Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Great Departure

So Zack's mission definitely started out with a bang...starting with him actually missing his original flight to Ghana. And no one knows the story better than his dad, Wayne. So here's the tale....sorry if it's a little lengthy. Blame it on his job and daily task of writing technical papers ;)
Well, now that Zack has been gone for almost 2 weeks, we look back at the departure day as the first part of Zack's adventure.  It all started about 4-1/2 months ago. We looked at his departure date, Sept. 3 and had in our mind, Friday was the day he was leaving. When we got the itinerary a couple weeks before he left, it again had Sept. 3 at the top of the page. Several of us looked at the flights, starting in St. George, 6 am and arriving in Ghana about 8 am the next day. Things progressed fast and the next thing you know it was Thursday the 2nd. I (Wayne) was at work early in the morning and after writing a letter for Zack to take with him, I had a feeling to look at a copy of his itinerary to see which gates he would be transferring to and what time he would be in Salt Lake because my brother wanted to go see him during the transfer. That was the start of the great departure.  I soon learned that Sept. 3 was the day he arrived and not the day he left, thus we had just missed his 6 am flight. I called Zack and of course, panic set in when I told him we just missed his flight. For those of you who know Zack, he went into his "gamer" mode. He wasn't going to let anyone beat him, win at any cost. After calling our wonderful Stake Pres. to see if he could set him apart earlier than Thursday night at 9:30, I called without success several times the church office.  Finally I got through and within minutes we had new plans. We were to leave from Las Vegas and Zack would arrive about 6 hours after his group, but would have to travel by himself to Atlanta and then to Accra, Ghana. Thank goodness we have a mom that was very prepared. When I got home from work and announced the time to leave, Zack's bags were already packed. We gathered the family, met with Pres. Frei at 9:30 and drove to Las Vegas, almost a day earlier than originally planned. Zack handled everything very well. So did the family until the dreaded goodbye which is one of the hardest things I have ever done. I think it was easier as a missionary. We looked great, all of us in tears walking through the Las Vegas airport. He called after making it to Atlanta and indicated he might have already landed in Africa, because most of the people in the airport were either African or African American. He had a great sense of humor and sounded great. The next flight was over 11 hours over the Atlantic ocean, but he arrived safe and very tired. He called his mother, which was very much needed for peace of mind, for a couple of minutes from the MTC in Tema, Ghana. Quite the adventure...definitely not the planned departure.
{Pretty sure Zack will miss Tripp the very most}
{Brad Miller and Zack}
{The last family meal at Zack's favorite place}

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