Traveling overseas is always a pain…especially when you’re dealing with several different airlines, different climates, different baggage weight limits, exhaustion and a host of other irritants. You know, little things like 50ish hours without real sleep. Or passing out for a few minutes here and there and inevitably doing the broken neck, bobble head move that causes everyone seated around you in the plane to try smothering the laughs. Or running through crowds of people in shorts and flip-flops, sweating in the sweater, boots and jeans you’re wearing because your last layover was in really cold place.
But there can be good as well. Like meeting interesting people or blessings in 23KG suitcases.
It went down like this. The first two airlines I flew to get to Australia allowed me to carry two 50lb/23kg bags. So I had my personal stuff in one suitcase, another suitcase full of gifts or stuff I was carrying back for other missionaries and then a surf board for my boss’ son that I agreed to carry and picked up in Los Angeles. When I landed my sweaty self at the Air Nuigini counter in Australia to deposit my maxed out bags and collect my boarding pass for my flight into New Guinea, I suddenly realized Air Nuigini was only going to allow me 23KG TOTAL. Meaning I had double the weight limit PLUS a third piece. And each extra KG was only $21 USD. Yikes.
The woman sympathetically asked me if I could get rid of anything, but I’d already removed a lot of stuff I was wanting to bring over so that I could stay at the weight limits. I’d only packed one bag of stuff for myself anyway and half of that was my clothes and toiletries! And I definitely couldn’t get rid of the stuff I was carrying for everyone else, so I took some stuff out of my suitcase to shove into my already-heavy carry on and then handed over my credit card. I walked away from the counter about $421 dollars and 60KGs lighter.
I prayed silently for God’s help as I hurried toward customs and security. The woman had informed me that more than likely I’d have to pay again when I boarded my next plane for Wewak. Can you imagine paying $842 dollars in a span of several hours just to get your two suitcases? So ridiculous. And painful. How was I going to afford close to $1,000 dollars?!
When I arrived in New Guinea, I went through customs, then proceeded to wait for my bags. I collected the surf board and then my personal suitcase rather quickly. I waited with the crowd for my last bag …but it never came. Waves of new luggage emerged on the conveyor belt every now and then but, no bag. The crowd thinned out and then disappeared except for a handful of guys whose bags hadn’t appeared either. I started to feel a hint of worry as an airport official came over with a stack of forms, then suddenly realized God had answered my prayer! He’d temporarily “lost” my bag so that I wouldn’t have to pay again! At that moment, I knew the bag with everyone’s stuff would be just fine and that I’d see it tomorrow…taking the two bags I had left, I headed towards the next ticket counter. Because the surfboard was so light, they let the extra weight slide, and I walked away without paying an extra penny.
My missing and heavy bag arrived on tonight’s flight free of charge and I just got done sorting through it.
Pretty cool, eh? God’s got our backs. Just had to share!