Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Up in the Air
UP IN THE AIR Greetings from the top of the world's tallest building. Actually, they only allow tourists up to the 124th floor of the burjh kahlifa tower in Dubai. Nevertheless, the view is spectacular at night. The city of Dubai is truly a jewel in the desert. The temperature when we landed was only 108 degrees F with what I would guess to have been a relative humidity of 70%. Being situated right on the Gulf of Oman, Dubai is a virtual crossroads of trade, travel and tourism. After an exhausting flight of nearly 14 hours, we arrived in Dubai around 7:00 pm their local time. By the time we got settled in our hotel - The Copthorne. We freshened up a bit then hit the streets to see, hear, smell and experience all we could in our brief overnight stay. Activities varied: Some ate at a genuine Lebanese restaurant; two people skiid in an indoor ski area. Several of us went up the tower and in the process, also saw a beautiful enclosed aquarium teeming with a vast variety of beautiful fish and a stunningly beautiful fountain synced to authentic middle eastern music. Some toured the city by bus; others shopped. I think we all got to do everything we desired to do. We even got a few hours of sleep before rising to a continental breakfast and a 9:25 am flight to Lusaka. I had the privilege of speaking to a number of interesting people in Dubai. On the bus from the airport, Judy and I met a man from Toronto who was going to do business in Uganda. Standing in the check-in line at the hotel, another toronto resident shared that he actually had been born in Iraq and was returning to visit family. He had worked in the government under Saddam Hussein and had fled prior to the Gulf War. He spoke with gratitude for the changes which have taken place there. This morning on our flight to Lusaka (I am writing this in mid-air and will post later today if I have wi-fi) I am sitting next to a couple who now live in Zimbabwe and are returning home to Harare after a vacation. They are Presbyterians and said they would pray for the Word of God to be heard from and seen in us during our time in Zambia Without exception people seem genuinely interested in what we are doing and those who are from Africa agree that education and sanitation for vulnerable children is an important goal and a most worthy project. So even though we have spent a great deal of time "up in the air" in a very literal sense, we have not been up in the air with regard to our sense of purpose and calling. We are determined, excited and ready to get started. We are tired though. People are getting along well. At last nose count we were all still together as a team. When we arrive in Lusaka, we will get visas, collect or bags, board the van that will be our transportation for the week and head for the Lafe Hotel/Lodge in the Olympic district of Lusaka. We are excited to get there. We are tired of traveling - airline food, though abundant on these flights, is still airline food and leg space is no better on our airline than any US domestic carrier. The anticipation of the unknown adventures that lay ahead churn within us and will only be quelled once we arrive and make our first visit to the school. That will be tomorrow morning (Thursday here - Wednesday night in Enumclaw - a 9 hour difference in time). But spirits still resonate that what we are doing is important. And we continue to realize that we need grace, patience, love unity and strength. So continue to pray for us as we keep families, church, community back home in prayer as well. Colossians 3:12 - 17 reminds us all that "as God's dearly loved children, we are called to live into kindness, gentleness, humility, forbearance, forgiveness and most of all love which is the glue that binds those traits together in perfect unity. Paul concludes with this challenge that was given us at church over the weekend as we were commissioined. "WHATEVER YOU DO IN WORD OR IN DEED, DO ALL IN THE NAME OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, GIVING THANKS TO GOD THE FATHER THROUGH HIM." May that be in all we say and do. More to come when we land and get started. Trustingly, Fred (for the entire team) Post Script - We have arrived safely. George did meet us. We have had dinner, exchanged dollars for kwachas (4,800.60 K per 1 USD) and are now looking forward to sleeping in a bed to get caught .up on sleep.