Well, I have arrived back in Maracaibo. I was never happier to see the familiar Maracaibo airport terminal than I was last night. Allow me to explain how God used fuel to His glory and allowed me to get to Venezuela.
My flight itinerary yesterday took me from Cleveland to Chicago to Miami to Maracaibo. This is a very typical itinerary as there are no direct flights from Cleveland to Miami and only flights to Maracaibo from Miami. My flight from Cleveland to Chicago was without incident and even landed a little early in Chicago. I then had about 30 minutes or so before boarding for my next flight.
We boarded the plane and then sat there for a while. After about 15 minutes of waiting, the captain announced that we had a slight maintenance issue and were waiting for maintenance to come check it out.
After another 30 minutes or so, the captain announced that the problem was with the fuel pump- it was not pumping fuel properly- and was going to need to be fixed. If it couldn't be fixed, he was looking for another plane for us. We would be delayed at least another 45 minutes, so if anyone had any connecting flights, they were free to deplane and talk with a ticket agent. I decided to get off and find out what is going to happen with my flight. While doing this, I realized that I might not make my flight to Maracaibo. I was praying that God would somehow allow me to arrive in Miami in time or delay the flight leaving Miami- but not my will but His Will be done.
A little side info for you- There is only 1 flight per day from Miami to Maracaibo- leaving each day at 4:55pm. If you miss that flight, you have to wait 24 hours for the next one.
While standing in a line 100 people thick to find out about my flight, they finally announced that the plane was ok and that we would be reboarding- hoping to leave by 12:30pm and arriving at 4:30pm in Miami. My flight to Maracaibo was boarding at 3:55pm and leaving at 4:55pm. If the gate is close, I might have a chance. However, we did not leave by 12:30, but at 12:50. At this point, I was now praying that God would provide to delay the other flight.
We landed in Miami at 4:45pm. Of course, my gate was no where close to where we arrived- other side of the airport to be exact. I was not sure what time they would be closing the gate or if I even had a chance to make it to the plane, but I decided to give it everything I had and trust that if God wanted me on the plane, it would still be there and if it was not there, then I trust God to take care of me for the 24 hours that I would have to wait until the next plane.
As soon as I got off the plane, I started running. This is not an easy task in an airport- pulling a carry on bag on wheels and carrying a heavy laptop around your neck. Winded. Shin-splints killing. I kept going. Every hall I turned down- hoping to find the gate- but it was not there. Further. Further I kept running. Up the escalator? Why did I have to go up? The plane is not upstairs! Up the escalator to the train to take you to the terminal that is not connected to the airport. Wait for the train (and catch my breath). Get off the train and run again- down one hallway, then another, then another. Finally I can see the gate- and there is nobody there but one man sitting in a chair off to the side. I ran to the gate and practically collapsed as I asked the man if the flight had left. He asked me my name- if it was Schenault. I said yes. He said come. The flight had not yet left.
I got on the plane, sweating, winded, exhausted, but on. Of course everyone was looking at me- wondering if I was the reason they hadn't left yet.
We sat for a few minutes before the captain announced his appologies for the delay. They were holding the plane for one more passanger (Me!) and that they were also waiting to refuel. Apparently the first tank of fuel they had put in the plane had gotten water in it when it rained earlier that day and they had to drain that out and refuel- which was causing us a bit of a delay.
God used fuel to delay me in Chicago and to delay the flight in Miami. He used fuel to teach me that He really does have everything under control and that all I need to do is trust Him.
So, here I am, in Maracaibo. The suitcases decided to spend an extra day in Miami, but that's ok. I am here, ready to be used by God in whatever way He desires.