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Sunday, February 1, 2015

Travel Angels By Grace Sales

Grace at San Diego Airport ready to GO!
By the time I landed in Manila I’d taken 3 flights and endured over 21 hours in layovers. I was jetlagged and ready to see someone who offered me more conversation then just asking what I would like to drink or eat. As I got off the plane I had to go through a health form line, go through customs, and collect my bags and then find my friend Lucena who was picking me up. Every line was long and the luggage carousels were congested. I have traveled through many international airports and Manila is the only one that makes me feel unsafe.

Up up and away!
As I waited in line for customs a lady began to speak to me in Tagalog. I think she noticed the confused and tired look on my face as she quickly corrected herself and said in a perfect American accent "Oh I am sorry I thought you were Philippino". I said "no sorry" and she began to ask me if I was there on a missions trip. I was puzzled as to how she possibly could have known. I then learned that she had just lumped me with the only other "white people" going through customs and that they were a Baptist church group. However, her question opened up the door to other questions, and a nice conversation. She then began to thank me for coming to serve her people and then she introduced me to the couple who was standing in line in front of me. The couple was an older Philippino lady and her American husband coming to visit her family. The couple and the “Tagalog” lady began to ask more about where I was headed, what ministry I was a part of and how long I planned to be in Manila. We came to the conclusion that I needed to meet my friend Lucena at Terminal 1 which would require a bus ride.  The “Tagalog” lady told me that it wouldn't be safe if I wandered around looking lost on my own and the older couple agreed.  Fortunately the couple had a layover and also need to catch a bus to a different terminal.  They insisted that I that I stay with them and they would help me get to the bus station and help me exchange some money.
Grace in Duba Airport half way there.
After going through customs I began to look for my luggage. Since many flights had just landed there was not a single baggage cart available. It was so crowded I couldn’t possibly get close enough to even see my bags. I began to pray. The husband of the couple then came over to me and asked me to describe my luggage. He then pushed his way through the crowds while I waited with a cart he found for me. As I watched him collect my bags I realized there would have been no way I could have even lifted my bags off the carousel.  Then the couple took me to exchange some money, walked me to the airport bus and made sure it was the one I needed.  They both hugged me and kissed my cheek and said "God bless you and keep you safe."
As I sat on the bus I couldn't help but thank God profusely for providing for me. I was amazed by how that whole situation had worked out. How God worked every detail even down to having a nice conversation in the 45 minute long line through customs to someone strong to help get my bags for me.
The bus delivered me to Terminal 1, Departures. Of course, I needed to meet my friend at Terminal 1, Arrivals. As I began to worry and feel alone and lost, I began to pray again and just then a security guard came up to me and asked how he could help me. I explained where I needed to meet my friend and he said it would be best if I waited with him and his team and just called her. His partner let me use her phone and I was able to call Lucena and arrange for her to pick me up there. The guards gave me a chair to sit down on next to them and I waited with all the luggage at the curb for Lucena.

Grace and her friend Lucena in Manila.
Again, I sat there thanking God and thinking how incredible that all the details had been worked out for me. He had sent me several angels to guide me and guard me and at that moment I felt so loved and surrounded by my family back home. I knew without a doubt that I wasn't alone, that all of these angels were there because people were praying for me. I wasn't alone in any step of the way nor would I be in the future because I had a group of people who were praying for every detail for me.
And so, I want to thank you for your prayers, and ask you to never cease.  Please keep praying! 
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"The lord says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you. So rejoice in the lord and be glad, all you who obey him! Shout for joy, all you whose hearts are pure!"    Psalms 32:8, 11 NLT

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Thank you for your words of encouragement. The Sales Family