As a team leader and administrator, I feel a keen responsibility to the members of my team, to our church whom we represent, to those who make it financially possible for us to go, and to the folks to whom we plan to minister. I work hard to arrange all the details of the trip and the conference in which we plan to teach, but in the end, I must recognize that I’m really not in charge. I don’t think that has ever been made as clear to me as on the first 24 hours of this trip to Brazil with our biblical counseling training team. Dr. Dan Wickert was to be with us but … well, read the rest of the story.
The team from Faith Church, including David Selvey, Brent Aucoin, Janet Aucoin and Randy Patten met at the Indianapolis airport about 4m Friday to go to Brazil to teach in the weeklong conference of the Association of Biblical Counselors of Brazil. Events began in the morning with Dan Wickert falling and breaking his foot and injuring his hand. (Who is in charge anyway?) At 10:45 we decided it would be best for Dan not to go on the trip. Time to scramble and get all the notes for Dan’s sessions and figure out who on the team is qualified to teach which topics. (Who is in charge anyway?)
I arrived in the parking lot of the airport at 2:45 in a torrential downpour. (Who is in charge anyway?) I waited a bit and the wind and rain didn’t seem to be letting up, so I decided to make a dash for the shelter to catch the shuttle bus. I was drenched from head to foot. 30 seconds after I got under the protection of the shelter, the rain stopped … completely! I was drenched. My clothes did not dry until morning. (Who is in charge anyway?)
Did you know that wet clothes show up as big yellow splotches on the passenger screening display at airport security, just like explosives or contraband? Usually the airport security screening is a breeze. I go through without any alarms. Not this time. I went into the machine like I always do. The security agent said in a monotone voice, “Stand on the yellow foot prints and hold your hands over your head. … Thank you sir. Come on out.” Then her eyes got big and she calmly, but firmly, said, “Stop, sir!” Then she called to her coworker, “I think we have a problem here.” It was quickly discovered that the yellow splotches were my wet clothes, but I had to be patted down anyway.
Big storms across the country made travel a challenge and our flight to Detroit was delayed several times. (Who is in charge anyway?) I stood at the desk with a wonderfully helpful Delta gate agent named Tasha for nearly two hours while she checked every possibility to get us to Sao Paulo, but to no avail. Debbie took over for Tasha and managed to get us on standby for Saturday night with confirmed reservations for Sunday night.
She decided we should get on the flight to Detroit, with the agreement that Delta would cover our hotel and put us on standby for Saturday night departure with confirmed departure on Sunday night. In Detroit we stood in line for just over 2 hours to get to another helpful agent, Joanne, who gave us vouchers for 3 hotel rooms. Brent & Janet arrived at their hotel around midnight without problems. Randy Patten and I were sent to the Holiday Inn. Even though Delta had reserved the rooms and given us vouchers for payment, the hotel refused us, saying they were full. (Who is in charge anyway?) It was 12:30 by the time we were able to make arrangements at another hotel, with us paying, of course. After a $45, 12-minute taxi ride and $144 hotel charge we finally got into a hotel room at 2AM. (Who is in charge anyway?) We were very grateful that God provided us a bed to sleep in rather than making us sleep in the airport! What a blessing to have that room.
Heather Smith came to the rescue and scanned and emailed us Dan’s notes, so we are going through all those to study in preparation for his sessions. It looks like we will only have one session eliminated, but “Who is in charge, anyway?” For sure, not me!
The folks in Brazil expected us to arrive this morning (Saturday) and preach and teach on Sunday morning and Sunday night. That won’t happen now. Who is in charge anyway? Not our friends in Brazil!
We leave for the Detroit airport in a few minutes and are hoping to arrive in Brazil Sunday morning, but once again I ask, “Who is in charge anyway?” I guess we will arrive in Brazil according to God’s good pleasure, not our own scheduling and design. That is a mouthful and much easier for me to say than for me to practice in my heart.
It is one thing to quote Romans 8:28-29 and say that God is in control, but it is quite another to have our world completely out of control and still recognize the sovereignty of God. As you prepare well for your responsibilities this week, will you gladly accept the finger of God poking into your life and stirring it up a bit?