Teleios Ministry

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Saturday: An Incredible Journey Ends

At times comical, at times unbelievable, at times rewarding, but most of the time was spent sitting. We left Dar Es Salaam as planned around 12:45 AM on December 17. Bonnie and I were able to get an empty seat between us on the flight for more sleep space.

When we got to Amsterdam, snow was coming down and everything was white. Other than freezing temperatures and snow coming down, nothing out of the ordinary. No flights were being canceled. So, in hope we went to board our Delta flight to Atlanta scheduled. We boarded the plane around 9:30 AM. Soon, with excitement we began pushed back from the gate and went to be deiced. That's when the fun began. Time we left the gate and moved to the taxiway, Amsterdam airport shut down. After a period time, the pilot let us know we were once again heading for Atlanta as soon as we were deiced. Well, time we got to be deiced, they closed the airport again. We sat at deicing for a few hours. Delta executives decided to bring the plane back to the terminal. Pilot and crew did not have enough time to fly it across the ocean. So we headed back to the Terminal. By now we had been on the plane about 6 hours. We literally taxied around and around the airport. Finally after 8 hours on the plane we were given a gate. We got to the gate and the bridge would not fit the plane (747 bridge only--who knew!). The pilot said the cabin crew would assist us. The head steward of the cabin crew came on the loud speaker and said, "We don't know what is going on either; we don't know how we will help." Then, they said we were going to get steps. Well, the pilot came back on and told us the steps were frozen in a snow bank so we couldn't get off the plane. At this point, now, 9 hours on the plane, we were going to a "remote" gate and be bused back to the terminal. Then, the tow "truck" was somewhere and had to come. By, 9.5 hours on the plane the tow "truck" finally showed up and towed us literally across a highway so that you could not see the terminal. Finally, a little around 8 PM we boarded buses. You will like this, it is freezing cold and snowing. The bring one bus and it fills up. They did not have the other bus waiting. The people after us had to wait for the bus to come in the freezing weather. The buses took us back to the Terminal. The pilot who was a lot more ticked off that us, was really frustrated. The crew did a great job. The pilot told us that he had been informed by Delta that KLM would have a representative to help us at the terminal when we got off the bus. After 10.5 hours, we arrived back at the terminal and never left the airport. You guessed it. We got off the bus and no one was there. We were just dumped off the bus. Went upstairs and the transfer desk closed. There was thousands waiting in line. KLM just closed down. They did not know what to do so they just closed. So, at 9 PM, Bonnie and I began to figure out our strategy for "survival". We went to the KLM Lounge but the staff (one KLM service rep in particular had a meltdown and the whole lounge was closed). Everyone was sent out. We found two empty seats on a bench. I went looking for food (even McDonald's closed and would not let people sit there area after closing. Now, the whole airport is shutdown for travel and thousands are there. I passed back by the KLM Lounge and it had reopened. Bonnie and I were excited.

The Hallelujah news is that we got showers at 11 PM on Friday night. KLM was going to close the lounge at 11 PM (regular procedure). But then decided to keep the lounge open--I really don't think anyone would have left. One funny thing, the customer service supervisor came on the speaker and said, "Don't ask us any more questions. We are going home. We will not answer any more questions." We got to rest. Michal had worked to rebook us on a flight through Detroit. The pilot said the same plane would fly on Saturday morning with same seats. But no one knew--not KLM, not Delta representatives, no one.

This morning, Bonnie and I went to the Atlanta flight like the pilot said first. Sure enough when my boarding pass printed for the "Detroit" flight on seats where on the Atlanta flight. It was late three hours, but we finally left. Oh, on hour delay because KLM/airport forgot to put food on the plane. So we had to wait on the catering service. The pilot was really funny. We got deiced and took off for Atlanta. People were clapping, the pilot came on and said, "People we are going home." One pilot had said earlier, "Folks, I promise you were are going to Atlanta today."

I must say that the Delta people did a great job. KLM was very disappointing. Usually they lead the way in customer service. But, they had no sense of improvising. Throughout the Amsterdam airport, you could see they were totally overwhelmed.

Bonnie and I arrived in Atlanta at 3:15 PM. The Delta agent did a good job getting us on the first flight to Greenville. We arrive in Greenville just before 6 PM today. Oh, our luggage was not so fortunate. We left Mpeli and Neema's house at 3:30 AM Eastern Standard time on December 16. We arrived at our home at 7 PM on December 18. So after 63.5 hours, the incredible journey ended.

I end with this story. Sitting next to us on the 10 hours joy ride around Amsterdam airport, was a young man living in Dar Es Salaam. He is a business man and a serious Christian. We made a new friend for partnership. He and his wife had only been in Tanzania since July. The strange thing was that Bonnie and I referred him to people who could help him. Also, we talked about how to Be serious about living our faith in Jesus in the marketplace. Mpeli will be in touch with him. Our God is amazing in all things how he puts people together in the strangest situations to accomplish his purposes. I don't know all of the reasons or purposes of the people we met on this incredible journey. But, I know that God is not a God of the coincidence. We are looking forward to what He has prepared from these new relationships.

