As soon as we reached the airport from the coach, we made for the airline desk and found we were able to check in and get our boarding passes for the morning’s flight. That saved us a good hour of extra ‘sleep in’ time and what was to have been a 3.30am wake up call! After checking in to the hotel we did a quick ‘re-pack’ of our bags - we tried to put equal weight in each to save any problems at weigh in the next morning, then in the early evening after a short walk from the hotel we found a typical English ‘pub’ and had a nice meal before settling back in our room for the night.
After boarding the shuttle bus from the hotel, we made it in very good time to the airport by about 4.45am. Our bags checked in, we had plenty of time to make for the departure gate at 6.30am. It was rather sad to be leaving England - we’d had a marvellous time there - but we were excited about meeting the family again. It had been some years since we had all met and we were so looking forward to catching up with our grandchildren and with the new puppy addition to their family.
We had a long day of flying ahead of us. From London Heathrow, our next stop was Frankfurt, Germany. Our flight was very smooth and we landed in Frankfurt on time. Because it was still so early in the day, with few shops even open, we made our way to the departure gate to wait. And wait we did. Our boarding time came and went, and so did our departure time. Eventually we were loaded on to the plane an hour and a half late. We were soon told the reason - the smoke and ash from the volcano in Iceland had begun to create havoc with air traffic - planes were being diverted and consequently late in arriving at their destination. We were so fortunate we were able to leave when we did - we saw the dirty brown ash line as we flew south of England and on towards the USA. Our next stop was Los Angeles where we had to clear Customs and Immigration before we could board a domestic flight to Texas and because of our late departure, we were very much afraid we would miss our connecting flight. However, all went well and we were able to reach our departure terminal without further problems. We arrived in Texas on time but feeling very weary - it had been about 27 hours since we had left London - but even the heavy rain falling couldn’t dampen our feelings of excitement in meeting our family again.
Our DIL Rachel had made arrangements for me to go with her and some friends to a Womens Bible Conference being held in North Austin. We were to overnight at an hotel to save travelling once the Friday night session had finished and so the next morning I found myself packing my small cabin bag again with what I would need for the next couple of days. Lisa had already picked up Liz when she called for us in her vehicle and the four of us set off, excited about hearing speakers who were coming from California. It was a pleasant drive and although showery, the temperature was comfortable - which was rather enjoyable after the cooler UK days. Sheri Silk and Kim Walker-Smith were exciting speakers and kept the attention of the women during their sessions. Kim, a multi-talented young woman was the guest soloist on the Friday night and all who were there were thrilled at not only her voice but her Spirit-filled presence in praise and worship. Getting back to the hotel at the close of the session, it seemed rather strange to be sleeping in a room with three other women but the Lord took care of all the details and I think we all got our fair share of sleep without disturbance from any stray snores!
Rachel & me
Breakfast at the hotel then a ‘high maintenance’ call to a popular coffee shop to ensure we all were ‘wide awake’ and ready for the day. Another talented soloist, Bethany Martin accompanying herself on the piano, brought us into the Lord’s presence ready to worship. All too soon it was over - animated discussion while travelling back held our attention and in no time it seemed we were back to our family and catching up with what they had done while we’d been away. It was only just over 24 hours since we’d left but much ‘God Glorifying’ had been packed into those hours. I was so very grateful I had been asked to go - thanks Rachel, Lisa and Liz!