Baggage Claim at American Airlines made the call, “We have an unclaimed piece of luggage at LAX for Antonio Hernandez. If it is not retrieved in the allotted time it will be destroyed. What do you wish us to do with this luggage?” Mr. Hernandez had no missing luggage from his recent flight from Charlottesville, VA, through Chicago to Los Angeles. Not wishing the bag to be destroyed, however, the Hernandez family dutifully drove to LAX and picked up the mysterious black bag with their name mistakenly attached. Inside, they found a strange assortment of items, some were obviously Christmas gifts. But something else was inside: a slip of paper with the address and email information for a Roland and Faylene Beard, Crozet, VA.
On the other side of the world, we waited to hear something…anything… about the missing luggage. Japan Airlines confirmed it was never loaded on the flight from Chicago to Tokyo. When their representative called a second time to tell us the same information, the Director of IFL Patricia Capwell warned him he stood in jeopardy of all of us at his house for Christmas if he didn’t locate the missing luggage. Such a thing would never happen, but we felt a little release of pent up anxiety and laughed about what that official might be thinking if he didn’t pull off the seemingly impossible.
Sure, I was thankful for the luggage that made it here safely, but I didn’t want to say it was ok if the missing one wasn’t found. When the binoculars were stolen on the Cambodia trip, I was able to take it in stride. Things like that can happen when one travels around as we do, but this time I was struggling and in tears. There were so many irreplaceable things in that bag: Tennnie’s grits she asked us to bring back to her, the gifts for some of the male staff, the sparkly blouses my daughter lovingly picked out for me to wear at Christmas and graduation, my Tagolog Language Guide, the CD player with Christmas music, the LED lights, and so many other personal items. I cried, “Lord, please help them find it.”
By day 5 my husband and I both had peace, but no luggage.
On day 6 we received an email from a stranger who asked if we were missing a bag. They had been on the same flight from Charlottesville to Chicago – destination LAX. Astounded by the discovery our luggage was in Los Angeles, Roland emailed back and requested that they take the bag to American Airlines along with the ticket and tracking information he provided. The Hernandez family wrote another email on Day 7 to inform us they had indeed returned the bag and had put a “book” inside and a gift of two $50 bills. “Merry Christmas!”
Two days later, we received a call from a very relieved Japan Airlines representative to inform us,”We have found your luggage!” He would not have to host Christmas! Chuckle!
The morning of Day 11, Roland woke with an assurance from God that our missing luggage would arrive that day. An hour later, there was the awaited knock on our door. The “book” inside turned out to be a lovely Bible with two $50 bills inside, as promised, and a personal note from the Hernandez family. We promptly sent a “thank you” email back with a picture of us, the bag, Director Patricia Capwell and her son Raffy in front of their Christmas tree – all smiling.
We are amazed that the Lord would care for a little piece of luggage for His little people in the Philippines. It spoke to us of His loving kindness. The money was given for a special event and another person with a unique need.
“Lord, we ask for your abundant blessings on the Hernandez family, Your faithful servants in Los Angeles.”