Our daughter Lauren's trip to Paris with a mission team from her church in Mississippi was almost cancelled, but God did a miracle and she is leaving tomorrow morning!
Lauren is a student at Mississippi College, in Clinton, MS, and goes to Morrison Heights Baptist Church in Clinton. She was going to Paris with a team of college students and three adults to witness to college students in Paris May 21-31.
When Lauren applied for the passport in Jackson on March 5, she was told that the "latest possible" arrival of the passport was Monday, May 14.
When it did not arrive on May 14, she called the toll-free number of the State Department and she was told that there is an unprecedented demand for passports, but that they would expedite it, and it would arrive on Friday, May 18.
When it did not arrive on May 18, I called the State Department again, and this time I was told that it had not yet been processed, and the person I talked to said that whoever told Lauren on Monday that it was expedited was wrong.
At that point, I got on the phone with our U.S. Congressman's constituent services office, and they called the processing center and explained the urgency of it. A wonderful woman named Evon Davis with U.S. Congressman John Barrow's office called the New Orleans processing office twice to pester them about Lauren's passport. The New Orleans office told Ms. Davis that they would try to get Lauren's passport overnighted to her that day, but they could not promise anything.
We heard nothing on Saturday, and when we called the State Department on Saturday to try to find out something, we got a recording saying they were too busy to answer the phones. At that point, we had resigned ourselves to the idea that she was not going to France. Her grandparents (my wife's parents) had driven to Georgia to visit us, with plans to take her back to Mississippi to catch the plane in Jackson on Monday. So her grandparents went to the early service with us on Sunday morning and then they returned to Mississippi without Lauren. I informed the congregation about what had happened. We heard that the congregation at Morrison Heights Baptist Church was praying about Lauren's passport during worship on Sunday morning.
Then at about 3:05 p.m. (Eastern Time) on Sunday afternoon, a FedEx truck drove up at our house. Lauren ran to open the door as he knocked, and my wife Mary ran to her side. The man handed her an envelope, and they immediately saw it was the passport, and they repeated the whole story to the delivery man as they cried for joy.
At that point, they had to find out how to get Lauren connected to the rest of the group, since the group was leaving from Jackson on Monday morning, and Lauren's transportation to Mississippi had already left (her grandparents were already on their way back to Mississippi). So they found out that there is a U.S. Air flight from Savannah to Charlotte that she could catch. She had to drive to the Savannah airport on Sunday afternoon, which is only 15 miles from our house, and personally ask them to change the departure from Jackson to Savannah. U.S. Air made the change, and did not even charge her anything for the change!
So on Monday morning, while the rest of the group flies from Jackson to Charlotte, Lauren will fly from Savannah to Charlotte, arriving there ahead of the Mississippi group. Then they will all meet up and she will fly with them to Philadelphia and on to Paris!
God is soooo good! He must have something special in mind for this mission trip to France. Pray for God to use them in a mighty way.
UPDATE MONDAY MORNING: Lauren has already left Savannah and called to say she safely arrived in Charlotte, and she had talked to the team leaving Jackson and they are already on their plane. So she's on her way!
UPDATE MONDAY AFTERNOON: Lauren is now with her mission team in Philadelphia, where they have an 8-hour layover before flying to Paris tonight. She got to visit Independence Hall and see the Liberty Bell. She is very excited.