Thank you for your prayers, your encouragement, and your partnership in the Gospel. We are happy to be home and looking forward to seeing you.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Thursday and Friday: Coming Home

We said goodbye to the children and headed for Iringa airport to catch Flightlink flight to Dar Es Salaam at 12:45 PM. The picture is of Bonnie getting off the 12 Passenger plane in Dar. We made it to the International Airport in Dar around 3 PM. Mpeli had arrange a taxi but it was caught in the famous Dar traffic jam. So Bonnie and got our own taxi--hakuna matata. We decided to go on to the airport. We could not check in so we waited outside the airport from 3 until after 9 PM to check in. I, Floyd, am so proud of Bonnie. We actually connected with some great people some Tanzanians and some Americans. We saw Mrs. Nyombi from Mbeya waiting for her daughter to come in to the airport. Check out Todd and Ann Ziems from Michigan now live in (especially all our partners with interest in clean water). Here we are now waiting in Dar Es Salaam for our 12:45 am flight to Amsterdam.

Thank you for your prayers and we look forward to seeing you tomorrow.

Wednesday: Day of Celebration The End

Most of the following photos were taken by the children. They enjoyed soccer, treats, and just having fun hanging out together.

The last photo is of a lady who is keeping her orphaned nephew. A very poor family with a great story of the difference a chicken can make. ProAfrica, a Romanian NGO, founded by Adrian Giorgiov and his family, Oradea, Romania, connects sponsors with vulnerable children in Kenya and Tanzania. Through ProAfrica's partner in Tanzania, Daily Bread Life Children's Home, over 50 orphan and vulnerable children are helped. One of them, Frank lives with his great aunt. She received funds from ProAfrica that enabled her to purchase a chicken. Now, three months later she has 14 chickens. She wept as she shared how this had changed their lives. Now they have eggs to eat and to sell.

Wednesday: Day of Celebration The Wisemen Drama

Wednesday: Day of Celebration Part Two of Worship

The schedule for the day was worship, celebration dinner, and then part two which included singing, testimony and the children's drama (separate blog).

Wednesday: Day of Celebration the beginning

Currently we are at the Dar es Salaam airport at an internet cafe. Will post pictures and then try to share what happened.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Tuesday: Back to Iringa

We began early in the morning making our way back to Iringa. But first a couple of pictures of the hotel. One interesting part of the hotel, The Bearco, was the stuffed animal trophies on the walls. This buffalo watched you as you ate breakfast every morning. Bonnie is standing at the front gate with the impala crossing above.

The next pictures are from our journey back to Iringa. The first is a man and his family planting corn. Then, plowing the old fashion way with two bulls and hand plow. The final picture is what Mpeli and I refer to as our "Rest Area". Yes, I has a nice place to pull of the road, plenty of trees and bush, not dangerous, excellent rest area.

When we arrived in Iringa we were able to meet with our great friends, the Nyombis. We have invited them to visit us in May 2011. They are a great friends of Daily Bread Life Ministry. He currently serves as the Advocate General of the Mbeya District (he is responsible for security and police issues in the district). Please pray that all will work out so that they can join us in May. Back at home, we had a great lunch prepared by our great friend and chef, Jonas. Then, Bonnie and the DBL Drama Team (all the children) prepared the Christmas Drama for tomorrow's Christmas celebration. King Herod was enjoying being fanned. The wisemen were getting their gifts in order for Mary and Joseph. One funny part centered on the baby Jesus. The children selected a mzungu (white) doll with red hair. Bonnie asked then about the choice. Since she had been teaching them early about human anatomy and reproduction, he asked how an African couple could have such a child. The children laughed and immediately went with the a more appropriate doll for Mary and Joseph.

Yusta and the others staff were preparing the Children's Home for the celebration. It is going to be a great day.

After worship, we had "foot measuring." Several of the children were not able to be fitted from all the shoes that we brought with us. So, their feet were measured on a piece of white paper. Foot on the paper, trace around the foot, write then name, and tomorrow we buy the right size shoes. Gives new meaning to comparison shopping.

Tomorrow will be quite a blog. We will cover the Christmas celebration. Hopefully we will post tomorrow morning before we leave Iringa on our safari home.

Flight from Iringa to Dar Es Salaam leaves at 12:45 PM--arrives Dar at 3:15 PM. We change terminals and wait until 12:45 AM on the 17th. Then, we begin our safari from Dar Es Salaam to Amsterdam to Atlanta to Greenville. Your prayers for a timely safari home are deeply appreciated.