Hope you all had an enjoyable Christmas time and New Year celebration!
This one is going to be a long one but we had to fit in certain details to tell our crazy 2010 Christmas adventure.
Ryan and I had a great time being back in the States...once we finally made it there:) We seemed to have the worst luck with flights this trip. Our flight was scheduled to leave early morning on Sunday the 19th of December. Ryan had a game Saturday night and straight after we carpooled to the airport with a couple other teammates. There had been snow all Friday night into Saturday afternoon till about 3 pm so we figured our Sunday morning flight would be safe getting out; especially since there was only about 6 inches on the ground in London.
To make a long story short we spent the night in the airport with thousands of others sprawled out on the ground only to find out the next morning that airport was shut down, the runways hadn't been cleared and our flight was cancelled all for 6 inches of snow. We retell the story now with a laugh but at the time it was not funny...not one bit!
After hours of waiting in a line that wasn't moving to reschedule our flight we decided to take the train back from London to Leicester which also turned out to be a very cold and stressful adventure. We had no idea what we were doing so we spent a lot of time wandering around freezing train stations, putting on whatever extra warm clothes we had in our bags, and asking train station workers to point us in the right direction, but they ended up sending us on a wild goose chase.
Once we arrived home almost 24 hrs later from our initial departure we spent what seemed to be endless hours on the phone and the internet for the next best flight out of this (what we thought at the time) God-Forsaken country. (We don't really think this about England, we were just extremely home-sick and exhausted from being awake for over 40 hours). We finally rescheduled a flight to arrive in the States Wednesday the 22nd which included a trip in the opposite direction and another night spent in an airport in Zurich, Switzerland before we could reach American soil.
Now with our time being cut short in Philly, we were really disappointed.
At this time these are all the things running through our heads:
-Our trip was cut from 9 days to 6 days.
-We were going to miss the only chance to see Ryan's little brother play his high school basketball game.
-We were going to miss the Sight and Sound play "The Miracle of Christmas" which was a gift to us from Ryan's parents for Christmas.
Needless to say, we were glad to be going home for whatever time we had but a bit discouraged about the whole thing.
Well, we made it home and had a relaxing evening with Ryan's family Wednesday night. To our surprise, Ryan's mom was able to reschedule the play for Thursday afternoon (one of our concerns for the trip had been "solved"). Sight and Sound is a theatre in Lancaster, PA. They do Christian productions of stories from the Bible. The play was really great and it put us in the Christmas spirit. Christmas Eve and Christmas Day were typical days spent with family. Church services, lots of good food, lots of laughter and lots of gift giving. It was good to be home!
At this point, time was already running short and we were scheduled to see the New Yorkers (Ryan's Dad's side), but news of a big snow storm in the northeast was threatening that part of our trip too...another disappointment. The storm came and prevented us from seeing the New Yorkers on Sunday the 27th and our itinerary had us leaving the 28th to get back for Ryan's practice on the 29th. New York got hit with almost 2ft. of snow and we woke up the 28th to a text from our airline saying our flight was cancelled. Now, you would think this would be another moment of disappointment, but when we announced it to the family that we wouldn't be leaving that day the house erupted with a loud cheer!
Again, after spending hours on the phone with our airline, we found out the next possible flight was not until Friday the 31st. This meant that Ryan would be missing four practices before we got back to England, but two of our other concerns had been "solved". Our trip now went from 6 days back to 9 days and we would get to see Ryan's brother play 2 basketball games instead of none. But with great excitement also came dismay. You see....we also had a scheduled flight from England to Belfast, Ireland to spend New Years with Johnny and Jenny McLaughlin, our friends from Master's. We did everything we could to rearrange that flight so we could still see them but to no avail. Once we figured out we couldn't see them, we again decided to call the airline and change our flight to stay longer in Philly, giving us another 3 days and a chance to see the New York family! We spent New Year's Eve in Philly watching a great firework show and New Year's Day in New York watching football and hanging with the family.
Besides not making it to Ireland and Ryan's missed practices, our trip to America turned out better than planned.
The first 3 months of our time here we feel that the Lord has been teaching us to trust in Him in all circumstances of our lives. We've been learning this for the big picture of our lives, like what the Lord will provide for Ryan's basketball career, what He will allow me to be involved in wherever we go and how He will use each of us in each place. But what the Lord gave to us over Christmas was two weeks worth of examples of why He is trustworthy and in control of the smaller picture as well as the big picture. We have been learning that God's promise to us, as shown in His Word, is that He will do EVERYTHING for our good and for His glory. There were times over our Christmas trip where we were foolish enough to think that our plan was better than the plan He had for us. But He showed us that His plan was better than what we originally set out to do. With a short-term lesson like that from God, we have no cause for worry about what He has for us in our future.
By the way, after we came back to England we found out Ryan didn't miss any practices because the club could not find a place to train over the Christmas break (another answer from the Lord)!