Home. It can take a while to get there, but how sweet it is! The journey to LA was long. We had our A380 loaded and on the runway in Dubai at 9 am. We taxied into position and were next. Well, not exactly. Lights started flashing in the cockpit and other pilots confirmed their message. We had at least one flat tire, maybe two. That stinks.
Back to the gate.
They can’t fix a flat with a fully loaded plane, so they offloaded some cargo. Yet, no crews were available. Too busy. So, we get to wait. And wait. And wait. Four hours later we were back on the tarmac for our successful launch into the atmosphere. We hadn’t left the plane. Our home for 16 hours was now our home for 20 hours.
But what kept me sane were the thoughts of the medical mission. Especially how it ended on Friday. I couldn’t believe the massive effort the church put in to honor this milestone in the history of the clinic. The closing ceremony was very touching. Let me give you a taste of that afternoon. And remember, all of this speaks to the importance of the medical mission to the life and outreach of the church.
It began with a quick walk out to the road, where, during a light sprinkle, we planted a mango tree, with heavenly showers of blessing. That tree will remind generations to come of what God has done in 10 clinics. The Muslim Mayor of Bombo Town spoke at the tree planting and then at the ceremony which regrouped inside the still unfinished new cathedral.
There were a series of speeches and a time to honor each organization who had sent a team to serve during the clinic. It takes a lot of people to pull this off, no doubt. And then for Peninsula, they had created an original piece of art, which they presented to me. Dr. Popoola received an identical piece for Operation Healthy Africa. I did some research on the piece, and it is done by a prominent Ugandan artist — and it is stunning. In Kampala, I got it wrapped up — twice — and then again at the airport, so it made it home safe and sound, without a scratch. Now we must find it a permanent home!
But that’s not all. Under a smaller tent (dark clouds continued to threaten the event), they had put out probably 15-20 round cakes cascading all over the table. At the appropriate time, they “cut” the central cake. As we counted to 10, sparklers went off in the middle of it all, and after the sparklers, confetti. It was stunning. It was significant. Then they packed up a cake for each of the teams and sent them home with their own cake. It was thoughtful and impressive.
The afternoon began with “To God Be the Glory” and ended with Ugandan dancers — all to the glory of the Savior. Peninsula is making a difference in that little corner of the world. About that, I have no doubt. We must be faithful.