All missioners were up at 2:30 a.m. That was the beginning of our "hurry up and wait" day. We hurried to the airport, arriving at 3:40. Although United Airlines personnel were very efficient, it just takes time to ticket 36 people and tag 72 black duffle bags. As soon as that process was completed, we headed through TSA. A few people had to empty their bags, but most of us strolled through the process.
We didn't have long to wait at our gate before boarding for Houston. Shortly after we boarded, the flight attendant asked for patience as they tried to load a lot of heavy bags that the passengers had brought. I believe he mentioned about needing a lot of stuff so we must be staying a long time. Then they called for the fearless leader of the team. The baggage handlers informed me that they could not put all the weight on the plane and were trying to distribute it as best they could. When I asked if there were any way possible to include the odd numbered bags (knowing those were our personal supplies), I just got a big smile. I told him to do the best they could, and we'd understand. Part of mission work is to learn how to get along with less. For two years I got to learn that lesson; I really hoped mine wasn't one of the bags we were leaving behind to arrive later.
We left the gate late. I still wasn't worried because we had plenty of time to get through the airport in Houston. We had plenty of turbulence, so we had to stay in our seats and they had to delay distributing beverages until the route was calmer. All were great; not a single issue of sickness. THEN, the attendant asked for patience again because we were not going to be allowed to land for a bit. We went into a holding pattern for the next 30 minutes or more. Finally being allowed to land, we rushed to our next gate. Of course, it was on the opposite end of the terminal. We still made it with 5 minutes to spare. Shortly after we boarded, we were again asked to be patient because all flights were grounded until a thunderstorm passed.
We sat on the runway and awaited our turn to take-off. An hour and 40 minutes later we took off, landing exactly that late in Tegucigalpa.
Frank, Marta, Julio, and Carlos met us at the airport. We were 37 bags short of our 72 bags. MANY missioners are learning how to survive without their bags. It's a good thing Seivert always has them pack their work clothes in their carry-ons.
The missioners had plenty of eye-opening views of poverty as we climbed the road to Santa Teresa School. We ate a quick lunch and walked to Paola's house so the missioners could see the finished house from last year. It was too late to walk to our new building sites, so we spent the rest of the evening unpacking our 35 bags, setting up our bedrooms, finding the materials needed for tomorrow's projects, and taking care of all the details that arise in our compound.
We had a Mass that was offered for my husband Dan on the anniversary of his passing and for Janet's Uncle Don Murphy whose wife donated a chalice that will remain here in Honduras for our group to use in the future. We ate supper and had our first junta in Honduras.
Again I am typing this with the missioners in bed. I will be joining them within minutes. Continue to keep us in your prayers.
I've included a photo of the group with Paola and Enrique while we were visiting their home.