I’m Home From Nigeria!

…And does it feel gooooood!!!! I will start blogging my journal entries about my trip with the end of my trip! (How confusing could that be, right?).

We got up at 6:30 a.m.ish to get ready for our journey home. Sara has been really sick the last couple of days, throwing up, so we took it easy getting ready. We had prayer with the whole team, and then we headed out to the vehicles that took us to the airport. After going through customs and all that jazz, Clarke (our team leader) took us to the “first class lounge”. Airconditioned and soda and/or water, and crackers were served to us. James, John, Denny and I played a round of euchre (our favorite pass-time in Nigeria). We were able to board the plane about 10:30 and our flight was scheduled for take off at 11:15. There was a delay, however. They had to rearrange the luggage so the load was balanced, apparently. That took like an hour, I think! Finally, around 12:15, we were in the sky, headed for home! Hallelujah, Praise Jesus!

Sara had some Dramamine, so after we had some food in our stomach, we each took one. I started feeling sleepy, but only slept an hour or so, if that. It was so hard getting comfortable! I let Sara have the window most of the way since she was not feeling good. I prefer the window so I can look out (I like to see where I’m going). And, the window gives you something to lean on. Thankfully, Sara and I have bonded over this trip, and we leaned on each other!

On the flight, they showed “National Treasure” 2, “Enchanted”, and “Water Horse”. I watched the first two movies, but not “Water Horse”. I would like to see it, but I was too “movied out”, restless and tired all at the same time.

Our first meal was a choice of chicken and rice, roast beef or pasta. I so should have went for the pasta or roast beef, but no, I chose the chicken. The second I opened, I knew I could not eat it! It smelled just like the stuff we had been eating all along in Nigeria. I ate the salad, the roll, the crackers and the dessert, though. Sara ate some of the crackers, some of the roll and a couple of bites of her salad. She kept it all down, thank goodness! We had Sprite most of the whole flight, which helped to settle our stomaches.

I think both Sara and I slept maybe 2 hours the whole flight home! Like I said, we just couldn’t get comfortable.

Our flight was supposed to get in at 7:20 pm (Eastern Time) in Atlanta, but we didn’t get in until after 8:00. Our flight from Atlanta to Detroit was at 9:15, and we had to go through Customs. We were rushing through the airport as fast as we could!

We made it through to the first line of Customs where they check your passport. I was the last one in line. I get up to the counter, he swipes my passport. He’s looking at the screen, kind of funny. I’m beginning to get nervous. He asks me, “Have you ever been arrested before?” I’m like, “NO!”. Then he proceeds to tell me that there is a warrant for my arrest!!!!!!!! Yah! I, in my sarcastic tone of voice said, “You’ve got to be kidding me?” His response to that was, “Ma’am, I don’t play games”. I of course apologized right away, but was dumb-founded at this. I was freaking out now because A. I’m going to miss my flight. B. The rest of the team is already gone. C. I could be going to jail in Atlanta, Georgia. D. The rest of the team was gone, and had no idea what happened to me. E. I could be going to jail in Atlanta, Georgia!!!!!!! I sat in the customs office, freaking out. I started to cry. My heart was racing. I began to pray, “Oh God, let this be some big mistake, let everything be okay, let me NOT miss my flight to Detroit”. Another man called me to the counter. He asked, “Have you ever been arrested before?” Again, I said, “NO!”. Again he said, “There is a warrant out for your arrest”. “Where, what, when, how?”, I asked. “You live in Michigan?” he asked. “Yes” I responded with a question in my tone. He stated, “There is a warrant for insufficient funds, writing bad checks”. I freaked out! “What? I have no idea what that is for! It has to be a mistake. When was it issued”? “July”, he said. “There has to be some mistake”, I repeated. “If I put this in, then I have to detain you”, he started to explain. “But, this is not something that calls for extradition, so I’m going to let you go, but make sure you take care of this when you get home.” Duh! Holy moly! I was relieved, but still nervous. It was now 8:45! So, I walked as fast as I could, got out to the baggage claim area and had no idea where to go from here. I didn’t know if the rest of the team got my luggage or what. So, I just walked. I saw James and John, yeah!!!! James thought I got lost or had to use the bathroom. I gave him a brief explanation, while chocking back the tears. The three of us proceeded through the part of customs where they check your luggage again. The lady at the desk asked if I had luggage, and not knowing anything, I just said, “I think my team members got it for me because I got detained.” “Oh, no, you better go make sure because no one else is allowed to carry you luggage for you, so you better go back and check the baggage claim area”, she so nicely stated to me. So, James and John went on ahead to the departure gate for Detroit, and back I went to the baggage claim area. Along the way I saw Clarke. I gave him a brief explanation of what happened to me at customs. He told me to go ahead to the baggage claim area because they Zach, Luke, Sara and Denny were still there. I was so happy to see them! They, of course, asked what happened, again I explained through tears. I was so shaken up by this ordeal. Nothing like this has ever happened to me before. It scared the crap out of me. Well, as we were standing there waiting for our luggage, Sara had to use the restroom. When she got back me and Sara still didn’t have our luggage, so we decided to leave it and head for our gate without it. We figured it’s only clothes and if we lose our luggage, the airline will reimburse us $300 that we can buy new clothing with. So, we walked as fast as we could to our gate, and began running. We still had one more customs check to go through (scanning our carry on) and a nice lady with 2 kids let us go ahead of her, as we explained we were missing our flight. We got through without any problems, Hallelujah, Praise Jesus, and ran to our gate. We got there while there was still a line to board. I was so out of breath, and Sara found the energy to run. Denny was right behind us, too! We all boarded and were heading home.

