Sunday, May 2, 2010

Leaving Detroit

We started boarding our plane in Detroit on time. Our Mission Team found our seats and started settling in. The flight staff closed the door and the plane slowly backed away from the gate. Then it stopped.

We sat there for a few minutes, until finally someone from the cockpit announced that there was an equipment failure and it would be a few more minutes until it was fixed. Well, I thought to myself, if this plane is taking me across the ocean, if there is something wrong with it, they can take as long as they want to repair it.

After another 15 or 20 minutes, the speaker came on again. There were passengers from another flight that were going to be let on the plane, so we were returning to the gate. Our team members all looked at each other with great excitement. Through a miracle, the Bells, our team leaders who had gotten held up in Ohio, would make this flight after all.

The steward opened the hatch and several total strangers got on. We all stretched and strained to see if anyone else was coming, but then the door closed again.

About that time, Jon got another call on his cell phone. The Bells, racing through the airport, had seen through the window our plane pulling away from the gate and then return. They were re-energized and kept going, realizing that they had a chance to make it on board.

The speaker announced a second time that more passengers were going to be allowed on. The hatch opened again, and Nate Bell's round, sweaty face appeared, followed by his parents, hot and panting. Our team cheered. The total strangers sitting around us were not nearly as pleased, probably knowing that they wouldn’t be able to stretch out now that the plane was full.

We continued to sit on the plane, and I started getting very warm and claustrophobic without any air circulating. Eventually, though, the plane passed all of its equipment checks and was cleared for flight. We were instructed to take our seats. And before we knew it, we were in the air and heading east to Amsterdam. From there we would continue on to Nairobi, Kenya.

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