Due to popular demand......................!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm posting another chapter straight after the last one.
It's now 1988 and having decided to trust God to break through what seemed like insurmountable barriers to my getting to the States in 4 days I began to relax a little. Part of me thought it could never happen, and did I really want it to, but I also knew that if this was God’s plan and He brought it to fruition, then I would never look back. I was facing an opportunity for growth and maturity in faith like never before.
Having wrestled with the situation for over a week, I decided to chill out and watch a movie on TV. Surely I could forget about everything and relax for an evening. I cannot remember what the film was called, or the whole strand of the story, but it took place in Florida and featured men going out to shoot turkeys. In the midst of the film, a little white boarded chapel with a pointed roof and spire appeared on the screen. The camera homed in through the front door and down to the pulpit. The preacher pointed his finger and said, “All of you out there who are wrestling and have no peace, it’s because you’ve taken the reigns back into your own hands. Just give them back to God” Well I ask you, a silly film on TV used by God to show me what I already knew but was choosing to ignore. I can’t but He can. All I was looking for was a quiet evening but God was taking me at my word and beginning to prove Himself. I went to bed with a renewed sense of peace and resignation.
The following day I began to think about the surgery that I was due to have. I have private medical insurance and was being treated privately so on Sunday afternoon I telephoned my surgeon at home and explained my dilemma. She immediately told me not to worry, that it would be good for me to go, and she would reschedule surgery for when I returned. I could not believe how easy it was. I now began to think about my visa and passport. It was impossible to phone the American Embassy and get through to someone and discuss the situation. One had to go through the standard procedures which could be lengthy.
In recent months I had been invited to attend monthly luncheon meetings with International Christian Leadership in London as a result of various contacts that had developed. Through this I had been corresponding with a Member of the House of Lords to encourage him through an extremely difficult time with a very sick wife. I felt God prompting me to telephone him and see if he could help. This I did and he gave me a telephone number that would take me direct to someone in the Embassy that would be able to help me. Needless to say I had my visa within 24 hours. I got my new passport the following day as a result of being able to visit a passport office some hours drive away instead of the routine doing it by post which can take some weeks.
Tuesday afternoon I was still feeling very frightened and wondered if there was any support available for someone like me who had developed a real fear of flying on top of other phobias. After several phone calls I came across an organisation based at Gatwick airport, where I was going to be flying from, called Travelcare. I phoned them and explained my position and was immediately asked why I was flying to America. I explained that I was going to a Christian business meeting and conference. The lady on the other end of the phone said, “Well, I am not a Christian myself, but I talk to people who are and they tell me that with faith in God you are never alone!” Here was a non-Christian speaking God’s truth to me. God was certainly proving Himself over and over. On a practical level they advised me to go to their office at the airport once I had bought my ticket and checked in and they would take care of me.
I continued to pack and get ready and Wednesday arrived with me still not having insurance. It is essential to have full medical insurance when travelling in the States. Obviously I was not going to be able to leave on Wednesday but I managed to have the insurance certificate in my hands by 5.0 pm that evening. On Thursday Alan took me to the airport where we purchased a ticket one day late but still in time for the meeting that began on Friday.
Having bought the ticket and checked in Alan took me to the Travelcare office. They gave me hospitality in their lounge and not only escorted me on to the plane in advance of boarding but also arranged for me to be escorted between planes in Atlanta. I had said to them on the telephone that I wanted to make this journey even if I passed out with fear and had to be carried on to the plane. That’s how frightened I was. God means us to walk in faith in spite of what is going on in our soulish emotions. He never promised to take us out of suffering but He did promise to manifest Himself in it.
Once the plane took off I had an overwhelming sense of peace and calmness. As the aircraft began it’s ascent over London I was struck by the awesomeness of this new experience. It was a clear day and as we later passed over Greenland I was excited to be able to get out of my seat and walk around. I began a journal from the moment of take-off charting my excitement hour by hour. This was to be a never forgotten journey. The ride was smooth throughout and by the time we touched down in Atlanta, some nine hours later, I knew that I could make my connection without the help of an escort. There were others on the plane being escorted through the airport, a young Mother on her own with 4 young children and an elderly lady who had just had surgery. The cabin staff suggested that I stayed on the plane with the others until everybody else had disembarked so as not to cause confusion with the paperwork. I was glad that I did as we did not have to go through Customs and Immigration, instead they came to us. This meant a quick passage through and I realised that it just might be possible to make an earlier connection. I was feeling so confident and excited by this time that I thanked the airline staff and took off on my own to catch my next flight.
I arrived at my final destination in Mississippi tired but exhilarated having proved once again that God can do through me what I had thought impossible. It was more than interesting a few days later when collecting the mail to see the arrival of the letter that I had posted from England giving all the reasons why it would be impossible for me to attend. I smiled and tore it up. I had arrived in the South and five weeks later I would be flying home from New Jersey in the North with much to experience in between. Prior to writing this chapter, I was just listening to Joyce Meyer on my car radio when she said, “It’s not the destination that’s important in this life, it’s the journey that gets us there”. How apt!