March 23, 24 and 25, 2013
Where do we begin?
The last 48-72 hours have been filled with a lot of stories...and to be honest I don't know where to begin...or maybe where did I leave off?
Friday afternoon---we left the capital city of Honduras and headed to Jovenes en Camino for the weekend celebration--as we begin our 10th year of operation of the boys home! It was a great weekend.
Barbara and Bethany were scheduled to return home on Sunday...and I was staying in Honduras until Tuesday to do some more work...but with the death of Coach Mac, I had decided to change my flight--so I could be home for his funeral.
We began that process on Thursday....and since I had an "awards" flight --there were a lot of hoops to jump through---however, my group desk contact that helps with our trip to Honduras each year---got me a phone number and a person to talk with--who was able to move my flight from Tuesday until Monday. That would allow me to arrive in Nashville last Monday night in time for the funeral on Tuesday.
Those arrangements were made before we headed to Jovenes.
The campus at Jovenes looks great. The boys were on their best behavior. Saturday morning we had a great Board Meeting---including a meeting with the house parents and other key staff members. It was the best meeting we have ever had. The staff is a team---unity can be felt everywhere on campus---and the words I heard over and over again (in English and Spanish)---TRUST---FAMILY---UNITY--LOVE---SUPPORT
Tears flowed as the staff shared their love of the boys---and how they were all family. But the most emotional part of the day, was win some of the oldest boys--some of them who have have been at Jovenes for 9 years---got emotional about their "family" at Jovenes. It was a blessing to see these 15 and 16 year old boys talk about their "Family" at Jovenes---and to see the tears roll down their face---or for them to be to emotional to speak.
I was right at home...crying with them.
Saturday was filled with meetings, celebrations, Easter Egg Hunts, Birthday cake---and a group/brigade from Brentwood High School (led by Kim and Keith Thedford)---including our own Amy and Macy Cotrill and Ronnie and Grace Plunkett were there to help and work all day!
Our trip this time---included a lot of first. We spent two nights at the Kellogg Center (In Zamorano) and we eat a little restaurant along the side of the road there in Zamorano. I would have never eaten there---but Chad Hedgepath---(Our Executive Director of Jovenes--who has spent a lot of time in Honduras--said let's try it!) With caution...and a few pepto pills---we branched out (actually we were very hungry and it was our only choice for Food Friday night!) It turned out to be one of our better meals....so good that we went back Saturday night for another meal. One of the best grilled chicken meals that I have ever had in Honduras!
After worship Sunday morning (the house parents and boys led a wonderful service) Pavon (Sgt. Bilko---our personal driver/Honduras guide) took Barbara, Bethany and I to the airport. Ronald would join us there later....Barbara and Bethany were ticketed for the Sunday flight...that was FULL...however, I was told if I waited---and there was a no-show---I might get a seat for the 12:45 flight home.
Mark Ezell (President of Purity Dairies, former Tau Phi brother, Jovenes Board member, Yo-Yo, etc) was also on this flight. Barbara and Bethany checked in....and they also checked my suitcase---because if I get in on the flight...I will not have time to check a bag----so I have tucked away some extra clothes in my carry on...for the next day in Honduras.
For about one and a half hours...I waited (until everyone had checked in---and then I was told that our plane (coming in from Miami)..was late arriving to Honduras....and most likely we would not take off until about 2 pm---however there could be a wind restriction--that could cause more delays or require American Airlines to take weight off the plane---HOWEVER, they could give me a ticket and seat! So, I got an exit row seat--beside Mark! I couldn't get a boarding pass out of Miami to Nashville (but they assured me there were seats on the plane---and that I would have no trouble getting my boarding pass in Miami!). So, it appeared I was heading home with Barbara and Bethany (don't forget Mark Ezell, he would become our new travel partner).
We then paid the nearly $40 (American dollars) exit tax to leave Honduras---and headed to the security screening area. Since we knew the plane was running late, I took time to get a hamburger at McDonalds (also fed Pavon lunch before sending with Ronald back to Jovenes). I tried to talk Barbara and Bethany into a hamburger (Bethany doesn't like McDonalds in the states--so there was no way she was going to eat a hamburger now); mine was great! We said our goodbyes and headed to security. (For some odd reason--my artificial knee does not set off the scanners in Honduras). So, without a hitch we were headed to gate four.
Along the way we passed Steve, Lisa and Emily Davidson who were headed home on Delta through Atlanta. (there flight was also delayed, it was being re routed through Pedro Sula--and after missing their connection in Atlanta, they got home about 2:30 am Monday morning). Phil Roe (another Jovenes board member) and his family were heading to Costa Rico on yet another flight.
