We are SO excited to be here! We have arrived safely at the base here in Zambia after a long three days of travel. We slept in Orlando on Commissioning night, then we were able to check our bags early around 10:30 the next morning without any problems, and they even gave Thomas and Jackie a couple bags without charge, along with a team member’s guitar. We thought our flight had been changed to the morning around 11, but it was still at the original time in the afternoon; they let us check our bags several hours early anyway. They said our duffels would go all the way to Zambia which is obviously a great relief to the team! We flew to Miami, then flew out again a couple hours later to London. It was a long flight, but the team enjoyed it and we got there without any complications. We spent about six hours in London, walking around and getting food and resting. The flight to Nairobi was good, although the team did not sleep because of jet lag even though it was an overnight flight.
I think we were all in culture shock when we got to Nairobi, and it hit us that we were actually in Africa. The only people on the team that have been to Africa before are the Kabwatas, so it was new to all of us. We were getting some strange looks in the airport when we were walking back and forth to the bathroom and taking up half the hallway with our carryons. We waited a couple hours for our flight to Lusaka, and when we started going through security, we noticed quickly that the lady at the counter was checking the boarding passes, and having a few people step aside due to complications with the seats. The team started going through, with Thomas at the front and me (Cheyenne) at the back as usual, and we were getting through okay until the last few of us, and she told the five of us to step aside and wait with the others who had complications. It was Trevor Capener, Cassia Lebrecque, Hannah Nolan, Caitlin Dewlen and me. Everyone else went through security until I could no longer see the rest of the team at all. The lady at the counter kindly informed us that there were complications with the first aircraft, so they had a second one, and the second one was smaller than the first which meant that the seats were double booked and we lost ours. She said we would be on a later flight that afternoon and that we would get free breakfast in the meantime. All I wanted was to talk to TK and see what he wanted to do, so I asked the man at the counter and he said it was too late, they had already boarded the plane and everything. So I took a deep breath and pulled myself together because there wasn’t anything else I could do. As soon as I had gotten to the Nairobi airport in the beginning, God gave me the verse, “God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of sound mind.” So when I realized I was going to be stranded in this African airport as the only leader with these team members, I reminded myself of the power within me and that I have no reason to be afraid whatsoever. I just had to follow the signs and get on the right plane at the right time. So we got our flight transfered and got new boarding passes, had free breakfast, all the while this 17 year old guy named Jack from London who had been on our same flights was hanging around with us, and we kind of took care of him since he was a little tipsy from the flight and he was traveling alone. We brought up Jesus a couple times with him, but he was pretty hung up and didn’t have much of an attention span no matter what we talked about. He knew we were Christians and he tried his best to use a filter on his foul mouth while he was in front of us, so I suppose we made some sort of an impression on him. Anyway, we waited for about five hours for our flight to Lusaka, and we made it safely. We got in line for our visas, and that is when it hit me that we didn’t have anything for our visas, just our passports. I only had my spending money with me and that was it! I figured TK would be there waiting for us, but he was nowhere in sight. So I prayed that TK would show up real soon to rescue me from these Zambian men at the customs counter, and as soon as I did, I saw him on the other side. I was flooded with relief when he came and took over and we got through in a jiffy with our visas no problem. We said goodbye to our friend Jack, got our duffels from our flight (about fourteen of them), and we went with TK to the mall in Lusaka where the rest of the team had gone to shop and exchange money, and we were finally reunited. All in all, it was definitely a learning experience and it very well strengthened my faith in the Lord, and I am thankful for what happened. Although it was terrifying in the moment, I had complete peace.
So we exchanged money and Miss Pat got some groceries, and we were off to spend the night in a nearby church. We got there around 8:00PM, and went to bed around 9:00PM. I think we all got some good rest after our four flights and especially being separated as a team. We got up around 4:15AM this morning and started our five hour journey to Ndola. Let me tell you that it was a freezing five hours in the back of that truck, even with all of us piled on top of each other in each of our sleeping bags, whew! It was an adventure to say the least, but it was fun. We arrived at the base around 10:00AM this morning, and received the warmest welcome from the staff and BMWs here, it brought tears to our eyes. TK jumped out of the truck and all of them turned their attention to jump on top of TK whom they had missed so greatly since he had been in the US. After going through boot camp and these long sleepless travel days, it felt like we had all finally come home and it made all of boot camp and travel worth it.
We sat down and talked with Mr. Doug about when and where we will be going to the rescue units, and we talked about expected behavior and dress and communication for the team, and Tk and Jackie were able to catch up a bit with him on what they had missed while being in the US. We praise the Lord for the Petersens and their availability and wonderful communication. We are so thankful for our safe journey to the base from Boot Camp, and we are all so excited for what the Lord has for us here in Zambia. Miss Pat, Miss Barb and I are planning to make a trip into town to get a few things today while TK is here with the team sorting through all the shoes. We are planning to leave here on Friday to go to the first rescue unit in Kansakar, Lord willing.