10 Jan The Journey to General Conference
Our party of 9–4 Americans, 2 Jamaicans, 3 Sierra Leoneans–arrived in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, around 2:30 Saturday afternoon. We all got through immigration just fine…except for Theresa Musa. She was the last person in line on our flight, and they held her for a long, long time. There were questions about the visa, which she had gone to heroic efforts to acquire, with a quick trip Friday to New York City to meet in person with a Honduran consulate official.
It seemed like every employee in the airport got involved in discussing the validity of the visa granted the day before in New York City. They were cordial. It’s just that nobody seemed to want to accept responsibility for approving her entry. So they got lots of people into it, spreading the potential blame around. And ultimately, they let her pass
Maira Raudales, along with her son and daughter and a driver, were waiting for us when we finally emerged into the terminal. Oliam Richard, our superintendent in Haiti, was also there. Maira and Company had brought an air-conditioned passenger bus, very nice. We loaded our bags in the back.
Then it was just a matter of waiting for the two Canadians, Brian Magnus and Paul Plato. They got delayed in Miami, but showed up near 5 pm. Donna Hollopeter bought everyone the Number 1 Single meal at the airport Wendy’s while we waited.
The trip east to La Ceiba took three hours, with a bathroom stop at a quick-stop mart. It rained much of the way.
We arrived in La Ceiba around 9 pm, and went straight to the Grand Paris Hotel. Jeff Bleijerveld, Director of Global Ministries, showed up just a few minutes after we did, and helped us get checked in. Along with our room key-cards, we were also handed a remote to the TV. That’s different.
After depositing our bags in our rooms, we walked (in the rain) next door to the Pizza Hut for a late supper. (En route to the hotel, we passed Burger King, KFC, Dunkin’ Donuts, Quiznos, Applebees, and another Pizza Hut.)
Jeff Dice was there, eating and watching the Cowboys-Eagles football game. He had come up from Costa Rica, where he and his wife are in Spanish language school.
Before leaving Pizza Hut, Jeff Bleijerveld bought everyone a bottle of water, which we’ll need to brush our teeth in the morning. He also warned, “La Ceiba is a nice-looking town, but don’t go out for a walk by yourself, day or night.”
Karis Vong, from Macau, had arrived earlier in the day. She used a Portuguese visa (Macau was a Portuguese colony until 1999), which posed no travel problems. But the other Hong Kong delegate, Ajiax Wo, was stopped in New York City. He’ll need to meet with the Honduran consulate (the same office Theresa Musa went to) first thing Monday morning, get a visa, and then head to Honduras. So he’ll miss some (if not all) of General Conference. Ajiax was scheduled to preach Monday night, but Billy Simbo, scheduled for Tuesday, offered to switch nights with Ajiax.