Thursday, 26 January 2012

Lagos to Douala, the Hostetter's Journey 2

Hey guys,

The last time we shared with you all, we left off as we were en route from Lagos to Douala, having escaped the chaos caused by the oil strikes with the help of God. Sitting on the plane to Ghana, we were elated and little frustrated at the same time. Elated to be getting out of Lagos and to that we would be able to see some of the saints in Ghana again, and frustrated at not being able to get to Cameroon yet. Still, we were very grateful to God for watching over us and for all those who had been praying for us.

Touching down in Ghana was a bit surreal for me (Jeremiah) to be honest. I have landed in that airport more times than I can count. This was the first time that I was going for a visit, instead of going there because it was my home. I felt a pang of homesickness for Ghana, but this was washed away when, after getting through immigration very easily, (the immigration officials were very understanding, having heard about the crisis in Nigeria), we were reunited with some of our fellow saints. Jeremiah's parents were there, along with Stephen and Kukua Jantuah and their kids, and David and Gifty Sarpong with their two girls. I must say, I wondered to what extent God allowed us to be diverted just so that we could bring great joy to my parents when they got to see their grand-kids again.

Well, we were in Ghana again, and now had to figure out what to do next in order to get to Cameroon. We were told that there might be a flight on Air Nigeria the next morning at 6:45 to Cameroon, so we should come to the airport and check. So, after getting to sleep around 3 a.m., Rhys, Sharon, and Jeremiah headed to the airport to see what would happen. Well, once again, Air Nigeria had fed us a false hope. There was not a flight at 6 they said. Then, at 5, they changed and said there would be, but that it was going to Lagos, and not to Cameroon, something we were obviously not interested in doing. "But!" they said, "there might be a straight flight at 8:30 to Cameroon, we just needed to wait for the ticketing office to open up at 7. So, we waited another hour and a half, then found out, yes, there is a flight to Douala... the only catch is that it was leaving 30 minutes late, and we'd have to disembark in Lagos and change planes... in the space of less than 10 minutes. Even if we made this change, there was no way that our luggage would. So, we gave up on Air Nigeria. Their pervasive dishonesty, bait and switch tactics, and utter disregard for passenger's welfare, was just too much for us. So, we decided to try other ways to get to Cameroon. Finally, we found out that there would be a flight out of Lome, Togo, on Tuesday, 4 days later. Well, we would have to get these tickets on Monday, and also get Jeremiah's visa extended so that he could stay in Ghana till then.

The best thing about our layover was getting to spend Lord's Day morning with the saints in Accra, Ghana. We had a wonderful time assembling together with them. Jeremiah shared his program about Cameroon plans, and we enjoyed hearing Jeremiah's dad, Jeff, preach.We thank God so much for the opportunity to share with the saints there. Out of a rough situation, God helped us to be able to have a fantastic time visiting and encouraging. See, God never promises that we won't go through rough times, or even that when we do, everything will work out nice and rosy. What He does promise is that through those tough times our faith can grow. I know that seeing all the answered prayers during this time caused my faith to grow!

Monday, we made our way to Togo, driven to Lome from Accra by a Nigerian! (God has a sense of humor doesn't He?) We spent the night in Togo, and then the next morning took the shuttle to the Lome airport. Once again, we had a bit of a test, as we found out that our flight, which we had been told was a straight flight, actually stopped in Lagos!!! Well, we were about to have to look for other options, as we were not going back through very unstable Nigeria again, but then we found out that we would not have to disembark, but would remain in the plane. Still, there were about 15 tense minutes when we arrived in Lagos, but we rejoiced in another answered prayer when we finally took off for Douala, Cameroon! How exciting. Our hearts leaped with joy when we saw the top of Mount Cameroon rising out of the Harmattan (seasonal dust cloud that covers much of sub-Saharan Africa, as winter storms in Europe send Saharan sands south). We touched down a few minutes later, and finally, with great joy could say that we were in Cameroon!

What a trip it was- a few numbers for you:
Expected travel days-3
Actual travel days-7
Spent on tickets, hotels, and unexpected transport- at least $7,000
Countries expected to visit- 3
Countries visited- 5
Kids sickened by all the difficulties- 1 (Jonathan)
Hours sitting waiting in an airport- probably about 24

Answered Prayers- TOO MANY TO COUNT!

Thank you all so much, and especially thank God! Also, a huge thanks to Rhys and Sharon Thomas, who went with us on this trip, had a great attitude through everything, and were an enormous help. We can't imagine the trip without them. A thanks also to Jeremiah's parents, who were a big help in Ghana as well, and to so many unknown persons who prayed for us and who through their prayers, opened doors for us. God bless you all. We are now safely in Cameroon, and so excited to be able to be serving here. It's been a very busy first week here- read all about it in a blog post coming soon! God bless, and stay strong in your faith!


Pictures! They aren't in order, but after it took 3 hours to upload them, I didn't have the heart to remove them and rearrange them... sorry. 
Jeremiah's Dad preaching in Ghana.

Jeremiah Sharing his presentation with the saints in Accra, Ghana

Brittney teaches Sunday School in Ghana.

On the way from Accra to Lome, Togo.

Rhys changes money at the Lome Border.

Brittney, Hannah, Jonathan and Sharon with Jeremiah's Mom, Sherrie, Kukua, Zoe, Gifty, Petra, and Lauren in Ghana.

Our first sight of Cameroonian soil, Mount Cameroon rising out of the Harmattan.


1 comment:

  1. We are also running a small charity organization in Africa. I had to travel between different cities of Africa to keep things going. The main problem for me was travel cost. We were spending too much to reach from one country to another. Now we have signed a contract with Reliance Travels UK who will provide cheap flights to cities like Accra, Lagos etc. That has reduced our travel cost significantly.