Meanwhile, our flight was scheduled to leave at 12:45...and about 1:15 the plane arrived in Honduras...however it had to wait at least 45 minutes or longer before it could taxi to the gate to unload.
Then the real drama began.
Due to wind restrictions (a lot of tail wind , etc)---the airline had to ask for 25-30 people to take a $500 voucher (free room, food, transportation and a flight the next day). I was a afraid since I was last on...I would be first off! but since they needed to many volunteers due to this special restriction....it really didn't matter...they had to just begin to get volunteers (without the number we would not have flown at all!)
They had worked so hard to get me on the plane and we all wanted to get home...that we couldn't take the voucher and stay the other night. Another day..another trip, it would have been tempting.
Several from a group heading back to college in Denver, took the deal! The students were excited!
Meanwhile all the luggage that had been loaded on the plan, had to come off, so they could match the luggage to the list of flyers! What started as a couple hour delay....turned into a five (5) hour delay (eating up our layover in Miami)
We finally took off just before 5:45 pm local time...just two minutes before official sunset (The pilot, who did a great job of keeping us informed as we sat on the plane for over 45 minutes waiting to take off) told us after takeoff, that "by the skin of our teeth" we were able to take off before the sunset shutdown of the airport...and we would all been in Honduras for another night with no paid hotel or food and no $500 voucher!
The five-hour delay meant, that we would miss our connection if the Miami-Nashville flight was on time. (In my nearly 20 years of flying that flight it is late 9 out of 10 times). As we arrived in Miami, we learned the plane was on time and we had missed our connection home. Almost everyone on our plane was in the same boat...or maybe we wished we were in a boat!
We made some new friends from Oklahoma Christian, return from a week of working with the "Breaking Chains" Ministry (they had stayed at the Baxter Institute). They also missed their flight…most like most of the people on the plane.
After we cleared customs we headed to the American Airlines Re-booking desk---to see when we could get home.
They got us on the Monday morning 8 am flight. So, that meant that we would be spending the night in the Miami Airport.
We checked our luggage and then headed to Subway for a midnight dinner/supper! After we eat, Mark headed to pick-up a Miami Newspaper, USA today---he got Bethany a People Magazine—and we headed to go back through security---so we could find us a gate-area to settle in for the night!
They wouldn’t know our gate until around 5 am in the morning—so we just headed in to Concourse D looking for a gate to bed down for the night.
(I have some pictures that I will either post on Facebook or our web site)
We moved benches together for Barbara and Bethany…Mark and I found a couple of good spots on the floor…and by 1am we were beginning our naps (we would wake up every little bit…listening to all night CNN Airport---and of course the airport in Miami---is usually always cool or cold…so as the night went on…my two jackets came in handy.)
We got up about 5 am…Mark found our gate---we headed for some coffee and breakfast and then we headed to our gate…for another 2 hour wait! (That is when I began writing this Journey)
Shortly after 8 am we boarded a plane for Nashville! However, the Laboratory on the plane was broken. They encouraged everyone to go back to the terminal to use the facilities---since we had a 2-hour flight. Then, they told us they couldn’t fly with a broken Laboratory---so we (and all the luggage) had to move to another plane. (Another delay on our Journey) Once we settled into our next American Eagle Jet---and just as we were about to shut the door…and get ready to take off---the Captain told us that they had found a “loose screw” in the baggage compartment. I decided to just go to Sleep…and the next thing I knew we were flying somewhere over Florida…heading home!
We would arrive in Nashville around 10 am---Michael Linn was at the airport to pick us up---we headed to Lipscomb to drop Bethany off for Biology Class…and then to BHCC where Barbara left with a group of ladies to go to Mrs. Bobo’s to celebrate Jane Forrester’s birthday! I went into the building…check on a few things---help with a few details---as the staff was getting everything ready for Coach Mac’s visitation.
I then headed home---for a shower, lunch---and back to help out at the building during the visitation. About 10:30 pm….I was back home and ready to get in my BED---for a good night’s sleep!
What a Journey!
Tuesday March 26th
Today most of our day was spent helping with and attending Lipscomb Academy Football Coach Glenn McCadam’s funeral service---A Celebration of Life. It was a moving service that lasted nearly 2 ½ hours…with hundreds of former Mustang Football Players in attendance.
You can watch the video of the service at Bhcc.TV here on our web site www.brentwoodhills.org
What a Journey!!!
Church of Christ
5120 Franklin Road
Nashville, Tennessee 37220
Phone: (615) 832-2541
Fax: (615) 832-2583