We arrived today in Langkawi, Malaysia, for our missions once-every-four-years worldwide conference. There must be some great things in store, because I would hate to have experienced what we did to get here in vain:
- 5 flights over 44 hours
- having to completely start over, rechecking all our luggage 4 of the 5 times
- kids at times in tears from exhaustion
- a crisis at almost every step:
- the 1st flight was so delayed we feared we’d miss the connection
- the 2nd flight was in jeopardy from the fact that we couldn’t produce the credit card I used to buy the flight a few months ago before it was stolen. Finally a nice supervisor intervened.
- after the 3rd flight we had to pay $125 for visas since we would be in the country for 5 hour, one hour longer than the maximum allowed without.
- between getting visas and getting through passport control, it took us 2.5 hours to just get in the country (Indonesia), eating precious time out of our brief respite in a hotel (which a kind anonymous to us person paid for. We lay down at 1:15am, and had to get up at 3:45.
- our 4th flight was tainted by the fear that we had just found out that we would likely not make our 5th flight, as the airline didn’t think we had allowed enough time to transfer, even though booked it thinking that doing so between the same airline in the same terminal was safe in one hour. But no, they don’t check the bags through. We’d have to get them all and start over.
- when we arrived, with 55 minutes to spare, I sprinted ahead of the family, passing a couple hundred people walking to passport control and made it first in line. Then I ran to the other end of the terminal and checked into the next flight, hoping that they would hold on for the rest of the family since I was there. The lady was nice but told me that the computer would close down check-in automatically in 10 minutes – a half hour out from the flight. I ran all the way backwards through customs to baggage claim, where the rest of the family was waiting for the baggage (they had run past most of the 200 people too), just now starting to come out. I then sent all of them ahead to sprint to check-in, while I waited for the baggage. I then piled all 9 bags up on a cart and made the journey across the airport a 3rd time alone, literally threw all the bags through the electronic scanning machine, re-piled the cart, and ran across the hall with it to check-in, where the agent was waiting for me.
Jesus is good. We are here. We laughed; cried. And so expectations are high for this week. It’s beautiful here. Pics later.