I glanced at my watch as I waited in line to move through the airport security. It was was 6:35 in the evening. The flight was leaving at 7:05. I had already been through a torturous hour of stop and go traffic; would I make it to the gate before the flight took off?
I woke up on Thursday morning praying for Robert and the team of HQ staff down in Big Sandy, Texas, hosting this year’s first AIT Regional Conference. Unlike the past two years, it hadn’t worked out for me to go along to help out and take pictures. But it was a good time to catch up on projects in the office.
Then, at 3:06 in the afternoon, I got a call from Robert. With an excited voice thick with mystery, he asked if I was ready to set out on a special mission. He explained that some materials were desperately needed at the Conference. It was less expensive to fly someone down with them than to to ship them over-night to Big Sandy. Would I be willing to be the one to fly them down? Plans were finalized and a ticket purchased by 4:30 when I ran home to pack. It was 5:30 before we were actually on the road to the airport.
It was relieving to see the 7:05 departure time replaced with 7:45 when I arrived at my gate. But the relief was only temporary. As people lined up to board the plane, I heard an announcement over the intercom: “Due to flight delays, connecting flights in St. Louis to Dallas have been canceled. If you’re heading to Dallas, please report to the information desk.”
“What are my options?” I asked. Either I could fly out on a new flight tomorrow, or stay at a hotel in St. Louis for the night and catch the first plane out in the morning. With five minutes to decide, I dialed Robert’s cell phone in an attempt to get some direction. Chances were slim; he had informed me earlier that everyone’s cell phones were dead and reception was spotty, if present at all. I prayed hard. After a few tense seconds, I rejoiced to hear David Waller’s cheerful voice. I found out later that he happened to be be walking by Robert’s recharging phone, heard it ringing, and followed the prompting to answer it. I’m grateful to the Lord he did. “Go for it!” he said.
Everything worked with relative relaxation after I boarded the plane to St. Louis. I got to there on time, made my way to the hotel, slept soundly, woke early, and made the morning flight without incident. The packages of materials made it through the transportation maze just fine too. At 2:00 on Friday afternoon, less than 24 hours after the initial call, I informed Robert that the materials had arrived. The mission was complete!