We were off to a great start. All tagged, checked, through security. Whew! Well, there was the matter of the extra bags costing $55 rather than $40. Win some, lose some, right?
Boarding time from San Antonio to Mexico City. Three of our carryons won’t fit on the smaller plane, so we check them. Ok. Got it. Just now need to pick up 19 bags in Mexico City instead of 16.
Get to Mexico City uneventfully (with two team members who have never flown before!). Nice! Luggage carousel — every person on the entire plane except for our team and one other guy — gets their luggage. And then, it closes. Done. Not. One. Bag. Not gonna lie, panicking a little on the inside while not sweating it on the outside (I was sweating, but you know what I mean). Text parents and ask for urgent prayer! Will tell you how that one turns out…stay tuned.
Get to other terminal miraculously — they don’t want us to use the train since we don’t have boarding passes. But, we can only get boarding passes at the other terminal. Solve that, ride the train, go to get boarding passes. Seems they aren’t going to let me take four of the kids out of Mexico City. Never had THIS happen. Text the parents to pray. Beg, sweet-talk, everything short of bribe or flirt with the guy in charge. Order the team to pray while I keep being as sweet as humanly possible to the only man behind the counter who speaks English. Keep reading.
Land in San Salvador with an hour’s layover. Perfect. We’re all super thirsty, our day has been a whirlwind, and we just need a breather. Walk to the far end of the airport to our gate. Nope — gate changed. You guessed it — complete other end of the airport.
Landed in Managua, early, with all 8 of us. And all 31 pieces of luggage AND a guitar.
How? God wins, y’all. I’m in tears writing this. It was by far the most stressful travel day I’ve experienced leading a mission trip. And I made errors, y’all, I did. But, I got one thing right. I didn’t let my pride get in the way of asking for prayer, of begging God to help us, of telling parents about our difficult situation, of being honest with the team about what was going on. I didn’t let myself get in the way, and God showed up big time, y’all.
In San Antonio, a team member’s parent immediately covered our $15 difference in extra baggage fees for all our bags. In Mexico City, our luggage (and that one guy’s) went to a completely different baggage claim, but it was all there. And, I was allowed to take the four minors to San Salvador. And we have two legs and were able to get cold water AND get to our plane on time.
A huge thank you to my team and our families for praying for us and for giving me grace and love yesterday when I desperately needed it.
But, here’s the real moral of the story. God wins! And, because of that, we were able to experience an amazing first day together in beautiful Nicaragua. Stay posted for a guest post tonight telling you all about it!