Friday, March 07, 2008

Biloxi, here we come...on Saturday!

Posted by:Mr. Hood and Mrs. Riter

Yesterday was an adventure to say the least. We headed off to the airport at noon and ran into a lot of traffic due to rain storms. Once at the airport the lines were extremely long and I heard the airport had been temporarily closed due to lightning. We got through security without a hitch and headed to E4. People were all over the airport. They changed our gate but other flights kept coming thru and there we waited - watching as other flights left. After a few hours of waiting they announce that our plane is taxing to the gate. People get off and all of a sudden the kiosk says Atlanta and all sorts of people start showing up. The airline announced that as soon as the plane deplaned we would be getting on to go to Biloxi. As they finish deplaning they tell us there is another gate change so back to E4 we go... Where there is once again no plane at the gate. There are planes all over the tarmac just sitting there. No one appears to be moving. By 6:15 we start to board - yippee! This is only 3 hours late. We all get settled and they tell us because of the weather we will be sitting for a little while. At 8:10 they tell us on the plane that we are headed back to the gate. Someone is on the Internet and sees that the status on the flight is cancelled. So we now deplane and head to the ticket counter. The gentleman who had checked us in 7 hours earlier was still working and his jaw hits the floor and he says "not the group!" The flights for tomorrow are totally booked. We tried to go into New Orleans as well, but they were also booked for tomorrow. So the new plan is to fly out on Saturday. We will miss a few days of working but I know somehow the Lord is in this. The students are disappointed but a bunch are having a sleepover tonight. Maybe all of this today was for the Alumni sighting at the airport. We ran into Andrew Robertson- class of 2005 - standing right next to us with his dad as we all waited at one of our gates. Anyway - this gives me another day to fight off this cold and rest. Keep praying for us.

I forgot to tell the part about the rental vans. As we are sitting on the plane waiting to take off I say to Mary who I'm sitting with "let's pray." Of course she says yes and we have an awesome prayer time. While praying the Lord puts it on my heart to call the rental car company and let them know we are running late. When I called they said they closed in 5 minutes. Sorry but they can help us in the morning. I left them a message and hope we can get the vans on Saturday! Mrs. Riter

From Mr. Hood: I must say that it was the craziest start to any of the trips I have been on. Through it all God helped us to be calm - even me! Even when I asked the man behind the counter why the sign just changed from Biloxi to Philadelphia and then it changed the next time from Biloxi to Atlanta!?!? He tried to explain that our plane hadn't arrived yet and other planes needed a gate to depart from - Wow! It was a true building of our patience. The students were incredible as we all had to just sit on the floor for awhile because it was so crowded. They showed tremendous understanding and patience in the midst of a very frustrating time. They did not even complain when we had no dinner until 9:30 pm due to all complications.

We are thankful that God is in control and He knows why we did not need to fly last night. They did have some crazy weather in Biloxi last night with tornado kind of conditions, strong winds, etc... So I say that God was keeping us safe and here we are with a day of rest, ready to go out tomorrow and try again! We will be meeting at the high school at 11:30 am Saturday morning to depart for the airport. Good news from the rental car agency as well: they sound like they will actually have our three vans waiting for us at the airport, which is better than it was before!! Thanks for keeping us in your prayers - Biloxi here we come!! Mr. Hood