We touched down safe in Los Angeles last night at LAX. Luke’s first flight was a success! We beat our schedule and landed before nightfall by about thirty minutes, then we caught a shuttle to pick up our rental car (it was cheaper than getting a shuttle from LAX to Ontario airport), and Bryan drove us around for a bit so we could see the city at night. We had a meal at In-N-Out in Hollywood, and tried to get what sleep we could in the night.
In the morning, Bryan drove us down to Malibu and Luke and I saw the Pacific for the first time. It felt strange to know that no one in my direct ancestral line that I know of ever saw the Pacific, but Luke did beat me to be the first to touch it. Lord willing, we will be seeing the Pacific for the first time from the other side tomorrow.
We are all in good spirits, and there has been a lot of laughter the past 28 hours or so since we started this journey. It was an emotional send off for Paula when she and Laurie dropped us off at the airport in Austin – the day we get back, she will have to drive Luke to Lubbock to move him into his dorm at LCU. We just found out the night before we left, that as an athlete, his move in day is earlier than we had been planning. Suddenly, she lost the last five nights of her oldest child at home which she had been planning on having. Being with him for the next two planned weeks, I am feeling a twinge of guilt at the blessing it is for me under these circumstances.
We are currently about 1/3 of the way into a 13 hour flight. The China Airlines plane we are on still almost has that new plane smell, and the service has been excellent. Even better, the flight is only about 50% full, so Bryan and I have a four seat row to ourselves, and Luke and Jake have the same two rows in front of us – our flight attendants were kind enough to set it up for us this way, even though we were ticketed in the same row originally.
I can’t believe the deal we were able to get that Bryan worked to find for us. Our first plane, that we tried to book on another airline never got ticketed. We were concerned that would mean our prices would be going up. We met with Ken for some advice, and he prayed with us about it. The next morning this plane opened up as a new flight for an even lower price. The only downside was that we were going to be leaving LA at 4pm instead of 9am like our original flight (the original reason we booked the first leg with an overnight to save $1000 per ticket), and we have an overnight layover in Taipei. We were supposed to be in Manilla after 11pm Sunday night, but now we arrive at 9:30am on Monday. All in all, I believe this arrangement has turned out to be much better. We were able to get Luke a first flight, and time to wind down and absorb that experience before jumping on this long haul. Getting to Manilla after 11pm may have been imposing on our guests more than necessary, and the 9:30am seems to be just right after all.
Please continue to keep us in your prayers. We are ready to be useful however we might to God’s glory and not our own. I am so looking forward to seeing the faces of all the people we feel like we know, even though we have never seen one another face-to-face.
Watching Luke and Jake this last day, has made me proud, and I know Bryan feels the same way.
Right now, I am so thankful for all the people who have helped us along our way. Many helped us by giving to fund our travel. Many have been so encouraging, and of course we have so many who we know are continuing to pray for us. Thank you.