06 December 2011
Dear family and friends,
First of all, on behalf of our entire family, we would like to say a great big “THANK YOU” from the bottom of our hearts for your fervent prayers for us in regards to our “journey” to Brazil. It was truly an adventure! I will go back and reminisce a few days before our trip began on Monday.
Sunday was our last time at our home church before leaving for our third term in Brazil, so our pastor asked our family to stand in front of the pulpit after the morning service for the church people to come and tell us “good-bye.” We appreciated all the kind words, sweet remarks, hugs, kisses, and tears that were shed for us, and with us. We truly love our church! We will miss you all, and we would love to hear from you all from time to time.
On Monday morning, we had tremendous help as the Stockman’s, Bro. Donough, the Tyree’s, and Pastor & Mrs. Walters came to assist with packing and transporting our luggage to the airport. As Brother Branton Blair would say, “My, my, my,” did we have luggage! When we finished packing as much as we could, we had 22 large duffle bags as “checked luggage”, and a hodge-podge of “carry-on” luggage, complete with a stroller, car seat, and a booster seat. The internet said that our limit was 70 pounds per bag, so most of our bags were right at 69-70 lbs. However, when we got to the counter, the lady said that the limit was 50 lbs. Heather, my nephew’s wife, who helped us get our “stand-by” tickets told us that they had to honor what the internet said, and the internet said 70 lbs. for Brazil. After a mild “discussion”, she went and asked somebody, or perhaps went to the Delta website, came back and told us what we already knew, that we were indeed allowed 70 lbs. per bag. After all that was settled, we still had to pay for excessive baggage, but they were kind enough to take off $75.00 for one bag they discounted.
After we got checked in, we gathered in a circle as Russell Stockman led us in prayer. We then hugged and kissed and cried some more, and then headed toward security.
Well, we got back to our gate, and then we waited to be called to board our 12:45pm flight. That call never came since the plane was full. After we were informed of that, we continued to wait for the next available flight. The lady at the Delta counter told us that she would transfer us to the next flight, which would be at 2:15pm. In the end, she must have forgotten to do that because our names were not transferred to that flight.
The next lady was most helpful as she transferred us to a sure flight – one that was practically empty. The plane had to have a tire replaced, and then it was discovered that it needed to refill its’oxygen supply. The tire missed its’ first flight from Atlanta to Charlotte, and then when it did come, the mechanic tightened the lug-nut too much, and broke the nut. Anyway, people were changing flights like crazy, and since the plane that we were going to get on was delayed since 11:15am, the flight crew was also waiting there with us. We got to meet them, and even were able to meet the pilot and co-pilot, and then sit in the cockpit and take pictures. Thankfully, we finally got on the plane, and our family made up about half of the passengers. They treated us like royalty. We sure were glad when we got to Atlanta. We were even told in Charlotte that there were eleven seats open on the flight from Atlanta to São Paulo, and only four people ahead of us. That was good news!
When we arrived in Atlanta, we went to our gate to wait to be called. The lady at this counter was also having a bad day, apparently. As the people began to board the plane, we noticed that there were a multitude of people waiting to get on this flight. As all of the regular passengers were boarded, they began to call the names of those passengers flying on stand-by. As the four people ahead of us were called, I was ready to jump up and run to the counter as they called the next person, but it was not my name, nor anyone in my family. Another was called, then another, and still even more people. There were around ten people that were called ahead of us, and they were announcing over the intercom, “Last call”. I sat and prayed, and at last, they called us. It was a miracle from the Lord for sure as we got the last seven seats on the plane, and five of then were together! I sent a quick text to my father-in-law that we all got on the flight. As I sat down between two businessmen, they told us to turn off all electronic devices, and Pastor Walters responded to my text with one word: Glory!
We had a good flight, and we were sure glad to see missionary Terry Broyles at the airport with two of his men from the church. When we arrived at our temporary “home”, we we thrilled to see that they had gotten some of our furniture out of storage, and even had the bunk beds set up, along with our kitchen cabintes, bookcases, refrigerator, table and chairs, etc. We felt like we were “home”.
We were able to organize some things this afternoon, and even get our bed made. Wendy Broyles brought lunch to us, and Gisélia, a lady from the church, brought supper to us. Gisélia also had gotten our sheets out of storage, took them home and washed them, and we are now going to sleep in our own beds, on our own sheets. Can’t wait!
Wednesday will be a busy day as we continue to try and get more of our stuff out of storage that we need, like silverware. We are planning to go to the church here in Jundiaí tomorrow night, and the rest of the week will be spent in setting up our home.
A special “thank-you” goes to Stan and Judy Kemp for allowing us to use their van the entire time we were in the states. They saved us a tremendous amount of money, and for their generosity, love and freindship, we will be eternally grateful. God bless you both!
Again, thank you all so much for your prayers for us. We truly believe that we all made it on that flight to Brasil because so many of you were praying for us. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Please keep Deborah and Matthew in your prayers. Matthew misses his friends, “so, so much”, and Deborah is terrified of a roach she saw in her bedroom.
We send our love to all that made our furlough special. God bless each and every one of you!
Please keep in touch. We would love to hear from you all from time to time.
Your representatives in Brazil,
Dan & Becky Bennett & family