Justin Locklear and his brother-in-law, Kurt Hahne picked me up at 5:00am and we headed towards the airport. For those of you who don’t know Justin. Justin has been attending Independence Hill for a few years. He has a big heart and I was so thankful he decided to join me.
The man at the curbside luggage counter loaded up our four trunks on a cart and led us to the Delta counter. The line was longer than expected, but he walked right past everyone and put us in the much shorter “Special Services” line. So don’t tell me I’m not special!
As we moved closer to the front of the line, a Delta employee asked us why we were in this line. I informed her that this is where the skycap brought us. I was nervous she was going to ask us to move ourselves and our four trunks back to the long winding line. But she didn’t and we checked our four trunks and proceeded to the gate.
The four trunks were not carrying our clothes. All those were in our carry-on luggage. Three of the trunks contained sewing machines and fabric. The last trunk was filled with baseball equipment Justin had collected (more details on how these would be used in the days to come).
We boarded the plane and pushed away from the gate, but had to wait for a while before we were given clearance to take off. After almost an hour, we returned to the gate and had to deplane. One of the terminals in Atlanta had lost power and created a domino effect of issues for us.
Back in the terminal, I knew we were already behind schedule and I called Delta to check about our connecting flight to Managua, Nicaragua. The agent agreed we would miss our next flight and put us on a 2:45pm flight from Atlanta to Miami and then we would take the 7:00pm American Airline’s flight from Miami to Managua.
So instead of arriving in Managua at 1:00pm we arrived 8 hours later. Keep in mind that Nicaragua is an hour behind us so we spent 16 hours in three different airports that day. Other than me almost walking into the ladies restroom in Atlanta, not a lot to report. Lots of walking, sitting and talking. Which was great for us to catch up and talk through our expectations for the week.
We exited the plane in Managua, cleared customs and waited for our trunks. Two of the four trunks arrived. The one with baseball equipment did not. Bummer! We filled out the paperwork and they said if they show up they will deliver them to us.
The baggage claim area is my least favorite place in Nicaragua. The airport employs men who once they see you have trunks or multiple pieces of luggage start loading the cart you are holding and will not take no for an answer. Then they just start walking off with your stuff towards the door! Happens every time and this day was no different.
After they scanned the trunks, the man took them over to be hand searched. Once again, my least favorite place. My Spanish is minimal and I never completely understand what they are asking me. So I am really careful and try to make sure I don’t answer a question wrong. There is nothing that sounds fun about being detained in a foreign country.
The search ended only finding two sowing machines and a lot of fabric and we headed out the door. Once you are outside the door, you are free game. There are new men with official looking uniforms who want to help with your luggage in addition to the one who grabbed them in the first place – all for a fee of course!
And on top of that you have kids who are working the crowd asking for money. Have I mentioned this is my least favorite part of the trip? So we waited for Julio, our interpreter, to arrive. After about 15 minutes, Julio shows up and takes us to our van.
Julio and I catch up on schedules for the week as we leave Managua. Managua is crowded, dirty and sad. You can feel the poverty. There is no mistaking that you are not in Kansas anymore. After a while, Justin and I both stretch out and nap the rest of the two hours to La Bloquera
La Bloquera is a facility operated by another ministry. It looks a lot like something you find at a youth camp. In the main building there is an open air large group area with a guy’s and a girl’s side. Both containing bunk beds to sleep around 30 each with two sinks, two showers (cold) and a few toilets. Its basic, but it’s clean and we were tired.
We say goodnight or “buenas noches” to Julio and our driver. It didn’t take long to fall asleep. As I am lying in my bunk, I remembered the stories of spiders and specifically tarantulas. I wanted to see one, but on my own terms. But after being awake for 19 hours on about 3 hours of sleep, I was done.
We made there. God was faithful and had answered prayer. And even though we had prayed throughout the day about our luggage, there were still some prayers to pray before we would see those other two trunks. God had only begun to show His faithfulness to Justin and I.
more to come…