Dealing With Disappointment (Weekly Ministry Update)

Unfortunately, not all of my ministry updates are filled with wonderful news of great success and accomplishments. Sometimes, the real, hard truth is, that things just didn’t go as planned. Such is the case this week. However, before you read the details of our disappointment, you should know this first: we always do our best to filter everything we do through God’s approval and will, therefore, when a door shuts, we accept it as his will, even if we don’t like it.

Now that the spiritual stuff has been said, here’s what happened. We missed our international flight that left from JFK at 12:20 am Tuesday morning. We had a 10:00 am flight from Birmingham to JFK on Monday that was scheduled to arrive at JFK by 4:45 pm. That left us with a 7 hour window before our midnight flight. The problem was that there was ice in Charlotte and that’s where our layover was. Our morning flight was cancelled and we were given another flight that would arrive in JFK by 8:00 pm.

We thought that would work out just fine, but once we arrived in Charlotte, our flight was delayed. When we finally boarded, we had to sit on the runway for a couple of hours to wait in line to have our plane de-iced. (For the record, I’m happy they de-iced us and kept us safe!) As a result, we were taxiing into JFK at the exact time that our flight was taxiing out for takeoff. I know that because I called Steve Dixon as soon as we landed. He was on the plane that was headed out. We spoke for about a minute before he had to hang up.

As Steve and his family flew away, our hearts sank. We had just missed our flight to the Philippines. The biggest problem was that we booked the flight from Birmingham to JFK separate from the international flight. Because of that, China Airlines was not required to rebook us. To make matters worse, American Airlines was not at fault either because the delays were weather related. They had done the best they could to get us safely to JFK. Because it was after 1:00 am by the time we got off the plane, the China Airlines personal had all gone home and the offices were closed.

Disappointed, we spent the night in the airport, doing our best to sleep on the hard surface by a big glass window where we found several others doing the same. Yes, that’s April in the picture below, and yes, I’m sure she will kill me for posting this picture.

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The travel lessons I learned

I’M not sure why I always seem to learn lessons the difficult and expensive way, but I do. I learned two lessons about flying this week.

First, it would have been much better to have paid more money and booked my flights all together. That way, if anything happens on any leg of the flights, the airline would have to compensate for it and I wouldn’t be out of luck. Secondly, if I have to book a second flight in order to catch another one, it would be best to fly in the day before. That would, hopefully, allow any flight problems to be worked out in time for the next flight.

Here’s the weird part

When we awoke a few hours later, April and I both had an overwhelming feeling that it was God shutting the door on the trip for us. I don’t know how to explain it other than to tell you that even though we were disappointed, we began to feel a sincere peace about missing the flight. Neither one of us felt the need to stomp our feet with the airlines and try to demand they do something. We were sensing that God had done this and he wanted us to be okay with it. So we are.

If I have learned anything over the years, it would be to not kick down doors that God has shut. Or, as my friend Antonio says, “don’t try to crawl through the window either!” A good pastor friend of mine called me that morning and offered to purchase new tickets for us to take another flight. However, even with that generous offer, we didn’t have any peace about continuing. Even though we were disappointed and could have made something work with that generous offer, we felt it would have been going against what God was speaking to our hearts. Actually, when we received that offer, and still sensed that we shouldn’t go, it re-confirmed that God had shut the door for us.

We have been tempted to ask why. To be truthful, I am wondering that even now. But in the end, we are called to trust and obey, not figure it out. So, we are trusting and obeying the best we can.

The Dixon’s

I am extremely thankful that the Dixon family made it safely all the way to the Philippines. Steve, his wife Rebekah, and their sons Ben and Dylan are there now and doing great. Steve is one of my best friends and I was really looking forward to spending time with him on this trip.

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They hit the ground running when they arrived and have already taken part in the street ministry. Their youngest son, Dylan, pictured below, fit right in playing with the children who live on the streets.

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Steve is a Board of Directors member for Unsheltered International so it is good for him to be there observing the daily ministry and helping out. He is also looking at some land and will possibly meet with an archeticht to discuss some building possibilities for phase one of our project to rescue children from the streets.

Please pray for wisdom for Steve as he now will have to do these things alone. Also, pray that the Lord would really speak to and through his family while they are there. He will be preaching several times over the next few days.

In closing

Thanks for supporting us when everything works out AND when things don’t. Lot’s of you have sent us messages of encouragement in the last two days and we are very grateful for each of them. It’s pretty awesome to know that your supporters support you at all times.

God bless,

Travis