Sunday, October 18, 2009

A foggy Day in London Town

I say there chap, instead of coffee, I think I’ll have a spot of tea. That is pretty much what I expected to hear once we landed at Heathrow around noon Friday. After clearing customs and security, we decided as a team we didn’t have time to go into town and do any sightseeing, Instead, everyone scattered to the four corners of terminal 5 (a city to itself) to wash up, find something to eat and check out the duty free shop.

After an all night flight with only a few hours of fitful sleep, I decided that tea wasn’t what I needed. Instead, I headed straight for – you guessed it – Starbucks and had a Iced Quad-shot, Americano. It did the trick. I am now wired and ready for the next leg of our endurance flight – a ten hour flight from London to Lusaka. It will be Saturday morning in Lusaka. In Seattle, it will still be around 9:30 Friday night.

Speaking of Seattle, a nice young woman came up to me on the plane this morning and said, “Aren’t you a pastor in Enumclaw, WA?” It turns out Erin is Dorothy and Keith Blackburn’s granddaughter. She and her newlywed husband are in London to visit family before heading on to Spain for their honeymoon. What a surprise that out of a packed Boeing 777, we would bump into someone from Enumclaw with Calvary connections.

During our approach to London, Jillian, our flight attendant sat down in the jump seat just opposite my exit row seat. She asked what we were all doing because she had noted we were traveling as a group. When I told her we were going to minister at schools that reach out to orphans in Zambia, she began to open up and talk about her faith and that she has gone for the past several summers to help at orphanages in South Africa, Kenya and other places in Africa under the sponsorship of the Catholic Church.

It was cool and cloudy in London when we landed. In some ways it felt very similar to landing in Seattle. And to top it all off, once we got to the terminal we were reunited with Swampy Marsh – our ninth team member who flew to London from D.C. after seeing his daughter married. We are once again a complete team. It has cleared now that we are about ready to depart. Once we hit Zambia, it will be a different story though. Forecasts are for it to be very summer like there: Sunny and hot.
Joy, our close friend from last year’s trip will meet us at the airport tomorrow and help us get settled in the Vineyard Guest House and Lodge. Once we have washed up and rested, we intend to head out in the afternoon to visit “The Healing Place School.” We want to meet Winnie, survey the site where we will be working and meet some of the children. School will not be in session but if last year’s experience is any indication, children from all over the neighborhood will be curiously attracted to our presence there. This trip is all about the children after all. We have lots of donated items to give. But even more, we have lots of love and faith to share also. Pray that this would be our focus throughout the week.

God has provided in amazing ways for us to be here. I want to represent Enumclaw, Rotary, all the people who have supported this trip and Calvary well. However, I desire that I and our team would be ambassadors of Christ’s reconciling love.

Let me remind you of who is on our team. Myung Hong, Jon Funfar, Lisa Mierke, Lauren Hardman, Cate Underbrink, Terry Marsh (Swampy), Jessica Iunker, Jeff Iunker and me.
In the cars on the way to the airport yesterday, someone shared about some interviews she had heard of ten people who had just attempted a summit climb of Mt. McKinley (Denali). Only four made it to the top. She asked if we could guess what each of those four said was the reason they made it to the top and the reason that the other six said they didn’t. Those six who didn’t summit each said that they set out to give it their all, to put out 110%, and to strive as hard as they could to attempt this climb. Instead, they burned out. But the four who did make it said – to a person – that their attitude was to take it one step at a time, to learn from each experience along the way, and to focus on the journey, not the summit. And in the process, ironically, they were the ones who made it. Pray that we all focus on the journey and the growth from the experience and that we don't burn out.

Lord help me to focus on the journey, on the people I am teamed with, on the lessons I can learn along the way and the joy and blessing of having this opportunity. Don’t allow me to get lost in the details of simply accomplishing a great number of tasks and physically working as hard as I can. Open my heart so that the children of Lusaka can touch my heart even as I pray, I might touch theirs.

Well, I won’t be able to post this until after we arrive in Lusaka. But it is just about time to head towards our departure gate so I think I will finish another good strong cup of coffee and then prepare myself to be used this week however God wants.

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