An inauspicious start to the trip...
Trip Start Jan 22, 2017
11Trip End Feb 02, 2017
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Most of my trips are "flying solo" trips, but periodically I have the opportunity to have someone else travel with me. Last January Doug Horchak came with me, the first time he'd been in Ghana in nearly a decade. This year Jim Franks is coming. Mr. Franks and Mr. Horchak were some of the first ministers to travel to Ghana and meet the new group who had then contacted us. But it has been more than a decade since he has been there, and he’s mentioned several times that he wants to get back.
Mr. Franks flies out of Dallas and I fly out of Fort Smith. My trip is from Fort Smith to Atlanta where I catch a much larger jet to Amsterdam, then one more plane down to Accra. Mr. Franks goes from Dallas to London-Heathrow, and catches a plane from there down to Accra. Although we fly different routes on different airlines, our planes were scheduled to land in Accra within 5 minutes of each other. And on the return flight, they are to take off likewise within a few minutes of each other. I hope it works out as scheduled on the return trip, because it certainly did not on the trip over…
We’d had quite a bit of rain here overnight and throughout the morning (much needed and appreciated, I would add), but the weather cleared up by afternoon when I was scheduled to leave. Mary took me to the airport, and I breezed through security and out to the gate, where we boarded right on time.
The small CRJ plane was pretty full, and we all settled in and listened to the flight attendant go through all the typical things about how to buckle a seatbelt and so forth. I heard the engines start winding up, the jetbridge pulled away and we were ready to push off.
Then the engines shut down, and I saw the jetbridge coming back toward the plane as the flight attendant opened the door. The pilot came on to tell us the weather in Atlanta was so severe that they were not letting any planes land and had grounded all the planes there. It would be an hour before we got an update and possible permission to take off, so we were deplaning to go back to the gate area.
About ¼ of the passengers were now going to miss connections, so they left to either come back tomorrow or make other arrangements. After waiting nearly 90 minutes, they announced that we were boarding, and the rest of us lined up to go back out to the plane. But before we could even start the process they announced that Atlanta was again shut down, and it would be at least an hour before we would get another update.
By now I was in time trouble to make my connection to Amsterdam. The gate attendant told me there was very little chance I could make my connections, and IF our plane here ever took off (not assured at this point) I would likely spend the night in Atlanta. There is only one flight a day from Amsterdam to Accra, so if I missed that one, it would be 24 hours before I could get on another one.
Since I’d rather spend a night at home than in some motel in Atlanta, they booked me for the same route, but 24 hours later. I hate to have to do that, but some things are just beyond our control…
That will mean Mr. Franks arrives a full day before I will. I’m making arrangements for the car and driver to pick him up and take him a couple of hours down the coast to Winneba, where he is scheduled to conduct a Bible Study and visit with the local pastor. I should land in Accra about the time he gets back to his hotel after the study.
Wednesday morning the car and driver will then take Mr. Franks to visit with another of our pastors, and then take him on up to Kumasi. I’ll make my way up to Kumasi by bus, and plan to catch up with him at the hotel where I have reservations for us both.
So, anunexpected night in my own bed, then tomorrow go back to the airport and try it all over again!