Excitement and sadness were trying to find a balance within my mind and heart. I knew I was leaving to do what I love to do (see God’s world and encourage God’s people). God had opened this door and I gladly stepped into what was the unknown and anticipated it to be a great adventure. On the other side of my thinking I was leaving my wife, Pam, who was still not feeling the best. She was worried about me traveling without her. She was worried about me traveling on the end of my being sick with the Dubai bug. This is the name I am giving this thing that happens when the cool of winter hits the warmth of summer and the body is not adjusting as quickly back and forth each day. I understood my conflict but also trusted God to make it good on both ends.
The time to board the Emirates plane had come (1:15 am) and I found my seat and snuggled in for the 4+ hour flight. I wanted to sleep as much as I could so I could easily adapt to the 3 hour time loss which was going to occur. Not everyone on the flight was as anxious to sleep as I was and the little children coping with the pressure change and different environment found sleeping difficult. I felt bad for these little ones. It had to be difficult on them. I said a prayer for their comfort and leaned back with the headset on, to drown out what noise it would, and relaxed. The flight did leave late which is not a problem since I knew it would give me more time to rest. The plane also circled Dhaka due to poor visibility and that also gave me more time to rest. God continued to show His blessings.
I walked off the plane into Dhaka, hoping the other travelers knew where they were going. The warmth in the air covered me like a heavy quilt on a sunny day. I pressed on. I got to the Passport check and knew I would be delayed since I forgot to bring the paper with the address where I was staying and phone number for Pastor Bose. The agent, at first seemed annoyed that I would show up without the needed information. He sternly asked what my occupation was (this is protocol since they did not know me and were charged with protecting their country by securing all who come in as friendlies). I thought quickly and stated the occupation which is found on my UAE Resident VISA. “I am a Priest”, I said. “A Priest?” he reiterated… quickly forming his hands into the sign of praying and letting his stern look turn to a smile. Pleasantly he said, “Please stand over here and see if you can contact someone to help you find the information you need”. I knew I had to call Dubai to get the information. I knew Pam was under the weather and needed her rest. If it was 9 AM in Dhaka it would be 6 AM in Dubai. So I did what any sane person would do, I chose to call someone who I didn’t mind waking up early and getting them to check my email with my invitation letter from Pastor Bose. Success. Thank you Michael Anderson. I knew if you answered the phone I could count on you.
I was cleared from the Passport area and found my way to the door. I knew someone was supposed to greet me with a sign. All those who lined the walkway with signs waved them at me to see if I were their guy. None had my name so I pressed on. As I stepped out into the warm breeze, there it was. A sign about 50 feet away with my name on it. The crowd was so pressed together, I could not tell who was holding it. As I made my way out the gate, Pastor Bose walked by me… looking for me… I had to chase him down and get his attention from behind. Success. After a short drive to his house, we chatted for a short time and then I took his offer to use their spare room for a needed nap. God blessed me with a sound nap.
After I woke and cleaned up, we went to a local Chinese restaurant. The lunch was very good.
After some more rest, we headed out to the Conference center where the retreat would be held. This was an hour drive on roads much like the ones from KCF (Kolkata Christian Fellowship) but narrower and more traffic and a few more pot holes. We traversed the road like a theme park bumpy ride. I was screaming for Dramamine. The Lord slowly become my Dramamine. He is Faithful.
We did arrive at the conference Center in one piece and within a half hour the uneasiness of the ride faded and God was praised. We were called for supper and had a light meal of chicken, fish, beef, bread, fruit and a bowl of something else. Cold bottled water was the offer to quench the thirst. I ate lightly and drank plenty of water. When we finished supper and headed back to the room (about 8:30), I found a mosquito net which I gladly set up on the bed. I laid down and quickly drifted off into a dreamless and deep rest. I stand amazed at this due to the mattress was the hardest thing I have ever slept on and the pillow had no give when you placed your head down. God was faithful and allowed me a sound night’s sleep and to wake in the morning without any stiffness.
TOMORROW I WILL POST DAY 2.