I have no idea what day it is today, but on Wednesday, at 4:15pm, I kissed my dog and two cats good-bye and headed to the airport where I checked my suitcase and received for boarding passes that would take me to Dallas and then to Santiago, Chile.
One year later.
You may remember that in May of 2009, I boarded with 10 students and one translator to head to Temuco, Chile to work at the Fundacion Para Amar, a girls' home in Southern Chile.
One year later and I am preaching at a conference for children and youth workers in Santiago.
But first, I have to get through Dallas. And just as we missed our flight on the way home from Chile one year ago, so I missed my flight from Dallas to Santiago. Or rather, it missed me, and everyone else scheduled to board. So in a line long enough to hold a plane-ful of passengers, I finally got to the desk to discover the flight had been postponed until tomorrow morning.
"But I'm supposed to preach in Santiago tomorrow night!" I exclaimed hoping to win some sympathy points.
This is only after, upon seeing me, the startled woman behind the counter asked, "How old are you?!"
"Oh, oh, well, you look young. Sorry."
"No problem, you just confused me with an adolescent, but that's fine. I'll take it as a compliment if you can get me to Santiago faster than tomorrow night."
Alright, I didn't say that, but I thought it.
However, the woman didn't buy the minister card I played either. Sorry, she said. There was another flight we could have sent you on but it's already gone.
"Here's a hotel voucher and a voucher for dinner and breakfast, alcohol not included."
Well, what good is that gonna do me?
"No thank you," I replied. "Can I just get some extra miles or something?"
Of course, she wasn't authorized to give me that so I took the hotel vouchers and went to sit down.
There was no way I was going to sit by myself in a hotel room all night when I was in Dallas. So I called Cat and Josie. No answer from either. Oh God. Maybe I was going to sit in a hotel room in Dallas by myself. So I texted them, "call me ASAP." Surely that would work. It did. Cat returned my call.
"Hold on, let me put on some clothes, I'll come get you."
So Cat and I reunited in Dallas, ate some cheese sticks and salad (a little bit of comfort food, a little bit of good for you food) and went to her house. She just bought it a few months ago and it was great. Very spacious with tall ceilings. And I got to see Bridget for the first time in like 6 years! I used to dog-sit Bridget when we all lived in Waco when Cat was teaching school and I had to walk Bridget during my lunch hour. Sometimes I would take Olivia with me, the girl I often babysat. Good times. Then Cat and I watched a little bit of the House marathon on TV and both went to bed.
Less than five hours later, the alarm went off, I showered, re-put back on yesterdays clothes (no they would not give me my luggage back at the airport) and headed back to DFW.
We were supposed to leave at 8am. But at 8:10 the pilot came on and said there were mechanical difficulties. That figures. But we did finally take off and I arrived in Santiago only forty-five minutes after I thought I would (or rather 11 hours and 45 min after I thought I would) and Raquel was there to pick me up.
She's the President of UBACH, the Chilean Baptist organization. She arranged the children minister's conference and of course she had arranged my original trip to Chile the year before. So it was good to see her again.
We went straight to the seminary where the conference was held and after changing clothes in a bathroom and brushing my hair, we went into worship and 20 minutes later I was preaching and she was translating.
What a night.
And of course, after I finished preaching and we were gathering our things Raquel said, "I liked your sermon a lot but tomorrow it will have to be much longer."
Yikes! I'm not used to preaching for 40 minutes!
Afterwards, we went to dinner with her son and his girlfriend (I hadn't eaten since lunch on the plane) and that food was delicious. Some sort of pasta dish. And of course a pisco sour.
This morning I slept in, much later than I intended. But it's freezing here and I think subconsciously my body didn't want to come out from under the covers. I worked a little more on sermons two and three and then Raquel arrived and we went to another session of the conference.
Most of that consisted of me looking at people pretending to understand what they were saying, and Raquel occasionally translating. Lunch was good. Some sort of meat-free soup (yea!) which I had two bowls of and also a pasta alfredo dish with ham that was easy to eat around. And then some sort of raspberry yogurt pudding thing for dessert. That was all good considering all I'd been left for breakfast was hot tea and oreos... what?
So now it's the afternoon. I've finished the sermons and need to get them printed. Raquel is working on her computer in the little apartment I'm staying in at the seminary and when she's done we'll return to the conference.
Not much time for sightseeing, but hopefully on Saturday after my morning sermon is done.