Notes on a mostly smooth journey

On occasion we bump into people we know at big airports like DFW, as we did today. Barbara Leite and her two girls were traveling to visit in-laws in Brazil, were on the same plane as we were. Barbara is the daughter of veteran missionaries Bryan and Jacqueline Bost. There’s just something warm and pleasant about seeing familiar faces in places like airports, bumping into friends along your journey.

• The first time that happened to me, as I recall, was in 1978 or ’79. I was returning to the US from a campaign in Brazil, my first or second there (here), I’m not sure, but I think it was the second. Howard Norton and I wound up on the same plane and were able to sit together. That visit was important for me as he encouraged me to pursue a master’s degree and get some experience before moving to the mission field.

• I took Howard’s advice. It was sound counsel for me.

• Our plane last night hit an air pocket and dropped suddenly. A young man was making his way down the aisle, from the bathroom perhaps, when it happened. After the drop, he ran, literally, to his seat. The turbulence set the whole plane a-chatter. But before and after that one drop, the flight was smooth.

• That happened, too, on my very first international flight, from JFK in New York to London, in 1976, when the A Cappella Singers of FHU headed to Europe for a campaign and tour. It was a prolonged drop, frightening. I seem to remember one or more persons bumping their heads on the ceiling. Right off, I was convinced of the need to remain belted in when seated.

• On the domestic leg from Nashville to DFW, I can’t but overhear a conversation directly behind me between an older gentleman and a woman. He asks what her husband does for a living. Cost accounting, I think, was the answer. He asked her what that was. She didn’t know. I thought that was sad, that a wife didn’t know what her husband did to provide her and her children a living.

• I’m grateful to God and thankful to my wife that she participates in what I do.

• I often complain of Brazilian red tape, so I feel obligated to mention one less document needed. In the São Paulo airport this morning, I asked about the paper to fill out for customs. I was told that, if one had nothing to declare, no paper was necessary. You just walk right through. (Of course, an official sits watching passengers leave and can pull anyone over to examine bags.) Now that’s progress!