Tag Archives: travel

Hoorah! heading to Yei!

This is the day that the Lord has made, therefore I will rejoice in it and be glad.

In about a half hour I will be heading to Raleigh, beginning my two-week trip to South Sudan. And I will happily admit that I am excited and ready to get started. I am not looking forward to the somewhat brutal amount of travel to get to that part of the world. But I am truly looking forward to being in Uganda and South Sudan.

I have been in South Sudan numerous times. I love the country. I love the people. And I love the opportunities there to really make a difference in the lives of so many.

Please pray for al of us on this United Methodist VIM (Volunteers In Mission) Team. We have an audacious schedule for our time in Yei, but the potential for good demands it.

I will try to be faithful with trip updates.  Please stay tuned.

on the road to South Sudan

Tomorrow I will drive down to Raleigh on the first leg of my trip to South Sudan. The afternoon will be spent at the Stop Hunger Now office and gathering last minute supplies for my time in South Sudan.

Then on Wednesday I will meet the rest of the VIM team at RDU to begin our flights. We fly from Raleigh to Atlanta where we will meet the final person on our team. From Atlanta we will fly to Amsterdam where will have about a 4 hour layover before our flight to Entebbe, Uganda.

We will spend one night in Entebbe before catching our flight into Yei, South Sudan. If all goes accord to plan we will arrive in Yei on Friday.

Then the fun begins. Every day the team is in South Sudan has been planned so that we might have the maximum impact. It’s going to be an exciting trip, with the potential to accomplish an amazing amount of solid work that will have huge long-term results.

More to follow so stay tuned.

an early start…

The day started well. I decided to get an early start, so I left JoAnna’s house about 8am, even though my US Airways flight to Charlotte and Akron was scheduled for 12:45.

I knew I needed to eat some breakfast. I also knew I wanted to try to buy a pair of gloves before I got to the airport. According to the weather report the temperature in Alliance, Ohio was expected to be between 10 and 15 degrees.

I ate a nice breakfast at the Shiny Diner then was at Dick’s Sporting Goods when the doors opened at 9am. I found a good pair of gloves and was parked at RDU by 10am. Check-in was a breeze, as was getting through security. With time to spare, I even spent a half hour in the 2nd Edition Bookstore.

After getting to my gate I again checked emails before I started rereading my notes for the Carr Lecture I am scheduled to present tomorrow evening at the University of Mount Union. I was thankful for how smoothly the trip was progressing.

We began boarding for the flight to Charlotte right on time. But after the first four first-class passengers had started down the jetway the captain announced a “slight delay.” Within 20 minutes we were informed the slight delay was caused by smoke in the plane’s cabin (never a good sign), and were told the flight was cancelled.

I called US Airways and was told I could fly the Philadelphia at 3:30. My flight from Philly to CAK (Canton-Akron) would not get me there until 9:30.  But, even before I left Raleigh I received word that the flight from Philly to Ohio was delayed due to crew being late.  Then, we boarded the plane in Raleigh and had barely pulled away from the gate when the captain announced that Philly had a ground stop. No planes we landing or leaving.

We set on the plane for an hour and 15 minutes before we we allowed to take off for and hour and 10 minute flight. Oh, and I received a second notice that my connecting flight to Ohio would be further delayed.

So now it’s 8:30 and I have just finished a bowl of soup in the Philly airport. My flight to Ohio is now scheduled to leave at 11:15. That means I should arrive in Akron about 12:30 tomorrow morning. Then, after I pick up my bag, I have a half hour ride to Alliance.

Nothing like getting an early start.

getting ready is half the fun

Just as I have a hundred and one times before I am in the middle of preparing for a trip to Africa. Every trip is an adventure and every trip is different. Even so, there’s a checklist I follow to ensure I have everything I need once I get halfway around the world.

Some wag once said showing up is ninety percent of the battle. I like the sentiment, but showing up takes more effort than a lot of folks might realize. Getting ready for my international trips is a good case in point.

Coordinating schedules and arranging international air travel has become too painful to even discuss. It now takes weeks. But once the trip is set the fun truly begins.

Clothes have to be picked up from the cleaners and laundry done before packing can begin. Then there’s a trip to the bank to get cash. Most of the areas where I travel don’t use credit cards. Oh, and the cash has to be crisp, new $100 bills. Most of the other denominations will not be accepted for fear of them being counterfeit.

After that it is time to check out all the electronics and camera gear. cords? batteries? discs? flash drives? earphones? sim cards? proper lenses? chargers?

Then there’s the paperwork. airline tickets? passport? visas? certificate of immunization? letters of invitation? contact list with phone numbers? travel itinerary, hotel reservations, business materials: business cards, proposals, partnership documents, etc. (and for this trip sermon notes)

After all of that, it’s time to actually pack, once I’ve guessed at the proper clothing necessary for the geography, climate and types of events to be attended. (This trip even requires my doctoral robes for a formal processional.) Then, all that’s left is to throw in necessary toiletries and medicines…oh, I left out immunizations. I won’t even go there.

Hopefully, by the time I head to the airport I have also put a vacation stop on the newspaper and put a hold on the mail. After that I can “relax and enjoy” the 12-30 hours of air travel.

What makes it all worth the effort, and it truly is, is that once I am at my destination I get to be with family I may have never met before. They will be as excited to see me as I am to see them. We will be working together to change the world. And it doesn’t get any better than that.