My trip to Surrey and Ottawa for my passport – the drama, the adventure, the miracles.
Finally, I’ll have my new passport. But it was not without an adventure, a story. As I shared in some of the Masses I celebrated last weekend, first I went to Surrey to get my National Identity Number (NIN). Though it has never happened before that an applicant gets the NIN immediately, through the intercession of St. Jude, I was able to get it instantaneously. The number has to be generated from Nigeria and Nigeria is 8 hours ahead of Canada (PT). It was 3am Nigerian time. Usually, Nigerians don’t work at 3 in the morning. Solomon, the guy who processed the NIN and his family could not comprehend how that happened. God had given me a gift – a miracle. Solomon said: ‘Padre, God is with you.’ I knew our parishioners were accompanying me with prayer and love.
Now, I needed to cross the next hurdle – fly to Ottawa on Sunday with the NIN to renew my passport. After the 6pm Mass, we had a funeral for Ed Andre. Upon arrival at Kelowna airport the flight, scheduled for 11pm, was delayed. When we finally got to Toronto, the connecting flight to Ottawa had closed. What am I to do now? The plan had been to arrive in Ottawa at 9am, and proceed to the consulate, finish my passport business and fly back the same day. Due to the delay, many of us had missed the connecting flight as a result of the flight delay They assured me they’d put me in the next available flight which was at 10:10am. That was my only hope of still getting to Ottawa before noon and hopefully arriving at the Embassy in good time before they close at 3pm. The 10:10am flight didn’t work, I was put on standby for the 2pm flight. It was full! Well, the hope of getting to the Embassy is now dashed. But God had another plan, I said to myself. But what possibly could that be? I had no extra clothing. No bag. I only had my documents. I should have known better – that things can change. As the airline tried to rebook my flights, they had made a mistake and taken me off my return flight. Now, I’m really in trouble. When they finally rectified it, they apologized and asked if I would like a meal voucher. I declined and thanked them for the kind gesture. Now, as I write this and think about it, I should have collected the voucher. The airline personnel were doing their best. They were overwhelmed. Sometimes there’s nothing they can do. Inclement weather changes things. I said a prayer and asked God to bless them. Yes, I was frustrated but now, I had to relax and trust that God has other plans. We – frustrated passengers – ended up becoming friends and chatting about where to get blankets to sleep in the airport. Some quickly started booking hotels. Without a credit card, I couldn’t book a hotel room. We got to Ottawa and as I was getting ready for a good sleep at the airport, a Good Samaritan said ‘No, that I wasn’t sleeping at the airport.’ A hotel was ready for me, even without me presenting a credit card. I only showed them my driver’s license. I was told that the Good Samaritan had made provisions for a meal and a taxi. I felt like I was in heaven. Tired & hungry, but I’m a happy man once again. Now, I had to figure out how to brush my teeth. It was snowing, I can’t even go out to purchase one. I asked the hotel attendant if I could buy one from him. He gave me a toothbrush, toothpaste, and a comb for my kinky hair. He did all this with a smile. A good meal and a good night’s rest. What can beat that? In the morning I was off to the Embassy. I met a man who helped me. If I had arrived on Monday as earlier planned, maybe I wouldn’t have met him. Somehow, my Heavenly Father planned it all. My passport is on the way. Praise God! Thank you for praying for me. God bless all the Good Samaritans, the flight attendants, the new friends I met.
Our Lenten Journey Continues
How was your week? What was your story? In all things, may we never stop giving thanks to God. Last week was the first Sunday of Lent and we find Jesus in the desert being tempted by the devil. Each Sunday, we find ourselves with Jesus in a significant place. This week, it is on the mountain – a place that designates closeness to God, a place of intense prayer. Here, the Father is close and He proclaims: ‘This is my beloved Son. Listen to Him.’ The Transfiguration scene gives us a picture of what happens at every Mass. Just like it takes a lot of effort and energy to climb a mountain, it takes effort to prepare for Mass. As Moses and Elijah, representing the law and the prophets, showed up during the Transfiguration, they keep showing up at every Mass as we listen to them again during the liturgy of the word. As Jesus is transfigured, at the liturgy of the Eucharist, we witness a transformation, Bread and wine become the body and blood of Jesus. At Communion, in our me and Jesus time, we enter into that deep place in our soul where we hear the Father say to us what he said to Jesus ‘You are my beloved.’ Like the apostles, we do not stay on the mountain forever, we leave the mountain of the Holy Mass, to return to our families, our community to be with those in need, the sick and all who need the touch of Jesus. We have been touched by the love of the Father. We now carry that loving touch to touch others wherever we go. Mass never really ends, it continues in our living rooms, in our families, in our professions. The Mass truly changes and transforms the world.