Coming Home

Our group started getting smaller on Friday when one member stayed in Manila while the rest of us headed to Seoul.  Early Monday morning, one member had to leave an hour earlier than the rest of us….then we were a team of 4, navigating the Seoul airport….my bags were searched and then rescanned…all of our bags (all passengers) were inspected again just before we boarded the plane…bless Kit’s heart, she was pulled aside for an additional pat-down…but her positive attitude kept us happy.  We all agreed that with the latest overseas embassy attacks, we don’t mind being searched.   Upon arrival in Atlanta after a 14 hour flight, we waited for Customs, immigration, bag check and bag transfer, then security. We took the train to our gates ..Kit, Bobbi and Meredith’s flights departed from a different gate than mine, so we waved goodbye as the train left the station.  My flight was on time, but slow to load because of a delay for our flight attendants’ prior flight.  I smiled when the announcer said, “ladies and gentlemen, we’re missing a flight attendant and will begin boarding soon.”. I said aloud, “is she hiding under the seats?”. And a nearby passenger awaiting a different flight erupted into laughter.  At that moment, I thought, it’s good to be on home soil, a stranger caught the joke. 

A few moments later, that same passenger said, “holy cow, it’s pouring down rain.”. I said, “planes have windshield wipers”. He asked, “aren’t you scared?”. I said, “no.  All is well.  We left Korea in worse weather and a typhoon headed toward us.”. He said, “but the runway is slick and cars hydroplane”. I said, “that’s the difference between cars and planes.  God made planes with wings to fly.”.

His tension eased and when I turned around, he was gone. 

I slept on the flight to Charlotte and saw my checked bag on the conveyor belt with no problem.  Jim picked me up a few moments later and we headed home.  I slept like a rock for 3 hours, had a bite to eat and then slept again…hopefully, around 2 a.m., I’ll get sleepy again. 

Thank you again for all of your thoughts, prayers and kind comments.  It has been a joy to share our Ubuntu Journey to the Philippines with you.  More pictures will be posted as they are made available and as we each continue the mission outreach with our sisters in the Philippines. 

If you are interested in being part of the 2013 journeys to Chile, South Korea or Zimbabwe, please go to the United Methodist Women’s Division home page and search Ubuntu.

May you continue to be a blessing to others. 

Janet Morgan
Western North Carolina Conference
Ubuntu Philippines 2012

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Travel Day ..Charlotte to Atlanta

Packed bags? Check.
Last minute change in suitcase due to broken handle?  Check.
Dinner & movie evening with hubby and the dogs? Check. 

Passport, boarding passes..check, check.

Driving before dawn to the airport and saying last goodbyes..check.

Checking bags, passport and TSA security…check.

Smiling when the TSA agent sounded more like a drill sergeant..check (everything out of your pockets, no belts, no shoes, no wallets, hold your paper money in your hands, put your passport and boarding passes in your bag, no gels, laptop in a separate bin)
…made it through in record time…check.

Witnessed meltdowns?  Check …one was a 2 year old who didn’t want his stuffed animal and cars to go on the belt….and another was a lady at the gate saying she couldn’t miss this flight after the door closed.  It will all be ok.  She was booked on the next flight. 

I’ll be boarding my flight soon and will meet my east coast sisters/teammates in Atlanta. 

It’s a 36 hour travel to the other side of the world.  People all around me at this very moment are waiting.  Romans 8:26-28 “Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping is along.  If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter.  He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans.  He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our…condition, and keeps us present before God.  That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.” (The Message translation)

Be blessed,
Janet

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Meeting a U.S. Ubuntu Sister

For me, this week included travel vaccines and an opportunity to meet my Ubuntu roommate, Meredith. 

My arms are still a bit tender from the three shots earlier in the week.  Meredith and I met at a Cracker Barrel restaurant for brunch and seemed to hit it off immediately.  Meredith’s experience as part of prior mission trips helped put me at ease and we found ourselves laughing for over an hour during our meal of fried eggs and coffee.  I’ve never been out of the country and I know that this is a wonderful opportunity. 

To say, “it’s as if we’ve been old friends” would be too cliché.  I know in my heart that it is all part of the connection of the Methodist church and the United Methodist Women. We both have our own stories and are so excited to learn from our Philippine sisters about issues in their communities;  to be a part of this team sharing in their joys and their sorrows. 

This mission is about building relationships, ties, bonds and friendships with those from other cultures, other countries and sharing those experiences back home.  We each go representing our home churches, communities, and conferences…learning differences from each other and sharing an unconditional love and hope. 

Meredith and I discussed our packing strategies and expressed the same sentiment about the 14 hour flight to circumnavigate the globe, “what do you do for 14 hours?” I’m packing a good book, some embroidery floss, a sudoku book, a change of clothes and a lot of patience. 

Flexibility and patience are key traits for traveling …. along with a hearty dose of laughter.  Those of you who know me will probably say, “well, the laughter will be in abundance with Janet.” The seriousness of some of the conference issues, including human trafficking, is no laughing matter.  The reality and sobriety of women’s issues can weigh heavily on our souls…it is through the depths of these sorrows that we fully appreciate the joys of blessings and can laugh in spite of ourselves. 

Meredith and I parted lunch having put a face with a name, a mutual understanding of our responsibilities and excited anticipation of our upcoming mission in less than a month. 

We know that our Ubuntu sisters in the States and in the Philippines are making similar preparations.  Prayers go out to our families, church members, friends and coworkers as we make preparations for travel.

Janet