Travelling to Christchurch airport with the grey drizzle outside for our 1pm departure my phone suddenly rings. “Mitch, the plane is delayed 2-hours, we’re now leaving at 3pm” Quickly I calculated that that still gave us a margin of an hour in transit in Nadi before we need to catch our connecting flight to Suva. ‘Should be Ok’, I ponder as we meet up with everyone else at check-in, “we’ll have to tough it out and hope the plane arrives on time, came my soothing words of fading leader confidence!”
But I spoke too soon.
3pm departure loomed closer, only to be dashed with the revelation that departure was now delayed till 4.30pm; and fog was descending around the airport. Would our plane actually land?
Shocked and disappointed, the mission had been grounded before it had taken off!
Now, if the in-bound plane arrives, its too late to connect with a flight to Suva. Looks like 17 Golden Oldies stranded in Nadi at 9pm on a Sunday night was the new scenario.
Not sure where God is in all this!
Furthermore, we have our oldest member meeting us in Nadi, having travelled from Auckland, and she will be stranded there on her own! Its all going a bit pear-shaped. How can we turn this around? Plan B is becoming replaced with about Plan D for Disaster!!
Slowly the fog lifts, we secure beds in a hotel overnight in Nadi, reschedule our Nadi-Suva flight for 6.00am today!, our wonderful Fijian family arrange to get our ‘stranded Nadi Golden Oldie’ arrange to get her on the plane, and then our Fiji Airlines planes lands to joyous rapture. We depart ‘on-time’ at 4.30pm and arrive to a warm 26C in Nadi at 8.30pm, with another shock imminent.
An announcement over the public speaker system sends us into confusion.
The Nadi-Suva domestic flight has been delayed to await the arrival of the Golden Oldies from Christchurch! Suddenly the team are herded through customs to the domestic terminal with the plane is waiting on the tarmac for the team. We discover later this flight was delayed 1.5 hours, and Suva airport was directed to remain open beyond closing time by Air Traffic control for this flight to be able to proceed. Even experienced Fijian Air ground staff are surprised.
The 17 Golden Oldies touchdown miraculously in Suva, including our other ‘stranded’ Nadi member. Unbelievable! How did that happen? Maybe there is a God out there that still does miracles and is in control of everything. Amazed and in awe of what has suddenly occurred we board our bus, still dumbfounded! And in response, impromptu songs of praise of thanksgiving begin as the bus shakes and rattles its way to the Bible College.
hat a joy to be back in this beautiful country amongst the warmth of the Fijian people.
Today the Golden Oldies are off to walk through squatter and slum settlement, viewing housing projects, and are guests for lunch at the ‘Tin Cathedral’.