Let me start by saying that I know God has declared that His Word will never return void but will always accomplish the purpose for which He sends it forth. For me personally (based on experience) a prime indicator that a particular ministry endeavor will be very fruitful is the extent to which Satan will put forth attempting to thwart the mission by running interference. Some of the things I share with you now are not to give him any glory whatsoever but rather to show you that he is at work against God’s people.
Though previous trips here to Romania have been smooth in regards to travel and God indeed blessed the work we were sent to do collectively, Satan still fought in other ways. I, and others have experienced health issues during previous trips (just as some of us have already this trip). In fact, last year not only did an old injury leave me unable to play guitar one day, but I also returned ill and developed bronchitis. It seems that this trip, however, has been froth with “adventure” from the beginning and, at least in my case, almost anything that could go wrong certainly did. Bear in mind, as I share this, I am not complaining but merely stating the facts.
We checked in at the Charlottesville Airport just over two hours prior to departure as instructed only to find that the airline’s computer system was down. Therefore, they could not print boarding passes, bag tags, or put anything regarding our being on the plane in the computer. Even with the help of employees at a central location by phone, things went haywire.
At our very first departure gate, airline personnel was checking people in manually and I heard them declaring other passengers to be in seats that had been pre-reserved for some of our group. My pre-reserved seats were NOT honored.
Our first change of planes was in Atlanta and our layover was short, to begin with, and though we made haste we arrived just shortly before boarding began for the connecting flight to Paris. Since Charlottesville could not give us boarding passes for the continuing flights we had to request those at check-in at the gate in Atlanta. I approached the gate and checked in myself and 3 others who are on the same reservation with me. They were able to provide boarding passes from Atlanta to Paris for all four of us but boarding passes for only two of our party from Paris to Budapest. I was not one of those two.
Making my way down the aisle of the aircraft we’d be on to Paris it was hard to fathom that it was long enough to have the number of rows required for my seat to be on the same aircraft. My “new” assigned seat was in the very last row! Once underway I attempted to recline my seat but the recline button was broken and therefore I could not recline at all. A compassionate flight attendant found another seat further up, fortunately on the aisle, which was unoccupied and I was allowed to move to that seat.
In Paris France when attempting to go through customs I was told that I could not proceed because I did not have a boarding pass for the continuing flight. I explained why I did not have one and that the little kiosk, located just before customs, from which you are supposed to be able to get a boarding pass would not issue one as it kept giving an error message. I was then told that I had to go to the opposite end of the airport to the ticket counter to get a boarding pass. This was a ridiculous notion as I would barely have time to clear customs and get to the connecting flight as it was. Fortunately, another member of the team traveling with us kept trying the kiosk and finally chose the option of “no checked baggage” (even though I had checked two) as she recalled that the airline we originated on in Charlottesville had not been able to enter any information in the computer. Much to our delight, a boarding pass was finally issued and I could proceed.
I arrived in Budapest to find that only four persons, out of the eight total traveling together from the beginning, had received their bags while the other four of us (including me) did not. This really did not make any sense because the four of us that did not receive our bags had checked in before the other four. A baggage claim was filed in the usual manner and to our delight, the bags were delivered the next day.
Having 15 years of experience in the travel industry years ago I am fully aware that travel can have challenges for anyone regardless of their mission. I feel it necessary to share another situation that may serve to open the eyes of anyone who may be the slightest bit skeptical that Satan DOES run interference where ministry is concerned.
I had been invited to share in ministry with guitar and speaking at a facility run by a foundation named El-Sadai. When I was picked up by an employee of the foundation, the trunk of the car was opened and I placed my guitar, Bible, and jacket in it. Upon arrival at the facility, however, the car trunk would not open. The key fob did not work to open it, the manual button inside the car did not work to open it, and manually pushing the button on the trunk to open it did not work either. I told the employee that I could see the enemy’s hand all over the scenario and that it was beginning to get funny as he had been fighting, not only me but others on the team. (Whenever things start going nutty, I mean out of the ordinary, I feel the enemy is picking at me in an attempt to discourage or at least unnerve me. Generally speaking, it has the reverse effect however as I feel spurred on all the more with the confidence that I am heading in the right direction or I would not be pestered so.) We had to pull the back seats down from the inside, pull the spare tire through to the inside of the car to reach the items that I needed. I remarked that I was certain this was happening only because I was there to minister and that I was sure all would be fine later. And, sure enough, when we left the facility all it took was one push of the button on the key fob, and the trunk opened!
Greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world! A good time was shared with music, testimony, and the Word of God was proclaimed!