India Diary, Last Entry
It is said that “All is well that ends well”. If that’s true, our mission vision trip to India is well. Everyone arrived safely at Charleston International Airport on Wednesday evening at about 8:46. We had been in and around airports for about 35 hours. We were so glad to be home we almost wanted to kiss the ground- not because we were glad to be out of India, but because we did not have another flight to catch or train to ride or taxi to get in.
Arriving in Delhi for our last day in country, we had some sense of relief that our mission was almost complete. We also had some sense of regret that it was over. Emotions as fickle, aren’t they? We shopped and explored the city a bit. We visited the Lotus Temple of the Baha’i faith. It is a pretty modern structure rising in the air resembling a lotus blossom. We went to Delhi’s malls. The three of them are located together. Most modern shops and brands are available in the malls as in a western mall. After showering and last minute packing we headed for the Indira Gandhi International airport. Since we didn’t print our boarding passes, we had a hassle getting into the airport. After some shuffling around, we found a sympathetic officer who allowed us in after we promised to bring him our passes so he could see we actually had tickets.
After waiting in long lines for immigration control, we were able to go to the gate and finally board the plane. It was on time, 12:35 am Delhi time. We arrived in Paris, France, at 5:30 am Paris time. Since our flight to Atlanta wasn’t until 1:30 pm, we decided to go into Paris for a brief look-see. We had talked about this possibility all along, but we had not truly decided until we were there to do it. We are all glad we did. We were able to store our carry-on baggage and get a train into the city. On the train we decided to take the St. Michaels- Notre Dame exit. We then walked a block to the fabulous Notre Dame Cathedral. It is a magnificent building we had seen in pictures. We were awestruck as we entered and explored the building. Afterwards we went to a French restaurant across the street and had breakfast/brunch. That proved to be a great experience. Each of us had wonderful food in a good atmosphere. Our waiter treated us very good. On the way back to the Charles de Gaulle airport, Charlie discovered he had left his phone in the restaurant. He and Carolyn got off the train, went back to the restaurant, and retrieved the phone. The rest of us were anxious for Charlie and Carolyn as the boarding for our flight was about to begin. Charlie and Carolyn arrived just in time. We boarded, got to Atlanta in time to go through customs and passport checks, and arrived at our gate a few minutes before boarding the flight to Charleston.
Many stories and anecdotes could be told. One is about Ron forgetting to place a souvenir knife he purchased in his checked luggage. As his carry-on was checked at the airport in Dharamshala, the knife was discovered by the security. Ron had some explaining to do. He finally was able to put the knife in his checked bag. Or, another is about Carolyn’s fall which she thought broke a bone in her wrist. She was able to get to a medical office for an x-ray. She did not have anything broken. However, she will be sore for a while.
All in all, it was a very successful trip. We prayed for God to show us a vision for what He wants us to do in India. He came through. Each of us agrees that we can and should invest in India missions. We have a role to play in the Kingdom work going on there. Pray with us that we will be faithful in doing our part.