Tuesday morning came quickly and we left the house at 8am. Our son, Mel III was able to pick us up and take us to the airport.
We stopped twice to double check having 8 bags. They were all there. How good and merciful God is! We got to the airport with very few crowds. We were sure that Mel III would have to spend half the day with us. Our flight was not for 4 hours. We were able to check in our bags ahead of time and Mel III was not even in the airport yet. I was not made to come up to the desk so I stood back with the extra bags while they checked the big bags and looked at our passports. We were done in about five minutes with two of the suitcases weighing 69.75 pounds and the other two weight 69.5 pounds. The sky cab asked us - "How did you do that?" Well, we did have good scales, but God has been in this all!
We went on to security. I felt "green" even though I had read all about it, and when reading stories from other people it had made me a little nervous. I had to stop reading and just trust the Lord. We got through pretty quickly and easily without any impatient people. God was so good to us. They didn't give us a hard time about anything and everyone was nice. We were through that line in just a few minutes and Mel III did not have to wait long and was able to be on his way.
But now the long wait for my first flight in over 30 years. I finally got something to eat - ate a balance bar to keep me going. We sat for about 2.5 - 3 hours before boarding the plane. Well, the moment had finally come and it was as bad as I thought - I still do not like flying and the motion bothered me a whole lot more than I thought it would. There was a woman next to us also on her way to Brazil with Road Scholars (I had never heard of this before) - we talked a little bit so that helped to comfort me some. I know people were praying for me so that was the most comfort. The flight was not too bad, but I did not like the claustrophobic feelings and the crampness and the noise, and the motion and the turbulence, although there was very little of it and for that I was grateful!
We landed safely in Miami on time, but now had a 5 hour lay over. We had to pay a "small fortune" for a couple pieces of pizza and some coke, but it tasted good and gave us strength. I walked a little, but not too much. I talked a little with a Brazilian girl who was on her way home to Brazil. She had been in New England to surprise her mother for her birthday. She was very nice and helpful. I was able to leave her a Portuguese tract to read. We did give out a few tracts and I prayed for the Lord to use them and help someone to get saved.
Five hours went pretty quickly, but I was very tired and shaking thinking about the overnight trip. Oh, I wish I could trust better and rest in the Lord. (I later found a note from Kylie, that said don't be afraid on the airplane Grandma, God will take care of you) Oh yes, He does! In fact the day before I had read:
Joshua 1:9 Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.
I was reminded that God is with me wherever I go, land, sea, or air! - I would just rather be on land :) Not only is He with me, bu being not afraid is not a suggestion, but a command and His commandments are not grievous! How I need to trust my Lord more!
The overnight trip was long - 8 hours and seemed almost endless. It was a little more pleasant in that it was a large plane and we were by ourselves by the window. The plane served dinner and breakfast - 9 pm and 4 am - ugh.. I ate a little, because I knew I needed to, but really did not want to eat. I was still too emotional and my stomach was upset. I did not like using the "potty room" on the plane, but was surprised that it was not too gross. We tried to sleep some, but everytime I dosed it seemed like the plane would shake a little and that would get me jittery all over again. Poor Mel, I would grab him every time it even shook just a little. I just don't like being 30,000 feet in the air with something that big shaking and feeling like it is going to fall apart. They had tv and movies and music and all that stuff on the plane. I tried to watch Ben Hur, but was really too tired and did not want to watch it that long. I listened to a little classical music and even slept to it a little. The night seemed long, but soon 4 am was here and they turned on all the lights in order to serve us breakfast. They asked us if we wanted egg or sandwich - Mel said egg and I said sandwich - Well, they were both sandwiches - one with egg and one with meat and cheese. Breakfast was soon over and it was near time for descent - yeah! I was ready to get number two flight over. Sao Paulo was big and never ending as you could see the lights from the plane. People people everywhere and searching- so many of them searching. It was a little bit of a challenge in this airport. We had to get our luggage this time and hold onto it until we could check in for the next flight. That was still about 3 more hours. We had about a 7 hour layover here. We finally got our luggage with two carts.
When I went to the bathroom, I found it a little different - was this a typical Brazilian bathroom? - tp was gone, no seat- I won't explain what happened after that, but yuk anyway. Well, that part was done - I did notice that the bathrooms did not seem to have an odor and most people cleaned up after themselves. Tp went into trash cans instead of in the toilet. Interesting. Later I did find that the bathrooms did have seats, just not all of them. I had happened to choose the wrong one. I was more careful next time.
While looking for something to drink we met a girl who told us to watch our things closely. That was the second person that told us that! We took her advice and held on tightly to our things. She was nice and talked to us most of the time until she had to check in for her flight. She was from Greenville, SC - claimed to be saved, but not sure. She was Japanese Brazilian mix and maybe more. She did take a couple of tracts. I am praying she will read one and make sure of her own salvation. She exchanged some Brazilian money for our American money so that was a blessing. We were able to get a couple of drinks and I ate another bar before the next flight.
I had worn hose since it was cold when we left, but I was now ready to take them off, throw them away and change shoes to flip flops so I did. I managed to get a little walking in before the next flight which helped the stomach ache that I now had.
Boarding time soon came and we were on our way to Cuiaba at last. Oh my could I stand two more hours of this, now in a smaller plane? Just get me there Lord, - I am now crying with joy and anxiety I think as I was thinking about seeing my grand kids again.
After boarding I watched the stewardess for a while and she was very upset about something. She stayed upset the whole trip. I was told later that Brazilians are not good about hiding their emotions.
About an hour into the trip the pilot came on and said we were entering turbulence area - oh me, not now after getting this far. But once again, my Lord is so good and merciful and the bouncing was not much of anything. In fact after the seat belt sign went off, I think there was more bouncing around then. Finally, we could see the dirty red dirt suburbs of Cuiaba.
Yeah! It is time to land. It is now day 2, October 10th! We landed safely, had to walk down stairs like it was years ago to get off the plane. I was sad when I could not see any sign of anyone in the windows. Jeremy had told us that they would be watching us, but they had been delayed and got a little late start. We were able to claim our baggage pretty quickly and finally, finally the big moment came and thrill that can't be explained when seeing your loved ones for the first time in a long time. The grand kids were a little apprehensive at first, but latched on quickly and were glad to have us here!
One thing I have notice is that Brazil has its own smell - I thought maybe I was weird and I told Esther and she said the same thing. I noticed it everywhere that we went in Brazil.
The ride home seemed long and Jeremy did get sidetracked so we ended up taking a little longer route. The roads here all look the same and it seems like you are going nowhere and yes, the driving it just like I pictured it and maybe a little worse. The main street by his house is full of bicycles, motorcycles, cars, trucks, horses and wagons, going everywhere and you have to watch out for everyone. It is like a whole new art to driving. So strange. I felt a strange peace while riding about these streets for almost two weeks. Once again, God was confirming to me that He would take care of us and I know He is ever merciful and long-suffering for so many people go about these streets day after day and God protects them.
I knew what Jeremy's street looked like, but when we actually turned the corner onto his street, I was still shocked when I saw it for myself. It seemed so much worse than just the pictures that I saw.
Esther had their house fixed up very cute. I only wished I had gotten pics before we started emptying suitcases. But I did get a few pics and also took pics of things that we take for granted, like nice doors and locks, and faucets with cold and hot water, and normal toilets that you can put tp into and AC throughout the whole house.
We emptied the suitcases and got everything separated according to person. Jeremy and Esther went to church that night. I took a shower, changed clothes and we laid down. I fell asleep and did not wake up until the next morning. :) I was grateful for a good rest and feeling refreshed the next morning! I can't say it enough - God is so good!