Let us never grow tired of doing for others and serving God.
~Major Migdalia Lavenbein
I’m finally here and boy what an adventure it has already been! You know it just couldn’t be simple when I’m involved. It has been quite the journey so far.
We arrived early Saturday to the airport with my 3 large suitcases, plus 1 carry on and my backpack. They tell you to arrive 3 hours prior to your flight for international flights. Imagine my shock when we arrive only to discover that the airline (no real names will be used to protect the identity of those parties involved) I’m traveling with doesn’t open for business until 4:30.
I walk up to the security check point line and it seems to wrap around about 100 times. It takes me about an hour to get through and not without complication.
I place all my items on the belt. I help the mom in front of me who forgets that she has items on the belt. My turn comes up and they trick me! They call me through – not to say you get to go on your merry way – but to say that I am about to get a pat down. I got a for real honest-to-goodness pat down. In. My. Uniform. I proceed through the remainder of the check point feeling slightly horrified, without a thank you. In fact I didn’t even know the agent’s name. When what to my wondering eyes do I see? My carry-on bag is missing!!! OMG…I think to myself, someone has taken my bag. Suddenly I hear a TSA officer say “miss, I’m going to have to search your bag.”
Right there for the whole entire airport to see he pulled out my STUFF! Like all of it. I then felt compelled to explain why I had certain personal items, because you don’t bring pretty stuff to do a medical mission in Honduras. You wear comfortable practical clothing. He then felt bad for dumping my business out. He swabbed and hastily stuffed my carry on and told me to have a great trip. Embarrassed ,but undeterred I continue to my gate.
After a running through the airport in uniform, I made it to the gate. When got onboard the flight attended disclosed to me she had such a love for The Salvation Army. She asked what was taking me to Honduras. When I told her she was so moved by our deep love and compassion for others. She was incredibly kind to me during the flight.
I can’t help but feel humbled by the privilege I have to serve.
I can’t help but feel humbled by the privilege I have to serve. The Salvation Army is on the forefront of serving those in the greatest need in 127 countries. I am honored to be part of a organization, a church who makes a difference.
While flying from Atlanta to Honduras I hit the gold of all seat mates. You’ll see in my selfie Ms. Dubbie and Ms. Suzanna, who is 83 years young! They were the most beautiful ladies ever with amazing stories about their home country. Upon discussing my trip they became very concerned. They asked if I was alone. I told them that I was traveling with a team. They said we don’t see anyone else on this plane dressed like you. I assured them that that someone would be at the airport waiting for me. I was really hoping that was true since Captain Omar (my colleague and fellow officer on this trip from Greater Philadelphia) and I ended up not being on the same flight out of Philadelphia. They became very concerned for my safety and warmed me about the dangers of their country. Finally they asked “Are those the only clothes you wear? We don’t wear stockings in this country, honey.” They also told me I might want to ditch my heels.
Their kindness towards me, a total stranger, reminded me how often people need someone to show them kindness. These ladies touched my heart beyond what words could express.
We have spent the evening sorting through all the donations that team members brought. It was quite the task. I’m grateful for each of you my family, friends, neighbors, church, staff, city operations, DHQ, and my teens who lovingly gave for the people of Honduras. Your kindness towards strangers, people who you don’t know and will never meet will touch their lives. Let us never grow tired of doing for others and serving God. Heart to God and a hand to man!
Sunday, we have church and then depart on our first medical mission, to set up and operate a clinic in the afternoon. I exhausted and excited to share my stories with you over the next week!