Psalm 139: 1-3 - Lord, You have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I stand up; You understand my thoughts from far away. You observe my travels and my rest; You are aware of all my ways.
Steve's (tech-savvy) dad texted us these verses just before our flight yesterday. They came in handy for remembering that God is in control of all our circumstances.
When we got to O'Hare yesterday we learned that our flight was cancelled. We had done a pre-check-in the night before, but didn't check the flight status that morning. Melissa and Fleurette dropped us off at about 7:15am. We were a little distressed about the flight. I prayed while Steve stood in line and talked with the United reps. They got us on a direct flight to Hong Kong that would actually arrive 2 hours prior to our original flight! Thank You God! The new flight was scheduled for around 12:30 PM. It took off around 1pm.
Man, that is one long flight. Sheehan did really well, but was really tired. He slept for a good nine hours. He was only antsy for about 2 hours (arms and legs a bit out of control, not obeying, whiny, etc. - pretty good for having to sit in a seat for 20 hours). Steve got a couple hours of sleep, I got about 45 minutes. As we approached China, the pilot mentioned that they were having severe weather in Hong Kong and didn't know how that would affect our trip, but it was difficult to predict the weather that lay ahead.
We made it close to Beijing with pretty smooth flying. At that point, he said we were low on fuel and would have to make a quick stop in Beijing for more gas. We bumpily landed and refueled. Which was actually nice for me because while the plane was stopped I felt more at ease with not having my seat belt on and laying down across the seats with Sheehan (flying is not my favorite activity, but I have definitely improved over the years, thanks be to God, and don't even need drugs anymore). That's probably when I got most of my sleep. After about an hour we were asked to get ready to take off (in the middle of a lightning storm). So, we sat on the plane for another two hours in the storm before taking off (the circumstances we face are first filtered through the loving fingers of God - to paraphrase Nancy Leigh DeMoss - this has become my life quote, as I repeat it to myself multiple times per day). The lightning lit around us everywhere. I didn't know they could take off or land in the a lightning storm. I eventually trusted that they knew what they were doing better than me.
We finally got in the air and made it to Hong Kong pretty quickly (3 hours). We circled a few times and landed in the middle of a lightning storm with gusty winds (reminding myself of God's soveriengty, "He's holding the plane, He's carrying the plane, He has good plans for me, His will is what I want for my life...even if this is plane crashes in a flaming inferno...right?" Right.).
We got off the plane around 9pm. Everything at the Hong Kong airport is similar to any major city in the U.S. minus the maching gun-carrying military. We grabbed something (7-11 ... no Big Gulps Melissa :) for Sheehan to eat and got our tickets to ride the MTR (subway train thingy) to downtown. We got on then got off at the wrong stop. We were quickly rerouted back on to the train by some helpful employees. We got off at the next stop (thankfully, the train runs every 12 minutes). We went to the Kowloon station and then took a taxi to the hotel (Katherine understates this part ... after getting off the MTR there was a line 50 people deep waiting for cabs ... this added an additional hour to our marathon trip :). I collapsed into bed as soon as I got in the room (Katherine is not exaggerating here) and slept so deeply for 5 hours. I don't know how late Sheehan and Steve stayed up (about 30-minutes later - SH).
We woke up at 5 am, I don't know why(?!), perhaps the jet lag(?) and went down to breakfast in the hotel restaurant. YUM! This brings back memories of our first morning in Beijing when we adopted Sheehan. Bread pudding with strawberry and vanilla sauce was the first item on my plate. What?! I opted out of the corn on the cob, baked beans, salad and fried Japanese fish that were available. We wondered if the Chinese think that Americans eat baked beans and corn on the cob for breakfast. We figure that somebody must eat that stuff because they keep serving it. We also had pancakes, eggs, bacon, dim sum, fried rice, noodles, and juice and coffee. (FYI from Steve ... the bread pudding with vanilla and chocolate sauce was outstanding ... I think we need to carry this "American tradition" back to America!)
Now, we're getting ready to figure out what to do today. It's pouring rain here. It was pouring last night when we arrived. They have all these signs up talking about "red rain." I guess this indicates heavy rain fall (possible flood warning). They have different ratings of rain fall and warn you of what its like before you go out.
We really appreciate the prayers and support of everyone ... yesterday could have been a nightmare logistically and emotionally, but as always, God watches over our coming and going ... and protects us in the process.
Sheehan's buddy Min-Min ... contemplating the view of Hong Kong ... ooh, check out that sweet fire hydrant