Saturday, October 5, 2013

Monday, September 30th, 2013, 6:15a.m.  "34 Suitcases"  Jim Crandell
As I start out on my 1st mission trip, writing my thoughts while taxiing on a bumpy tarmac at MSP I can’t help but wonder how big the bumps are going to be the rest of the way.  Taking off now.  Wheels up.  Normal turbulence.  Already the lights of the city look like the lights on a Christmas tree.  I’m going to nap…No nap.   I look out the windows on the left side of the plane; purple, orange, pink, a hint of blue with strings of clouds make up only a portion of the beautiful sunset He has given us today.  Left my seat and came back to what looks like snow covering the ground; a fresh snow.  We are above the clouds.  I tried to nap, just rested-that’s okay.  Looking out now, ‘Oh how I wish you could see the clouds above the clouds above the clouds- it’s like looking at the bottom-side of icebergs.  There is so much to clouds than what we see from the ground.  The ‘underside’ of these clouds-the part we don’t get to see everyday  look like…hmmm, okay, bear with me; picture  springtime, the snow is melting but slush is still on the roads, cars are driving through creating small piles here and there with bare road in-between.  Then it freezes overnight, that is what it looks like right now.  Now the sky below is half cloud, half.                                                                                                                                                               blue-ish, with a darker blue above.  205 miles to MIA, captain just spoke for the first time, “out of respect for the early hour and for those passengers who wanted to sleep.”  Starting our descent.  Now I can make out what the blue-ish color is; the Gulf of Mexico.  I saw the white wake of 2 boats, which means we are getting close… “Flight Attendants, prepare for landing.” Coming through low clouds giving us a bumpy ride.  The clouds look like white, fluffy cotton candy.  Landed at 10:18a.m., and at the gate at 10:34a.m.

I am trying to remember the images of the neighborhoods around MIA, houses, cars, swimming pools, trees.  How different will all this look after seeing Haiti?  I’ve seen pictures, heard stories, just haven’t experience first-hand.  Long layover.  Had lunch at a Nathans’ Famous.  Was asked by the two employees (boy/girl at the front counter what my shirt (Healing Haiti) was all about because they see them every week.  I quickly explained as it was lunchtime, then the girl “Edia” smiled and said she was from Haiti.  She has family there and in Miami.  She hasn’t been home in 5 years but will as soon as she can afford it.  A nice little chat from only ordering lunch.  I can’t wait to see what God has in store.

Monday, September 30th, 2013  6:15 a.m.  "34 Suitcases"
MIA-PAP:  Wheels up at 2:17p.m. , 4 cruise ships docked and un/loading, 3 oil ships.  I am watching the sand give way to deeper water, and notice a sailboat that is out in the ocean quite a ways.  I see a large boat, nets (buoys and all), and a large, VERY LARGE form in the water.  I can see a big white patch on it-whale?  A little while later, I see a small island (‘C’-shaped), in the middle of nowhere with an airstrip on one end. (?!)  The water is turning green…now it’s turquoise.  WOW!  We are at 25,000 feet climbing to a cruising altitude of 32,000 feet.  Beautiful waters of the Caribbean; beautiful clouds overhead.  The flaps go down, signaling the start of our approach at 3:36 p.m. Now I see many nets in the water and countless dark forms moving in one direction- Tuna?   We came out of the clouds over Haiti- rough terrain, well-worn roads and paths.   I also notice a tiny island, just sand (think of a typical deserted island in a comic strip), and there on one side is the outline of a rowboat.  It would be fun to make up a story as to what happened.  The wheels go down at 3:50p.m.  We land and continue to the end of the runway, turn around at a small turn-around point to the side and taxi halfway down the same runway to get to the terminal.  A small airport, as it only has 4 jetways, and its Air Traffic Control is a modified mobile home.  We get to the gate at 3:57p.m.   I am now in a foreign country.  We get stuck at Customs, detaining Jeff for some reason.  I’m waiting with the rest of our team to get to our final destination.  While we wait for Jeff, we get our 34 suitcases full of supplies into the back of two pickups; a separate ‘TopTop’ is here to deliver us to our home-away-from-home.   4 of us decide to ride in the back of a pick up, “to make sure no one takes the bags.”  Jeff is here, let’s go!  It is a VERY different feel as we pull out onto the busy road.  Busy here is all the time, pedestrians DO NOT have the right-of-way; 1st are semi’s or buses, then box truck-converted-to-open-standing-only-bus, then trucks (toptops), then cars, motorcycles, bicycles, pedestrians in that order.  Think Nascar at Bristol with the game Frogger thrown in, only the frog here is the pedestrian.  What am I doing in the back of a pickup in the middle of a Nascar race in a foreign country?  Making memories, I guess.   

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