Thank you prayer warriors! We have arrived and are finally in our apartment in Kiev...4:30am Ukraine time. Here are some highlights of our journey...wish I could post pics but Todd is sleeping and I don't know how to add them from our camcorder:) Tomorrow maybe...
We know God was protecting us throughout this first leg of the race. I felt like I was on "Amazing Race"! ha:)
"The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged." Deuteronomy 31:8
1. Dad takes us to airport and we meet up with Todd's mom and step-dad (Mark and Marlene)
2. We check two bags and then visit with our parents until time to leave
3. When going through security they stop both my bags and take out all 4 jars of peanut butter!!!:( They are considered a "gel" so I couldn't bring them. We were told Ukrainians love American peanut butter so we brought them as gifts. Bummer! Was able to give them to Dad because he hadn't left.
4. I kept telling everyone to leave, we would be fine, but PRAISE GOD they didn't listen to me! Our plane was cancelled due to mechanical issues and we heard it was dents/holes in the wing! Glad they cancelled the flight:)
5. All flights had to be re-booked and while waiting I began chatting with a gentleman next to me (surprise...me, talking with a complete stranger:) He was from Olathe and graduated from KU and we knew some of the same people. He gave us a 1800 number that helped us get booked faster than the line:) PRAISE GOD!
6. Problem with the next flight:
*** would take off 5 hours later, but this gave us time to eat lunch with our family, so that wasn't bad. We at at On the Border and we decided not to order beans (hehe)
*** there would be a 12 hour layover in Frankfurt, Germany
*** wouldn't arrive to Kiev until 1:30am...turns out it was 2:30 am
7. Once in Germany we attempted they had already sent one of our pieces of luggage...but to D.C.! Have no idea why, but we are still waiting for it. Thanks to our trip to Romania last summer and first hand experience from our friends, Mitch and Nicole, we split up our clothes into both bags. However, I do not have conditioner or my black shoes I will need for Tuesday's meeting with the SDA. Praying we will get the luggage tomorrow!!
8. Answered prayer on flight from Chicago to Germany!!! Our tickets were not together and we didn't even have our tickets until the last 15 or so people were boarding. At this time my spirits were up but they suddenly dropped. I felt tired, scared, and alone. I felt tears welling up when I thought about not sitting next to Todd for the next 9 hours. Emotions and nerves are on edge anyway and Satan is attacking. I knew it was all up to the kindness and willingness of the people around us to move and I just thought, "Alicia, pull yourself together--don't be a baby--PRAY!" So I did...I had been all morning and I knew there was a purpose if we were separated, I just didn't want to be:( Fortunately, my ticket was an aisle ticket and Todd's was one in from the aisle seat. I asked the gentleman to trade with me and he graciously agreed! PRAISE GOD! Oh, I almost cried tears of joy at that point...but held it together:)
9. ALSO...the woman next to me was assigned to a different seat so I had an empty seat to sprawl out in all the way to Germany! PRAISE GOD!! I got a few hours of sleep on the plane because of it:) WOOHOO!
10. We knew God had paved a way for our parents to stay with us, the man in line, the man to switch seats, and the open aisle seats. We were greatly encouraged and thankful--thank you Jesus we were not traveling with a toddler during these tiring hours!
11. Flight--movies, reading, sleeping, eating:) Good times!
12. Germany--international phone dead; one flight available at another far-away gate and no guaranteed seats PLUS we would have to pay for the extra tickets in addition to the one we already paid for; then none of our luggage would arrive for us. We decided to wait the 12 hours. PRAISE GOD we were able to contact our coordinator with the little bit of juice left on our phone.
13. I was stopped through security AGAIN (I think I look like an innocent young lady, apparently others do not! ha:) They checked both laptops and the German man was SO FUNNY! I was so tired I couldn't stop laughing...it was a much needed happy time:)
14. God boarding passes, ate lunch, washed our faces, brushed our teeth, slept in the terminal a few hours. PRAISE GOD for connecting chairs to lay down on:)
15. Read some devotions and the prayer book Deb made me. THANK YOU to all of you who contributed to our book. It is a book I know I will continue to read and be encouraged by throughout this journey. Thank you friends!
16. Picked up from Kiev airport and brought to a beautiful, studio apartment. Fridge, microwave, and washing machine! WOW! I wonder how much this place costs?? Too bad it's only for one night...:)
Time for bed...missing my puppies but I know my Daddyo is taking good care of them:) Love to you all!
Please continue praying for the Lord to lead us as we have our meetings tomorrow and Tuesday.
"I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you." Psalms 32:8