Dear family and friends,
Asante sana! (thank you so much) for your prayers for our family. Your prayers have brought us safely to Nairobi and through almost a week of orientation. We feel so blessed to have you all praying for us. Our journey was interrupted, but God kept us safe and gave us rest. I (Maureen) want to take a step back and share a few more details about our experiences over the past two weeks . . . for those interested.
We finally ended up with 17 checked bags, plus strollers and car seats. In the end, we had 22 checked items. Our friend Arlin was kind enough to help us transport our bags to the airport a few hours before our flight. We had a smooth check-in process, a total of 30 minutes-a miracle in itself. When we showed up at the counter there was no line, but after we left a line had formed. After we said our goodbyes, we boarded the plane and settled into our seats. We were on a British Airways 747 plane. We chose bulkhead seats thinking Kate might sleep for most of the flight on the baby seat. She did sleep on the seat for an hour, but refused to be put back. The 9 hour flight went well. Luke kept himself busy with the movies, just like his dad. 🙂 We landed at London Heathrow the next morning and looked for our gate connection on the monitors. When we couldn’t find our flight, we asked and found out that it has been canceled due to a fire at the airport.
At this point, we were in shock, tired and sleepy, waiting in line to speak to an agent to hear our options. We were in line with two other believers and started a conversation. They were coming to speak at conferences in Kenya. We were told that we had no options of flying into Kenya since the airport is totally shutdown due to the fire. We later found out that the fire had started 2-3 hours into our flight. British Airways did put us in a hotel and pay for our meals for a day but we had to go back each day to check for a flight and request a voucher for the room and meals.
Because we were forced to stay in London, we then had to go to through customs and immigration and get our bags, etc. Thankfully, British Airways stored our luggage for us during the entire time in London – we did pull out a few bag that we packed for the week of orientation in Nairobi, though. We finally checked into our hotel which was a three minute walk connected to the airport. We then grabbed some lunch and all took a long nap until dinner time – jet lag had caught up with us. The next morning Tim walked over to the airport to check the status – the Nairobi airport was still closed. They gave us another voucher for the hotel and meals, praise the Lord. We decided to make the most of our time in London, so we took the Underground to London to see some sights later that day. We did this for the next three days we were there and in retrospect are thankful for this “forced vacation.” We did have a little trouble with jet lag – especially the kids. The first day we left for London at 5pm, the next day 3pm, and the next 1pm. Even now, we are slowly adjusting our time clock.
In the end, British Airways paid for our hotel and meals except for the last night. We could have taken a different airline a day earlier, but with our number of bags and kids, we decided to stick with a BA direct flight to Nairobi (8 hours). Our flight was an extra flight to relieve the stranded passengers on both sides. We are so thankful that we were not near the airport when the fire occurred and from what we’ve heard, there were no injuries.
We’ve now spent a week in Nairobi and have begun the process of orientation. We’ve had the meetings, been told what we need to know, but will really be orienting ourselves to life in Kenya over the coming weeks and months. In one sense, we’ve gotten used to living here in Nairobi but will be making another transition as we move to Kijabe on the 21st.
God has been good to us. The last few months have not been easy for our family and even the journey here to Kenya was not what we expected. As I look back over the past two weeks, I can see how God has guided and protected my family and know that He is with us now. We will send out additional blogs to share more about our journey. Thank you very much for reading! We’d love to hear from you and feel free to ask any questions as well.
In His grace,
Maureen for Tim, Luke, and Kate