Greetings from Liberia. It seems like only 36 hours ago I was getting out of bed at the Red Lion near the Portland airport. And it was! It’s been a mostly (I said mostly) uneventful trip. There were a couple of frustrating, patience stretching moments but they are no in the rearview mirror.
I spent the night near the Portland airport so I didn’t have to have Brenda get up at 2:30am to take me. I got up at 3am Wednesday for my 6am flight. First stop was Atlanta where I had an almost 4 hour layover. I spent it in the lounge! A blessing!
Next stop was Paris. If you were with me on my late January trip, you might remember my frustrating, confusing experience with terminal 2E. Well, I think that mountain has been overcome. There was no problem finding my way around. This time is was “2E”asy… (“Too easy” for you literalists out there).
In Paris, I met up with Dr. Henry Johnson, who’s been a part of the ITEM team for many years and has been our “point man” for Tanzania. Covid has slowed down his own travels (he also does training in Asia and South America) and wanted to come along. I’m glad he did. I enjoy his fellowship. He has his own ministry: “Aaron’s Palm” check it out.
Paris was home of the first patience-challenging experience. They boarded late. Not unusual. Then they started preboarding but all that did was put early boarders” on the other side of the check in counter but still in a crowded line going nowhere. Then the called our group. And all that did was put more people on the other side of the check in counter at the gate, just standing and waiting. After standing for over an hour the line started moving. We got seated, all passengers were boarded, and we waited some more. One passenger checked in with luggage but didn’t show up at the boarding gate. Then they had to find the luggage and take off the plane. We took off about 90 mins late.
A five-hour flight took us to Bamako, Mali where we landed. Most of the passengers deplaned. We stayed on board with a handful of others for about an hour. Then we flew the final hour to Morovia, Liberia.
Upon arrival we had to be retested for Covid even though we all had to test negative no more than 3 days ago. Before leaving Atlanta, I was told to download the Liberia Travel App. I did, tried to fill out the e-arrival form (twice) and tried to pay for the covid test online; I thought I did but something went wrong. It took me another 15-20 minutes to fill it out there. Then they saw that my payment was only “pending” so they made me use cash. (I could get dinged twice if the pending clears.) But Henry and I are here and it’s time for some sleep.
Friday morning after breakfast, Henry and I will be tested yet again. (“Are you kidding?” the interested reader asked. “NO,” responded the patience-tested missionary.) We travel to Kenya next Monday and Kenya requires a negative Covid test no more than 3 days from arrival. And to be sure we get our results in time, we have to be tested Friday.
After that, Henry and I will spend the rest of the day with the ITEM team reviewing ITEM distinctives, philosophy of ministry, strategy, and emphasizing that our priority is changed lives and churches, not to see how many pastors we can get to attend our seminars.
There is more to preview but it’s past 11 here. Time for bed. More tomorrow.
By His grace,