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Rivas 2018: Getting to the Good Stuff

When you’re schooling life you quickly learn that getting to the good stuff always requires getting through the struggle. It prepares you and allows you to appreciate the good that come after getting through the bad.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. (James 1:2-3)

A week ago I had the pleasure of experiencing this "getting to the good stuff" with 9 other people as we desperately tried to keep our cool on the way to Rivas, Nicaragua.

It all began the Friday night before when I got a text that said

We were scheduled to meet at 4am Saturday morning to catch a flight from Norfolk to Miami and then Miami to Nicaragua. With less than 12 hours to go we were now nervous that our trip wouldn’t even be happening. After about 2 hours of a frantic texting thread and one of our group leaders taking ltime to find us new flights we were able to get a flight for Sunday morning out of Charlotte, NC to Dallas, a Dallas Flight to Miami, and finally a flight from Miami to Nicaragua.

Saturday morning we packed our carry-ons along with 10 suitcases of supplies for Vida Joven (Young Life) into two trucks and drove 6 hours to Charlotte, North Carolina. When we finally made it to Charlotte it was time for dinner we waited about an hour for our table.

In the mean time all of the adult sized children, took a quick dip in the hotel pool while the real adults waited in the restaurant. It was a heated pool and felt almost like a giant hot tub. It was awesome. We had a great dinner at Texas Roadhouse which was conveniently located next door to the Marriott we were staying at for the night.

As you can see we are a lively bunch. Even though our estimated time of arrival to Nicaragua had been delayed we did not let it get us down.

After dinner we showered and slept in preparation for the second day of traveling.

When reached the Charlotte airport around 3:45am and we made our 6 am flight with no problem. We got to Dallas and waited out our 5 hour layover happily. We wandered around the terminal and took turns watching bags as pairs went out in search for food and entertainment.

It was finally time to board the plane to Miami. We happily filed onto the plane and prepared for takeoff.

Unfortunately we were going to experience another setback. After an hour of sitting on the plane the pilot notifies us that the plane is 50,000 pounds overweight with fuel and that it would take another hour to refuel the plane. We all got off the plane feeling setback and confused as to what would happen next.

With a connecting flight from Miami to Nicaragua quickly approaching we prayed that we would be re-boarding the plane sooner than later. That was not the case. We had to wait 4 hours before we could re-board the plane. It was now past 7pm and our connecting flight long gone. When we finally landed in Miami it was past 10pm. We did not have dinner and everyone was on edge. The group was ready to get the traveling portion of the trip over already, me included.

We spent the night in Miami at a hotel close by and prepared for a third day of traveling. We woke up and ate breakfast and headed to the Miami airport. There was a somber energy and I could tell that everyone was praying to get to Managua with no problems.

The flight went smoothly and we got to the airport and through customs with no problem. What we had just stepped off of the plane and into was the good stuff. The next 5 days would be a life changing experience for us all.

Looking back at what happened, everyone in the group agrees that everything happens for a reason. Sometimes God has to take you through some trials to get to the blessings on the other side. They serve as training to strengthen us for the responsibilities ahead. These trials test our patience and our faith that God will work things out every time.

Embrace the hardships that come with getting to the good stuff. What came next in Nicaragua is nothing short of amazing.

Be on the look out for the next Rivas 2018 blog post where I will share details my first Vida Joven Club meeting!

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