My Trip to Ghana: Discomfort, Delays, and Deliverance

I shared with you a few of the details from my experiences in the West African country of Ghana. I’m going to conclude today by sharing with you some of the eventful experiences that transpired. There is no need to reiterate the things I shared with you in last week’s column. In today’s piece, I will briefly share three interlocking experiences that unfolded in sequence capturing and defining both agony and jubilation in regard to my trip to Ghana.

Discomfort and Debilitation
I cannot tell you when and where I contracted the COVID-19 virus because I was in so many congested and crowded environments like airports, aboard jumbo jet passenger planes, hotels, and even assemblies at church. However, what I had been able to escape (ever since the virus was detected to be the deadly killer that it was in America) finally overtook me in Ghana.
Though I would not know for certain that it was COVID-19 until I arrived back home to Dillon. The discomforting and debilitating effect that it wreaked upon my body caused me to be physically unable to minister on the Friday and Saturday sessions.
Instead, I stayed in my room and did the best I could to recuperate by resting and taking some over the counter medications that I always carry with me when I travel. In all the years that I have been going on these missionary journeys throughout much of the globe, I have never experienced the debilitating and draining of strength like I did during this mission.

One of the things that will linger in my memory about my trip to Ghana were the delays. The first delay took place on the evening that we were scheduled to leave from Accra International Airport on Monday, August 1, 2022.
Once we (more than 300 passengers) had been seated on this huge Boeing jumbo jet that was scheduled to take off and go to Kennedy International Airport in New York City, I settled back in my first-class seat and fasten my seat belt. To my surprise and utter disappointment, we were told that due to some technical problems with the plane (that Delta’s mechanics and special technicians were endeavoring to rectify), there would be a time delay for our takeoff. When thirty minutes turned into an hour delay, they finally gave us the bad news. The pilot drove the big jumbo jet that was full back to the gate. The announcement came over the intercom that we were going to have to disembark from the plane. The delay would be an overnight delay that necessitated the airline to put all its passengers in a hotel. Having to spend an extra night in Ghana was very disappointing to me because I was eager to get back home and witness the birth of my second grandchild (who was scheduled to be born on Tuesday, August 2, 2022). However, the delay was God sent and I had rather been delayed than to have risked the plane crashing in the Atlantic Ocean. The next day, we were all packed on buses and taken to the airport where we finally were able to leave for Kennedy International Airport. After a long ten-hour flight, we finally arrived in New York. Thank God for the opportunity to go to Ghana to do the Lord’s work, but I was glad to be back on American soil (for there is truly no place like home).
Due to a passport discrepancy, I was delayed for about thirty minutes at Customs and Border Control. When it was finally corrected, I connected back with my traveling partner and we went to the Delta gate and sent our luggage to our destination in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Being told by the Delta agent at the desk that our old boarding passes were still relevant, we went to the gate where our flight was scheduled to leave for Myrtle Beach. To my utter dismay, the woman at the gate allowed my partner (who had to be carried on by a wheelchair) to enter the plane but told me that my boarding pass was not registering on their computer. After failing to convince her that it was one of their ticket agents who told us that my boarding pass did not need to be changed, as well as the fact that my traveling partner (who had a boarding pass like mine) was already on the plane, she would not let me board the plane. I told her to send and quickly bring my partner back because we needed to travel together.

When we finally were able to catch a flight to Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, we arrived too late to make our connection for Myrtle Beach.
Once again, we were delayed and sent to quite a few gates where we were met with more delays and disappointments. They finally gave us a choice to be put up in a hotel and leave out the next day at 12:40 p.m. for Myrtle Beach. When my traveling partner’s cell phone (e-mail) would not receive the hotel registration, we resolved that for some reason, unbeknown to us, God wanted us to spend the night in the airport.
Once we accepted our dilemma as being controlled by the Lord, we did the best we could to adjust to our very uncomfortable situation.
A big, burly, and bearded young white man came to our gate and sat across from us about 3:00 p.m. After sleeping on the floor, he got up and I initiated a conversation with him. After I tactfully shared and explained John 3:16 to him, I invited him to accept Christ as his Lord and Savior and he did! Now that he was saved, we directed him back to the right concourse where he would find the right gate.
Amazingly, after this, both the pilot and crew showed up. The pilot wanted to know what was going on that they had to wake him up at 4:00 a.m. to get to the gate where we were, so that he could pilot a big jumbo Airbus to Myrtle Beach.
Both the crew and the pilot were astounded that they would send a big passenger jet with only four passengers to Myrtle Beach. They all said that they had never seen anything like this before. They were so amazed that the pilot took a picture of me, my traveling partner, and two women (who were passengers) along with the crew standing behind us. One of the crew members said, “It is as if you all are flying in your own private plane.” I’m convinced that God was in complete control of all the delays, inconveniences, and directing of Kyle (whose name means church) to our gate. Now he was granting us some comfort and convenience for our hardship and obedience.

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