Friday, November 18, 2005

TN/KY Tornado

You know it's going to be an interesting day when Paris, TN and Madisonville, KY make the national news on the same day. Paris being the home of Acappella Ministries and the warehouse. Madisonville being the hometown of Bruce, Rhonda & Will Coleson, and family still live there.

I checked in with the weather channel about third thing on my morning list Wednesday. Tuesday night had been an uneasy one for us here in Alabama as a front of storm weather was expected and showed up in the wee hours of the morning. Fortunately, we did not have the bad weather other areas further north suffered from that front. Regardless, waking to sound of loud thunder and hard rain will get your attention. I grew up running to the basement and for all of my adult life, have not had a basement. Anyway, the weather channel. Well, lo and behold, they had Paris, TN and video of workers at a plant there in town who had weathered the storm as the building was destroyed. I picked up the phone to check on Ryan at the Acappella warehouse. He was fine and we had no damage but then asked me about my home town of Madisonville, he thought they'd been hit. Well, I signed off with Ryan and with one hand was dialing my sister in laws' house, the other was typing in The Messenger website to check the news. Reached both at about the same time. Wow.

Family is all fine but some friends have lost everything and Madisonville has a mess. Looks like the south/east side of town had extensive damage and the twisters jumped the parkway and continued to damage areas further east. No deaths in Hopkins County but one in Marshall County near Benton. The weather service being able to forecast and monitor the storms saved a lot of lives Tuesday afternoon. Sounds like it hit the area about 3:30pm and some came out of their homes with all the other walls and roofs gone except the one they were holed up in. I checked today and some are still without power, the rest are cleaning up the mess. It's gonna take a while. Some lost everything. Reminds us of just how temporary all 'this' is. Share a few hugs today. You never know when you're gonna need the reservoir.

Friday, November 11, 2005

The Guyana travel challenge

What can I say? What a day it was and now a new one starts. Thursday was a challenge, in that one of my guys, Robin, wasn't allowed to board his flight to Miami this morning, leaving at 6:27 a.m. We're still not quite sure why the AA flight was denied him but do know, we serve a God who can get anything done, working through our feeble minds, and in grand fashion.

Robin spent his day at the Nashville airport. There is no telling how many people passed him today hurrying to their intended destinations. I wonder what they thought, observing this quiet gentle person deal with a most uncomfortable situation. For you see, not only did he not make it to Miami, he missed his scheduled flight to Georgetown, Guyana SA as well. For Robin would not be traveling with the rest of Acappella on this day. Just when we think the dominoes will all fall, God makes a way.

The day was spent making phone calls, scouring the internet flight sites, negotiating with airline ticket counters and then, redirecting our attention to the north, for no seats were available from Miami this evening. The planes are full. The only AA flights available to New York seemed to route through Dallas/Ft.Worth and the cost was steep, $1280 +. Plus the ticket counter wouldn't take my credit card, for you see, I would have to be there in person on the flight day or Robin would have to have cash to hand over for the purchase. Robin spends his day at the Nashville airport with no credit card and about $50 in his pocket. Hmm, what to do. I admit to pondering out loud to the Lord today. How do we fix this?

Thursday I learned that Southwest will let me book a flight using my credit card from my office in Alabama, on the day of the flight. And so, Robin had a flight headed for Islip, leaving at 4:45pm, arriving at 7:50 pm., less time than the AA flight thru Dallas and for $173.70. Now that is something. A flight for the morning is secured from JFK taking Robin to Georgetown, Guyana. Now, to figure out how to get him from the Islip airport over to a hotel close to JFK. I find one that will take my credit card and has a shuttle to the airport. I'm also concerned that Robin isn't traveling with enough funds to get himself from Islip to the hotel, so I call upon my Vocal Union friend, Brian Wiersma, who calls upon Nic Gaultney to take Robin some more pocket money. Bro. Brian has helped me out before but that's another story for another day. Thanks Brian & Nic.

In the meantime, my sister, Monda, calls in and learns of the dilema of the day. I ask her if she knows anyone on Long Island since she travels to New York regularly for Dillards. It is her birthday and she is shopping this day with our sister, Sonda, at Dillards in Little Rock. They recall that Nick Hamilton, a minister at Pleasant Valley Church of Christ in Little Rock, goes to Brooklyn often and knows good people there. Sonda calls Nick. Guess what? That very night Bill Johnson is scheduled to drive to Islip airport to pick up Chuck Monan, another minister from Pleasant Valley, heading to Harlem to preach, if I understood correctly. Big Bill was also planning to be at JFK the next morning. Now Islip is about 54 miles from JFK, and Bill is planning to be there already. A $150 cab ride will not be necessary. The Lord provides a friendly Christian brother, driving a van, coming to the airport, to be His hands and feet for Robin. And so, Big Bill calls me tonite, to let me know that he has our Robin, has already fed him, and all is well.

And so, it was a long busy day. We pray for Robin's good night of sleep, for he has earned it and for his safe, smooth travel Friday, where he will arrive and walk on stage and sing with Acappella this night. God must surely have something special happening in Georgetown, Guyana this weekend. For you know, He has been mighty busy putting all the pieces, bringing all the people together to make it all happen. And, we count ourselves blessed to have been in the middle of the moment, watching Him work it all out, for our good. He is a faithful God.