I meant to go to Uganda today.
I have a plane ticket… and I came to Atlanta to meet up with the team yesterday… and I’ve been packing and preparing my stuff and my heart for a good long time now.
But sometimes all that preparation isn’t quite enough to get you where you need to go.
The anticipation was thick as we gathered together with heaps of bags and 8 giant plastic tubs to take with us to our dear friends at Sole Hope. The flight was leaving at 6pm.
At 4 we were checking in…I went first.
“I’m sorry ma’m. Your passport isn’t valid.”
“Yes it is…it doesn’t expire until July.”
“Well to enter Uganda, your passport has to be valid at least 6 months past the travel dates. It’s different for different countries, but your travel agent should have told you that.”
“Well then, I’m sorry. We cannot issue your ticket.”
Silence. Numbness coursed through my entire body. A fist sized lump gathered in my throat and hot tears streamed down my face as I looked at my whole team in line with me.
They all heard it. Everyone was silent.
And then they all jumped in to encourage, “It’s ok…we’re gonna figure this out…I’m sure it’s going to be fine. We’ll just call a couple people and figure out what to do. It’s going to be ok…we’ll just work this out right quick.”
But I knew. They were going to get in the security line 10 minutes from now, and I wasn’t. I wasn’t going to be getting on that plane today.
My heart shattered in a million pieces and then I heard the Lord say, “Be brave. Trust me. Keep following me hard and know that what I have for you is good.”
Wynne started making phone calls. I called my friend Alexis who works in the airport. Cara, Carey, Melissa, Mo, Molly, and Erika gathered around me and prayed. What else could we do?
I stood in line to talk to another ticketing agent to figure out next steps. Holly from Sole Hope got on the phone with the passport office. Alexis started talking to the travel agent…and I blew a kiss to the whole team as they walked away into the journey we’ve all been waiting for.
I hope I get to join them. Because my heart just took off for Africa on a plane 3 hours ago with a group of women I just met and already love.
And I’m sitting here a little stunned, but still pretty hopeful. But I’m just gonna ask you to pray with me and for me as we figure this out.
So here are the logistics of what has happened, and what I want you to know should you EVER travel internationally. First of all…don’t ever try to go anywhere with less than 6 months before your passport expires. I don’t know why there is an expiration date at all if basically I just got dealt with as if it were expired, but just trust me on this one…keep it SUPER current.
I have a flight that has been rebooked for Wednesday night…it wasn’t cheap to fix that, but the Lord provided a bit over my total amount needed in the first place, so it covered that. The passport office in the airport told us that they could overnight my passport and have it back by Wednesday morning, so we were going to go with that option. But then they ended up telling us once we were there that they couldn’t get it in afterall. So they called and made me an appointment with the Atlanta passport office for Thursday because that was the first available option. They said at least if I make an appointment that then the office will know I’ve made a good faith effort. But then they and the ticketing agents told me to just show up tomorrow when they open to the passport office in Atlanta and honestly, to just pray for favor that there will be someone kind who will help me. They can re-issue me a new one if so tomorrow and I can be on my way on Wednesday. So it comes down to the kindness of an agent and the favor of the Lord just hovering over every step of the way.
My heart just went to Uganda…and I am still in Atlanta.
But I think of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and I find myself thinking…”But EVEN IF HE DOESN’T…I will still trust God, and I know that He is still so so good.”
I’m not even sure how to describe the feeling of standing there… stunned…like I was kicked in the gut and could hardly breathe. And watching my dear new friends walk away….fat, hot tears rolling down my numb cheeks.
Disappointment does not define the goodness of my God….no matter how great. So I am hopeful tonight that I will still go in 48 hours, but I am trusting enough to know that even if I don’t…my God is still good.