traveling mercies

April 12, 2011

As we neared the airport, my taxi driver asked me to pray for him.  “I would like to grow more spiritually like you,” he explained.  A bit surprised by this, considering my current state of not-feeling-very-spiritual nerves, I asked him what made him ask me that.  Maluleke shrugged and simply replied that he could see I lived by faith.  I said so long to him, saying perhaps I would see him next time I passed through, and gave him the last Rand I had to my name.  Ok God, here I am, living by faith.  I breathed out my prayer and headed back for day 2 of an attempt to get a standby flight.  Last night there was no seat for me.  So, as I knew I may need to do, I had booked a room at a guesthouse, to return the same time the next night and try again.  But what I had not known was that my credit cards would be denied at the South African ATM machines; I had been accustomed to having them work just fine for me in Zambia.  More my own fault was the fact that I was low on back-up cash for currency exchange.  So the day I spent at the guesthouse was in part spent trying to figure out how to pay both the guesthouse and the taxi.  Thanks to the kind flexibility of the guesthouse managers, I was able to get the payments done.  But it was so close that I had not even enough remaining to make a phone call at the airport.  I simply had to make it on this flight.

While the boarding commenced I tried not to pay too much attention to the discouraging looks on the attendants’ faces.  But finally, one looked directly at me and shook her head. “I’m sorry,” she said, “we are not taking anyone else tonight.” I stood there, stunned, for a bit, and I lingered, half expecting her to change her mind.  Then I slowly made my way over to the counter.  God, what are you doing? I prayed.  I don’t understand . . . I don’t know what to do now . . .

As I re-listed for the next day, I could no longer keep my composure, and I started to cry.  An older lady questioned me, concerned, and I just cried harder in my humiliation instead of answering her properly.  I did manage to blubber out a few comments about needing to find a place to stay.

Then a middle-aged gentleman walked over to me and said, “Excuse me, Ma’am?  I know you don’t know me from Adam but, well, I’ve been trying to listen to the Lord’s leading . . . I’m waiting standby as well, and am about to go spend the night with a missionary couple here in Johannesburg—you are welcome to come join me if you like.”

I stared at him, taken aback by his easy kindness, in such an unkind-to-strangers sort of city.  And then, still crying, I said that I was beyond the point of doing anything but just accept.

Later, as we waited for our hosts to arrive, I learned that this man was a short-term missionary, trying to get back home now.  When he mentioned that the couple coming for us had been in Zambia before coming here, I became more inquisitive. Then he said the name of the same mission board my own family was with . . .

A few minutes later I was introduced, and greeted with a hug rather than a handshake: “Oh, I knew your father—yes, I knew him well!  And your mother: is she well?”

We had an evening, the four of us, of reminiscing, and of “You remember so-and-so?” sorts of comments.

This morning I thought of how we were a bit of a motley crew there at the breakfast table: one couple spending their first night in a temporary home, hosting two stranded passengers.  But a happy motley crew J

Tonight we try again to get on that flight.  Praying to get the flight . . . but trusting that, if not, all shall be well all the same.

 

 

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One Response to “traveling mercies”

  1. Martin Smith said

    Hi Anna. Thinking of you and hope the rest of the journey goes well.

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