December 5, 2016
[Note: This account is purposefully written as a long run-on, as it symbolizes the actual run-on adventure.]
Just to summarize our wild day yesterday: after John and Scott finished preaching at their separate churches, we were to meet at the Jos airport to fly out only to discover our flight to Lagos had been cancelled. There is only 1 flight a day. So our gracious driver hit the road for a 4 1/2 hour drive to the capital of Abuja so we could catch another flight in time to make our international connections. While he conquered the road, I was on the phone booking the flights and searching for alternatives. The journey was harrowing as we drove fast, trying to avoid pot holes, other cars, motorcycles, and flying through the armed checkpoints even when they commanded that we stop. Amazingly the men with guns didn't pursue us. We arrived at the airport exhausted from the journey, feeling like we had been on a wild roller coaster for several hours. A different flight was just leaving for our city and one of our friends graciously tried to get us on. We were standing at the stairs to board the plane with luggage there when they informed us they only had 2 seats. Without a second thought we all decided we needed to fly together. We went back inside the terminal to wait for our designated plane, which finally took off 3 1/2 hours late. When we arrived in Lagos, we quickly collected our luggage and met our driver who had patiently waited HOURS for us. He took a short cut in his car to get us from the domestic terminal to the international terminal. Once we arrived, we got a shake down from the police but we simply ran inside to the ticket counters, only to find no one there. It was too late. We had all missed our international flights. We spent some time rebooking flights and calling back our driver who waited for us once again. Our friends in Lagos found a nice hotel close to the airport and even booked it for us. Finally we put all our luggage back in the car (think small 4 door car packed full of luggage for 4 people--everyone had luggage on their laps). Now totally exhausted we arrived at the hotel and were dropped off only to find we were at the wrong hotel. The hotel told us to go next door to another hotel with a very similar name. Some guys helped us drag all our luggage down the street and next door. Only to find it also was the wrong hotel. We contemplated calling our driver back to take us to the correct hotel and even tried to negotiate with the hotel to take us to the correct hotel. Now completely exhausted, we just decided to stay at this hotel. We made our plans to meet late for breakfast the next morning after a good night rest and said good night to each other. John and I went to our room only to find our room key didn't work. John went to get help and they unlocked our room. I took a shower while he went back to the front desk to get a room key that worked. When he returned he informed me that they had moved our room. So we moved luggage to a different room on a different floor. I did this in my PJ's as it was now 1 or 1:30am. In the elevator, the power went out and all went dark. LOL! Thankfully the blackout didn't last long as the hotel has a back up generator. Finally we settled into our new room and checked email for first time all day. We discovered our rebooked flights had been changed again. Back on the phone we were with the travel agent to determine what happened. I think we finally hit the wall at 2 or 2:30am without an answer. This morning we confirmed the new booking was now the correct one. Our airline changed and connecting cities. I can't begin to thank all the wonderful people who have helped us this far. If there is one huge lesson I've learned from this unbelievable experience is how much we need to depend on one another for help and how grateful we are for many helping hands. We now rest up today in preparation to try to journey home once again late tonight. Please pray. In the words of one of my Nigerian friends, "Count it all joy."