives power and strength to his people. Blessed be God!

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Jeff prepares to head out for the airport. Yes, he is wearing a man skirt. And it is awesome.

Power and strength, we needed that in spades today.  As has been the case with nearly every time we have moved on to our next destination our travel arrangements have been, well let’s say “budget”.  When you travel with five people costs are already high but flying adds a whole new level of expense.  As a result we have been doing our due diligence in finding the most economical route at every opportunity.  The trip from Sri Lanka to Romania was no different.

The journey commenced at 2:40 this morning, an hour after scheduled departure which for an average adult would mean more time sipping cordials at the bar, but for us meant doing everything within our power to keep our three children from losing their collective minds.  At any given moment each one was within a nanosecond of utter meltdown which, in an international terminal, is not ideal.  Sara and I exuded patience at a level heretofore unseen on this journey as we expertly, and with a strong dose of God’s grace, managed to keep all three kids awake and sort of happy to get on the airplane.

Our Herculean efforts were rewarded with an upgrade to first class!  Hah, right.  No, we sidled into our economy seating which just happened to be one row in front of the exit row.  Oh happy day, we have no reclining seats!  “Lord grant me the strength to survive this flight.”  Sara and I split up.  She took the middle seat and allowed Luci and David to law down on her lap. I took Anjali who started off on me and then somehow migrated to the poor gentleman in the window.  As he was asleep he didn’t seem to mind or notice that he had a head pressed against his arm.  Sara and I took turns dozing and abruptly awakening as our bodies would suddenly lurch forward what with sitting at a 90 degree angle.  You know the feeling, you start to fall asleep and as your muscles finally concede to rest your body lurches forward uncontrollably whereby instinct kicks in and you rouse yourself just in time in a violent spasm.  You pretend like you meant to jerk your whole body awake and look around to see who saw only to find your spouse staring back at you with the look of utter sadness at her own understanding of your struggle.  To sum up, the kids slept, we did not.

We arrived in Dubai, chipper as Robins in spring.  Or we slogged off the airplane looking like we had just gone on an all night bender and pub crawled our way from Sri Lanka to the UAE.  Either way we made our way out and then navigated the Dubai airport which by all measures is the size of a medium sized city.  The bus ride from our terminal to the connections was twenty minutes, with no stops.  We did manage to get some views of the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world, which was kind of cool but otherwise standing on a lurching bus was not exactly what I was looking forward to at that point.  Arriving at our terminal we made the seven mile walk, or so, to our gate whereupon we sat and had some well deserved breakfast.  Fortunately our layover was short so Sara and I mustered the energy to entertain the kids and keep from drooling on ourselves as we flagged from exhaustion.  On to the next flight, we had another five hours to Bucharest and lo and behold, no upgrade to first class.  But we were not near an exit row so mercifully our seats would recline.  Of course in the economy section that means you go from a 90 degree angle to roughly 87.  As I got Anjali and Luci ready to take some extra naps I was treated to the lovely thudding as the kind gentleman behind me decided that my seat was apparently his own personal drum set.  I was too exhausted to care and I managed to doze intermittently.

Fast forward and we land in Bucharest.  We fly through immigration, bag check, and customs and meet our driver within minutes.  By far this was the fastest we have gone from flight to exit at any airport, except maybe Berlin, but not by much.  After a slight meltdown from Luci we were on our way to Brasov, a short two hour drive.  As we progressed out of the city and into the surrounding countryside and mountains we could not help but notice the similarity between this country and our home in Madison.  Though the mountains are noticeably taller, the trees, the homes, the feel was very Midwest.

We arrived at our new apartment and felt the overwhelming sense of peace as we reached our destination.  I think that the reading for the day is so appropriate as we started this new service opportunity as it reflects that God has given us strength to start over each and every time.  At each stop we did not know what we would encounter.  How would we live?  Would we have enough room?  Would we be able to communicate?  But we always faithfully put our trust in God and each and every time we have been rewarded tenfold.  I already love this place, and maybe that is the lack of sleep speaking, but more likely it is the grace of God.  Everywhere is His sanctuary and so everywhere we are we get to be in His awesome place.  We are so blessed to inherit this gift and I am so thankful for the strength he gives us to live it.

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