After a very busy week, today is the countdown to our departure for India. Two weeks ago my wife and I flew to Greensboro, North Carolina, for the General Conference of the UPCI. We attended our respective committee meetings: the Board of Regents, Division of Education, and a special study group for the Women’s ministry of the UPCI. It was also our responsibility to represent Christian Life College at the annual conference.
After a week of conference and travel it was back to school and the office. The last week was filled with faculty meetings, teaching classes, and preparing assignments or substitutes to cover the classes I will miss while in India. Of course, there are always the unplanned calls, emails and issues that must be addressed. I maintained a detailed “to do” list so that I would not miss anything that had to be done before my departure.
Gayla and I picked up Rhette at the Oakland airport Friday evening about 10:00. He flew in from Phoenix after work so he could be with us for a couple of days before we fly out. Saturday was filled with packing (what do I really need?), last minute purchases (gotta have snacks!), and preparation for Sunday in Pleasanton (what will I preach?). We had a music practice Saturday evening with the praise team and pizza following!
I was up until 1:00 AM taking care of countless details: online bills, church arrangements, and communicating with classes about assignments by email. Finally, when I went to bed I was still going through my mental checklist (What have I forgotten?). Unable to sleep, I got up, logged on the computer and checked in online with Singapore Airlines, before I was finally able to go to bed and sleep.
Dawn was barely breaking Sunday morning when I got up and pulled my sweats on for an early morning walk. A walk is my way of clearing the mind, praying, and thinking.
Before we left for church, we had to have everything completed and packed for India as well. We left the house about 11:15 for an hour commute to Pleasanton. In the service I shared some of the burden I have for India and a video presentation of my last trip. I preached on Spiritual warfare and how we are “Mighty in God!” My focus was on India and the spiritual battle in the U.S. with the upcoming general election. It is time to prevail in the Spirit! Prayer is our only recourse!
Following the service, several of us went to Fuddruckers to eat. Since our flight didn’t leave until after midnight, we had plenty of time to eat and fellowship. I fueled the car for my wife and then we went to Starbucks for coffee and to “hang out’ for about an hour before making the drive to the San Francisco airport. Gayla dropped us off at the International Terminal and we said our goodbyes. She will be attending the district board planning session the next few days so maybe she won’t miss me too bad!
Rhette and I had time to spare as we checked in about 9:45 for the 1:00 AM flight. He was impressed with the upscale shops in the airport after we went through the security checkpoint. There is Gucci, Coach, Mont Blanc, and other ritzy shops to take your money before you leave the States. We found a comfortable spot to wait out the time before our scheduled boarding at 12:30 AM. We made calls and I worked a little on the computer while I had an a/c plug-in!
Rhette watched my stuff while I went to the restroom. When I returned an older Chinese gentleman was lying on three chairs with his head on the arm of my chair. It was rather awkward sitting two inches from his bald head but I refused to be pushed out of my seat near the electrical outlet. Rhette got a nice picture of me!
Since we were on row 61, near the back of the Boeing 747, we were among the first to board. We sat in the center section by the aisle. The plane was nearly full, but God was gracious. The other two seats in the middle section of our row were vacant! Rhette moved down and we had a little more room to stretch out. Very nice for a 13.5 hour trip to Hong Kong!
I settled in for a good nap as we took off from SFO. About two hours into the flight they served supper! I had the chicken and vegetable selection, complete with Waldorf salad, dinner roll, cheese and crackers, and chocolate cake! Very nice!
After our early morning dining, I had no trouble sleeping for about four hours. Flying west and crossing the International Date Line thoroughly confuses the senses of time. Not only do you feel the time is mixed up, you lose a day flying west. We chased the darkness so it did not get daylight until we reached Hong Kong. We left SFO at 1:00 AM Monday, but it was Tuesday morning about 6:00 when we arrived in Hong Kong, China. We flew all night across the Pacific Ocean. According to the flight path screen, we were flying between Japan and the Philippines, and across Taiwan. As I write this, my wristwatch says it is 12:30 PM (Monday). No wonder I’m hungry again. But, it’s still dark outside!