Long layover in Paris

Trip Start Apr 02, 2014
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Trip End May 07, 2014


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Flag of France  , Île-de-France,
Thursday, April 3, 2014

The sun is rising on a cool April morning at Charles de Gaulle airport. I'm sitting in the Air France lounge watching Air Franc planes depart and arrive, inter-terminal shuttle trains go and come, and ground staff dressed in jackets, caps, and orange vests, occupied by a hundred tasks. In the lounge businessmen and women read newspapers in half a dozen languages, check their e-mails on laptops, and charge their cellphones and tablets, while sipping strong French coffee and nibbling on pastries.

I’ve now started on a five-week trip that will take me to Mauritius and Reunion in the Indian Ocean, then to Rwanda, where Daniel Harper will join me. From there we will travel to Burundi, then to the DRC, Togo and Cote d’Ivoire. At that point Daniel will have to head home and I will continue on to Ghana to participate in a Ministerial Conference for our ministers in Ghana. Since I was going to be in Cote d’Ivoire just prior to the conference, it made financial sense for me to be one of the presenters.

Marjolaine drove me to the airport yesterday at 10:30. The Dallas traffic cooperated, so it only took us 40 minutes to arrive at DFW. I was pleased to find I was upgraded to business class for the 1000 mile flight to Detroit. I was less pleased when the flight attendant informed me that the fold out tray was missing from my seat. I opened the arm rest to verify and indeed found a black hole where the tray would normally be. When the light lunch was served, I had to balance the tray on my legs, taking care not to spill the beverage. During the flight I caught up on some reading, particularly Biblical Archeology Review, which I like to save to read on my tablet while traveling.

I find it sadly fascinating to fly over Detroit, a French word meaning strait, and the city is in a visibly in a rather dire variety at the moment. There are large patches of city that are vacant, places where there used to be homes, but where there are now just streets and vacant lots. There are also nice looking areas with big new homes. But there is a clear feeling of decline and decay as one flies over. I had about an hour between flights, enough times with some to spare to change terminals. The Airbus heading to Paris was full, as the flights always seem to be now, there were no empty seats. Around me was a American high school choir on a trip to perform at the Vatican. The group leader explained that they had offered to sing some songs in Italian but were told that was heard all the time in the Vatican so the students will sing in Latin, and a number of Negro spirituals, which are very popular for choral performances in Europe.

The flight was uneventful, I was able to sleep about three hours, and we landed in the early morning light. I picked up my boarding pass for my 12-hour flight to Mauritius this afternoon, which will have me arriving tomorrow morning. I cleared security and made my way to the lounge where I can rest and work.

Now I have six more hours to wait until that flight.
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Comments

Tess Washington on

Hi Mr. Meeker, it's good to hear from you. Looking forward to your travel blogs to several African countries again. We'll pray for your safety and success of your missions! Bon voyage!

Mary on

Thanks, Joel, for the colorful blog and the entries that allow us to follow along. We will pray about the trip, especially that you and the brethren will be encouraged.

John Ewing on

Hello Mr. Meeker; On your last trip to Africa a man caught up with you just as you were leaving and was seeking your help. You said you had to decline him and made comment to us that, "we just can't help everybody". My question is...what help was he seeking? Can you explain ?

Jonathan Stoner on

Hi Mr. Meeker,
I didn't realize that Daniel will be joining you for this trip. I'm sure he is excited. I'm sure a lot of people will notice him right away as he is like 6'4" and not very tan. I hope you will continue to have uneventful flights and can travel safely. Will be praying for you and the members you will be visiting.

Margaret Villaescusa on

Hello Mr. Meeker,
It is good to be reading your travel blog again. I will keep you in my prayers. Delighted to hear Mr. Harper will be with you for part of the trip. I am sure he is anxious to meet some more of our French speaking brethren. I will also remember your wives in my prayers. Their love and support are not overlooked.

danielharper
danielharper on

The hours and hours of flying and waiting add up quickly, don't they?
Indeed I am greatly looking forward to joining you in Kigali next week. I am thankful for this opportunity to visit my brethren in French speaking Africa.
A bientôt!

jpvernaud
jpvernaud on

Nous vous souhaitons un très bon voyage

Marguerite Evans on

As always, it was delightful to read your blog. Thanks for the details that provide a clear picture of what you are experiencing. We're praying for your safety, health and protection. Merci à Daniel de vous joindre la semaine prochaine (Thanks to Daniel for joining you next week). Bon voyage!

Rose Mary Bates on

So enjoy your blogs. Thank you for taking the time to do the extra typing to share your experiences with us. Praying for your safety, travel & visiting with the brethren.

joelmeeker
joelmeeker on

Thanks to you all for your comments and for thinking of me/us in your prayers.
We do appreciate the support.

Merci beaucoup à tous pour vos encouragements et pour vos prières!

@ John Ewing: I can't remember what that fellow was asking for (I receive such requests very often), but it wasn't anything really necessary. Had there been a true need (rather than a hopeful wish) I would have helped. Perhaps I should have written "I can't give everyone everything they ask for." We don't let true needs go unmet if we can possibly help. Needs are generally considered to be food, clothing and shelter (1 Timothy 6:8). Thanks for your interest!

Tina Rupp on

Happy sabbath! We love catching up w your travels. Prayers for both of u and ur families continue. Thank u for serving r lovely brethren around the world !

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