On May 30, I received a phone call to go immediately downtown to the Religious Affairs department of the government for a meeting. Upon arrival, I learned that I was among those invited to participate in a national religious conference to be held in the capital city on June 20. I liked the idea, so I bought a plane ticket, made a hotel reservation, and scheduled several other meetings in the city to coincide with my visit.
On Saturday, June 15, someone mentioned to me that the conference date had changed from June 20 to June 27. The local head of the Religious Affairs department confirmed this to me, and kindly offered his help to get my flight date changed. I wasn’t surprised that the airline’s website didn’t allow me to do this online, so I had to wait until Monday morning — two days before my scheduled flight — to try to postpone it for a week later.
Bonifácio spent hours on Monday riding his motorcycle between offices, trying to find an agent who could get my ticket changed. It turned out that the Religious Affairs department didn’t have power to ask the airline to waive the change fee, which amounted to over half of what I originally paid for the ticket. I decided to pay this fee this rather than cancelling my trip, and I gave Bonifácio the money.
When Bonifácio arrived back at the ticket office Monday afternoon, he discovered that Luis, the agent with whom he had spoken, had left for an unspecified emergency at the hospital. His colleague at the office said she couldn’t make the transaction, but took the money with the promise that Luis would change the ticket and send a confirmation e-mail upon his return. To my relief, within a few hours, I received an e-mail confirming my new flight dates.
However, upon closer examination, I realized that the time of my flight to the capital city was wrong. I’d chosen the morning flights to allow time for meetings in the afternoon, but Luis had booked me on an evening flight that arrived close to midnight. It goes without saying that this isn’t exactly the safest situation for an unaccompanied female foreigner visiting a city for the first time.
Bonifácio went to the airline office twice on Tuesday, but no one was there either time, nor was there any explanation for the closure or any contact information posted. Finally on Wednesday morning, someone was there who allowed him to talk to Luis on the phone. Thankfully, Luis took responsibility for the mistake and promised to re-book me for the correct flight at his own expense. He gave Bonifácio his phone number and when I called him, he said he’d send the confirmation of the correction that same day.
The confirmation hadn’t come by evening, so Bonifácio called Luis, who said that he had already changed the ticket but was simply awaiting the confirmation e-mail. He promised to send the confirmation by the following morning. When I called him that morning to check on the matter, he sent a message saying he was in a meeting and would call me afterwards.
I received neither confirmation nor call from Luis, so Bonifácio visited his office again that afternoon. Luis called me immediately, apologized for the delay, and gave a difficult-to-follow explanation for why, although the ticket had been changed to the morning flight, he was unable to generate a confirmation in either print or electronic format. He promised to personally assure my presence on the morning flight that I wanted.
Since Luis said that he could see my revised flight information on his computer, I asked him to take a photo and send it to my cell phone, which he did. The photo showed the right itinerary, but I remained uncertain whether Luis had actually changed the ticket, as the airline’s website still showed the evening flight when I entered my confirmation code. But for lack of other recourse, after exchanging text messages in which Luis once again promised to personally escort me onto the correct flight, I accepted his promise.
As you go to bed on Tuesday evening, I’ll be heading to the airport for my Wednesday morning flight. Please pray that I will actually be able to travel on that flight! Please pray for wisdom for me at the auto dealership which I plan to visit first upon my arrival, and for safety and success in my entire trip. And please praise the Lord with me for how He is already beginning to answer your prayers regarding my challenges with health and time.
Psalm 118:8: “It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man.”