I am writing this from Kabul!!! We are excited to be home and to get settled back in. Our house is heating back up. We now have internet and water pressure. Things are falling into place. Noel will even head to the airport tomorrow to get back in the swing of things. The kids and I have already started back on their school. The dining room is the warmest so this has become our school room.
Before I get carried away with what is happening now, let me tell you about our trip home. Our route was Nashville to Atlanta to Dubai to Kabul. Our trip was uneventful until we arrived in Dubai. We arrived at 9:00pm on Tuesday their time and found a place to hang out until we could get our tickets for Kabul. Our time was spent reading, getting a bite to eat, playing games and checking email. At 12:30, we headed to the transfer desk where we would get our tickets to Kabul. The agent at the desk noticed that Noel’s visa was to start in 2017 not 2014. Even though the mistake was obviously a typo since our visas were correct, there was still a question of whether Noel would be able to get into Afghanistan. The agent asked us to wait while he checked to see if Noel could fly. As we waited, Noel and I prayed and discussed all our options. Would we all wait? Would the kids and I go on ahead especially since we had lots of luggage? An hour later, the agent came back and told us it should all work out but there could be problems. The airline would let us fly though.
With ticket in hand, we headed to find our gate and wait to board. Our flight left Dubai at 3:30 in the morning. We all tried to sleep but didn’t have much success between being off schedule and thinking about whether Noel’s visa would be a problem. As we arrived in Kabul airspace, we circled for 30 minutes trying to land before diverting to another city in Afghanistan because of the weather. This detour was a blessing for us. Even though we had emailed ahead about the potential problem, due to the early hour, no one had read it yet. While waiting for the weather to improve, Noel was able to call ahead and let our country director know about the problem. In the meantime, we were making friends with the people around us and having of lunch of Kit Kat bars and pretzels graciously shared with us by other passengers. Five hours later, we were once again heading towards Kabul. This time we successfully landed. At immigration, we were met by Pactec’s passenger handler who was there to help if we had trouble. The immigration officer did notice the wrong date. Our passenger handler stepped up and presented a letter to the officer. They then left to go talk to his boss. A few minutes later, they all returned smiling, and we were allowed to proceed. We could see God’s hand with the detour giving our staff a chance to get the letter from the passport office and the good relationship between our passenger handler and immigration.
We are thankful to be here. We are blessed by teammates who fed us this weekend. We are grateful for staff who worked hard today getting our internet working and water pressure for our house. Thank you to all of you who prayed for our journey.