Day 1

Today started with a quick trip to the airport at 9:30 thanks to our drivers Dan Larson and Adam Johnson (with co-pilot Matthew). We made a fairly quick trip through TSA, and we are at our gate with lots of time to spare…and that’s about where things started to unravel.

The plane we were taking to Houston arrived at the gate 10 minutes late which set us back to only 1 hour to catch our connecting flight in Houston. As we got closer to Houston, we were informed there was a bad storm over the area with dangerous lightning and we would need to circle until we could safely land. We ran short on fuel before we could land and were re-routed to Dallas. There was some pretty rough turbulence between Houston and Dallas as well. Once we touched down in Dallas there was no gate for us to go to since so many other flights had been sent there. We needed to go to a gate so we could re-fuel AND so they could shut the plane down fully as there was a warning light that had come on. If the light did not reset when they turned the plane back on, we would have needed to have maintenance fix it. Fortunately, the light cleared up, we got fuel and were on the way back to Houston.

Many in our group were tracking our flights and saw that numerous flights in Houston had also been delayed due to the storm – including our flight to Quito! All hope was not lost! Unfortunately, as we pulled into our gate the other flight to Quito looked like it had pulled away from their gate and we were left behind. Several members of our group made a great effort to run to the other gate in an effort to hold the plane, but it was actually gone.

Once our team re-grouped, we learned that we were already re-booked on a flight tomorrow morning at 6am to Quito… And because the delay was weather related the airlines would not be giving vouchers for hotels or food…. We were going to sleep in the airport. Levi and Emily immediately found a blog that talked about sleeping in airports and went to scout out the best place to do that while the rest of the team tried to work out other details. It was at this time that we learned our flight to Quito was not at 6am… But 6 pm! That felt like a gut punch. We not only had twenty plus hours to kill in the airport, but we would be missing all our touring day as well.

Some members on the team started pooling money to get some inexpensive hotel rooms, and our wonderful leader Mark made a couple of phone calls. Fortunately, our team took out travel insurance (we started after our 2020 trip was canceled a week before departure) and because our delay was over 12 hours each team member got some money to cover expenses. We booked hotel rooms as quickly as we could (which is easier said than done), found the shuttle (which is easier said than done), ordered pizza for dinner (which is easier said than done) and all settled in for some decent sleep before we adventure back to the airport tomorrow for our 6pm flight.

We have learned in our preparation lessons about being FAT (flexible, approachable, and teachable) …
And God sure used the first day of our trip to work on making us FAT.

I have not asked the team for requests tonight as they are all sound asleep by now (I hope), but I am sure the resounding answer would be for traveling mercies tomorrow. That we can actually GET to Ecuador and begin the work that you all sent us here to do. Good night.