We got up early, after about 9 hours sleep, had our coffee and breakfast of cereal, and started planning the day. Today is the day we pick up the team. We have the largest group, from Pensacola, coming in at 1:05 pm, then we have one person coming in at 2:40, and five people coming in at 3:05. As you can see, we would be at the airport half the day. The first thing we had to do was make sure that Gabriel (military truck) would start–thank the Lord, it did. We had some wires burn, so Will fixed it the Haitian way. We have two wires that are under the dashboard that you touch together to start it. Then we had to make sure that we had an extra battery in the old van, because even after we put a new alternator in it, the alternator still does not charge the battery.
I left the mission house to go to Port, after first making sure all vehicles would start, to buy the groceries that we couldn’t buy yesterday. After a few hours, Simon and Will drove in to buy ice at the icehouse for our coolers–Will drove Gabriel and Simon drove the van. We all converged at the airport about 1:00. After bribing my way into the airport, I saw Pastor Lonnie in line at Customs. God’s timing is perfect–we had nine members make it in on the team, and we only lost five bags. They said as they were leaving Pensacola they saw their trunks on the tarmac. We then had to go to the lost luggage counter and report the lost luggage–this always takes some time. When we finished with the lost luggage, we had to go out through the Declaration counters and, as I suspected, with so many trunks, they wanted to see what we were bringing in. They look for medications that are outdated. I have learned to put all luggage with clothes on top of our trunks on carts, so that is the first thing they will see. After they see a couple of these, they usually just let you through, and they did this time.
To get to the airport parking lot, you have to walk at least a quarter of a mile. After our hike to the parking lot, we came to Gabriel, where we loaded up all the trunks and the team members. Will was taking them up to Z’Orange, while Simon and I stayed to pick up the rest of the team. After they left, I went back into the airport and met the rest of the team. This time we only had one piece of luggage lost–Ken Lawrence’s trunk. He had had a hard time all day making his connections, and now his luggage hadn’t come in, but it got even worse for Ken. After getting everybody out of the airport, we put all of the luggage in the old van, and the rest of the team got into the new Ford. Ken said he would ride in the van, since it would be crowded in the Ford. I told him I didn’t know if that would be a good idea if he wanted to be sure he would make it to Z’Orange, but he went with Simon anyway. After we arrived in Z’Orange and had been there for about 45 minutes, a motorcycle arrived and the rider told us the van had broken down. Will and Chuck Gerber went down in Gabriel to check on them, and they ended up having to take a battery out of Gabriel to get it started and get it up to Z’Orange. They arrived about 7:00, just in time to eat dinner. When bedtime came, Ken had no sheets, pillow, blanket, towel or anything, so we all pitched in and took care of him. The people who know Ken know that he took it all with a laugh and a smile. I hope to get all the trunks tomorrow.