We landed in Detroit at 11:00 pm. We were heading to the baggage claim area, and I realized I left my passport in the back of the seat!!!! Oh my gosh, I can’t even believe I did that! It is so unlike me. So, Denny and I headed back to the gate (we had gone about 1/2 way from the gate to the baggage claim area). No one was around, except a security guard. We told him what happened and he went to find a Delta employee. They came back, she entered the plane, and got my passport! Hallelujah, Praise Jesus! Denny and I ran to the baggage claim area, and met up with the rest of the group. John Sewell Sr. was there. He had flewn one of Chaffee’s planes to Toledo, to pick up Denny’s vehicle and drove it to Detroit, along with Nathan Kelp. Nathan, James, Zach and John drove back, while Sara, Luke, Denny, John Sr. and I flew back in Chaffee’s plane! It is a Cessna 310. A small 5 passenger plane. John Sr. sat in the co-pilots seat.

Take off was smooth, flying over Detroit was smooth and beautiful! It’s amazing how much better you can see out of those planes than the big commercial planes. I loved it. Until we hit a thunderstorm! The plane began to make, what it felt like, dips and jumps in the air. It was like riding a rollercoaster! I was somewhat scared, I’ll admit! I just closed my eyes, like I do on a roller coaster, and prayed! At one point, John Sr. took off his head set, turned around and told us to buckle our seat belts tightly and hang on, it’s gonna get rough! And it did! We heard later yesterday at youth group that at one point we were facing straight down, because Dave (the pilot) had to do a quick decent. I’m not sure of the reason for the quick decent, but it doesn’t matter. I guess I am happy I didn’t know we were doing a nose dive. I think that would have freaked me out somewhat! I opened my eyes, and the next thing I saw was the ground was closer and there was snow. We were decending for landing in Gaylord. We were home!

When I stepped off the plane, it was raining. Sandy came running out of the plane, arms wide open, and she exclaimed, “Welcome home! We’re so happy you’re home. We were praying for you the whole time, lots of prayers went up for you guys”, as she and I embraced and we both were crying.

Sandy and Nick dropped me off at Trisha’s until Jeff got off work at 8 am. He is on midnights, finishing up as I type this. I took a nice, hot, non-Nigeria-water shower. Trisha had told Jeff to bring me some comfy, clean clothes, and I’m so glad she did, since I didn’t have my luggage especially! I put on my sweats and sweatshirt, and layed on the couch, she had so nicely prepared for me. I tried to sleep but my ankles and legs were cramping. I figured I was dehydrated, so I got up and got a glass of water, which did help the cramping. I finally fell asleep, probably around 3 am.

Trisha got up to use the restroom at 5 am. When she was walking past me, back to her room, I said “Hi”. She hugged me, and we stayed up talking about my trip, and what went on here at home while I was gone. We talked until Jeff got to her house at about 8:30 am.

When Trisha went to go wake Ben up for work, Ethan woke up, so she brought him downstairs. I was sitting on the couch, she was standing over me, asking Ethan, “Who’s here?” When Ethan saw me, he reached out his arms and leaned for me. I was so happy! We snuggled for about 1/2 an hour. It was great!!!!

Jeff and I hung out for about 1/2 an hour after he arrived, and then we headed home. We went to bed and I slept until about 1:30 and couldn’t any more. That’s when I started this blogpost.

We went to youth group last night. It was so good to see everyone. The one question I got over and over was “How was Africa”? My response became “Everything”. And it was! It was awesome and terrible. It was amazing and awful. It was different and interesting. It was filthy and hot. It truly was everything.

I journaled my whole trip, and so I will begin posting day by day straight from my journal. I will break it up by days so it’s not so long.

God bless!

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