Notice I skipped day 3. Due to crossing the international date line, we flew through Monday, Day 3. We got on a plane at 11:00 a.m. on Sunday and walked off at 9:30 p.m. on Monday.
We woke up early due to jet lag, got a Philippine breakfast in our little hotel and packed up to take a wild ride in a 6-seated car to the Embassy. The cars and motorcycles are thick and just plain scary to travel through. We made it to the embassy just as it opened and there was already a line. I’m glad we left early. It took four hours, trying to communicate with someone hard to understand behind plexiglass, meeting with the head consulate, who I communicated with via e-mail from the air, leaving to go get supplemental photos, paying money, grabbing something to eat, and . . . of course . . . waiting. We were finally handed all of our passports with visas attached! We did it, we had our Visas! Now we had another problem. Tickets.
We had to book new tickets. Getting visas allowed us to book a ticket, but the next Philippine Airline flight that we could get on was not until Thursday night. That would allow us only two days in the village. The rest of the group returned to the hotel while Jay and I took a separate taxi to the airport to plead our case. We needed another miracle.
That miracle came in the name of Ron, our travel agent with Menno Travel. He was just waking up on his Tuesday morning in the USA with a slew of emails and text messages from me begging for his help. He got on it right away. An hour later, Ron notified me that he was able to not only book us on a flight to Port Moresby leaving on Wednesday night, but he was also able to book us on a tight-turn-around domestic flight to Wewak landing there at 11:15 a.m on Thursday! That meant we were going to make our MAF flight to the village!
I called the group together, shared the news and we spent some time praying and thanking God for this. We are now completely back on track. There’s still a lot that could happen that is out of our control, (flight delays, mechanical problems, bats on the runway, a storm- all of which is common in PNG) but as it stands, we will be in Hauna by the end of the day on Thursday.
So, here’s the plan. We will board a flight to PNG leaving at 9:25 p.m. from Manila. We’ll fly through the night and land at Port Moresby at 5:00 a.m. We’ll have an hour and 40 minutes to get through immigration and over to the domestic terminal where we’ll fly to Madang and then to Wewak. Madang is a coastal town where the bats are. They call them “Flying Foxes” over here. These bats have a six-foot wing span and the body is literally the size of a small fox. They don’t mix with airplanes.
We land at Wewak at 11:15. We will not leave the airport and instead carry all of our luggage to the MAF hanger. Then we will repack on the tarmac. We will take enough clothes and supplies for two days in the village. We’ll board the MAF flight, fly to the Ambunti grass air strip and embark on a five-hour canoe ride to the village, arriving after dark. Meanwhile, our luggage, cargo and the food will travel four hours by truck, and then another 10-12 hours by canoe to the village.
So, for all of you who have gotten wind of this wild and crazy ride we’re on, thank you for praying for us! As it stands right this minute, we’re back on track, back on time, and waiting to see what God has in store for us next. Please continue to pray for us as we still have a long way to go.