Monday, Feb 25, 2019
Today I did administration and then we flew from São Tomé to Equatorial Guinea. We were the first ones to check in. I got through with no problem, and we went to the baggage claim to collect our luggage. After all was said and done, only 1 of our 4 pieces of luggage arrived! The flight is one hour with no stops in between. Someone was either stealing our luggage or São Tomé never loaded it on the plane. I had the baggage officer take me out to the tarmac to the plane and took pictures of the empty bin. Then I sent out prayer requests. Upon re-entering the baggage claim area, the baggage officer asked me if any of the bags there were ours. There were maybe 50+ bags and they were re-loading them on the conveyor belt. Ah. I think I know what happened. Someone in Libreville, where the flight originated had them load all this extra luggage. Thus, there was only room for 1 of our 4 bags. The rest? They will come on the next flight, I can imagine the employee saying. Only, the next flight here from São Tomé is Wednesday evening, which is when we leave to fly to Douala (on that same Ceiba airplane!). So, we are trusting the Lord to get our luggage to us in time to get the 16 Spanish LSU’s unloaded that are to say here...and evidently some French ones too, to recheck the baggage and get on the plane to Douala, flying from there to Bangui, CAR the next day. Or, we need to know that there will not be time for that and have them re-check the baggage in São Tomé for Douala and pick it up when we get there.
In one way what is happening has clarified what we are to do. After speaking to our host, we will minister to the pastors and those present for 2 days, and Justin plans to return in April when he goes to São Tomé to train facilitators. “Nothing is impossible to him who believes.” I read it in Mk 9:23 this morning.
Tuesday, Feb 26, 2019:
Today we got up and skipped breakfast, because they took too long to prepare it. Justin and I were driven to the AG church where we are holding two separate Pastor Meetings simultaneously in the same building, but obviously in different rooms. Justin is doing one in French, and I am doing one in Spanish.
The church did not have a portable speaker and the one I brought was still in the hotel. I haven’t charged them yet, but will this afternoon. So, this morning I taught the Spanish group live, while Justin had use of the speaker in the main sanctuary. After an 11:30 am break, we swapped, and I am in the main sanctuary using the speaker and watching some pertinent sessions on video, while Justin is now upstairs with the French speakers.
We are to finish about 2-2:30 today. We will then return for a 1 hour prayer meeting around 6pm. Then, the plan is to hold more meetings during the day manana, before flying to Douala and then the next day to Bangui, CAR.
This evenings “prayer meeting” was to start at 6pm. They picked us up at 6:20pm. The pastor wanted me to introduce what we do and then have Justin preach. He preached on Acts 26:16-20, not being disobedient to the heavenly vision.
Act 26:16-20 (NASB) 'But get up and stand on your feet; for this purpose I have appeared to you, to appoint you a minister and a witness not only to the things which you have seen, but also to the things in which I will appear to you; 17 rescuing you from the Jewish people and from the Gentiles, to whom I am sending you, 18 to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.' 19 "So, King Agrippa, I did not prove disobedient to the heavenly vision, 20 but kept declaring both to those of Damascus first, and also at Jerusalem and then throughout all the region of Judea, and even to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds appropriate to repentance.
He’s “going for it.” Quite a few people came forward to consecrate their lives to the Lord, to follow Him wherever He would lead, to find out the purpose or work He has called them to do.
Well, we actually did have a one hour prayer meeting. It happened after the full service that Justin preached. Then Pastor Sam (that is his surname) and his wife and his two delightful oldest daughters took us out to eat. He insisted to pay for our meal. Lord, bless him and his family.
Justin and I are to be driven to the airport tomorrow at 8:30am, before the meeting begins, to speak to the luggage official about whether he found our luggage was erroneously put on a plane to Bata. We contacted Adilson, who went to the airport today to identify our luggage in São Tomé, but the luggage official wasn’t there. He was supposed to go back there this evening, but we can’t reach him on the phone tonight. After talking to Ps Sam, he thinks like I do, that assuming the bags are in São Tomé, that they check them straight through to Douala and we pick them up there. We don’t know the turnaround time...when the Ceiba plane arrives from São Tomé and if it gives us enough time to get the luggage, take out LSU’s for here, recheck the bags and board the plane in that layover time... We hope to find out tomorrow. Whatever the case, we are trusting the Lord to reconnect us with the luggage (Mk 9:23).
Tuesday, Feb 27, 2019:
This morning, we went to the airport at 8:30am to meet with the baggage claim officer as instructed. Upon calling him, he said that they had some bags in storage and that we should contact him at 10am when that office opens. TIA. I told Justin that there was a real possibility that it was full of the extra bags that no one claimed on the night we flew here, but that our luggage may still be in São Tomé. So, I told him we still need to press our contact there to get with the São Tomé Ceiba luggage personnel to visually see the bags and either reroute them to Douala to arrive when we do (which is to be the same plane they would come here on), or if there was enough time, to let us know to get them here, drop off the LSU’s for here, recheck them and get on the plane to Douala.
At 10am, Justin called the Eq Guinea head of lost baggage. I was holding a session upstairs with the Spanish speakers, and his happy face rose through the floor as he came up the stairs. He exclaimed, “They found our luggage. It is here! They are taking me there to get it now.” I will now run back and forth between the French and Spanish training to do both, until Justin returns with the luggage. Let it be, Lord! Hallelujah! Almost 50 LSUs inside that luggage. 50*$350 = a $17,500 hard cost investment in expanding the kingdom!
I AM SO BLESSED, AWESTRUCK AND HUMBLED TO SEE HOW GOD TRULY MOVED ON PEOPLE TO GET US OUR LUGGAGE...IN AFRICA!
Justin ended up having 19 or 18 Spanish kits with him. He will return in April to do a complete training and then take half of them with him to the mainland side of Eq Guinea to Bata. He also plans to do a complete training in São Tomé in April on that same trip.
After we finished our training we ate and went to the airport with all our luggage:) In Eq Guinea they go through your luggage, all of it, on the way in. You then drop off the luggage and go back outside to another door to check in. So, we were waiting for more than an hour to check in for our flight as a result. Justin and I both slept the short flight to Douala. Our luggage arrived, praise God! We are staying at Hila Hotel (motel)...but at least it is clean and has ac:)
Tomorrow we fly to CAR and begin our meetings in the late afternoon or evening. The last part of this trip is “fast and furious.”