Six weary travelers sit in the airplane at O’hare airport, five minutes from take-off. This will be the final leg of their journey which began on April 17. Five of them had spent two weeks in the scorching Haiti sun, helping to build a school which will serve as a witness to Christ for decades to come in the village of Grand Savann, Haiti.
And now, with 43 minutes of flying time remaining, we would be in St. Louis. But the adventure was not over. A hydraulic leak had been discovered dripping from the plane so the pilot came on the speaker system and said we would have to deplane and wait for a new one to arrive. How appropriate. The day had begun in Gressier, Haiti, at 5:00 am. We had gathered in a small bus with 8 Haitians to make the 90 minute ride to the Port Au Prince (PAP) airport. But the bus would not start. It took another 15 minutes of working on the battery to get the bus started. When we arrived at the PAP airport, we had to wait in line at the ticket counter for two and one-half hours for our boarding passes. The computer system was down and they had to write out almost 200 tickets by hand and check our name off the list. We were 90 minutes late leaving PAP. Fortunately, our layover was long enough in Miami that we were able to eat lunch and board our flight to Chicago. So it was only appropriate that we had one more twist to the story. We then boarded our fourth plane of the day and safely arrived in St. Louis.
We thank God for good health and safe travels on this final day of a great adventure. There had been frustrations and setbacks in getting the school started. The wall and ceiling panels had been delayed a week, so four members of the team did not get to see a single wall go up before they had to return home. But in that week, a well and a bread baking oven had been started. It had not been part of our plans, but we know God’s ways are higher. Just as Satan was given permission to sift Peter like wheat, it seemed this team had experienced their own amount of sifting. But we know that “our suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope”. And our prayer is that the school will be a beacon of hope for generations to come and that through it all, God will be glorified.
Most of the team had never been to Haiti. But they have returned to the U.S. with a life that will never be the same. The love that was experienced amongst our brothers and sisters in Grand Savann will stick with us forever.
If God is for us, who can be against us?!