The Marshalls made it safely to and from Rockford, Illinois, this past weekend--but not without some excitement along the way.
The day of departure started out perfectly. Several were still packing while others finished up menial jobs about the homeplace. They even left three minutes early. If you know the Marshalls well enough, you know this a small miracle. Usually they are running around trying to finish up business work or locking doors or making sure the furnace is set.
"I couldn't believe it!" Monica exclaimed. "I had thirty minutes before we were to leave, and I didn't have anything to do." Well, that wasn't entirely true. There are always things that can be done, so she did manage to find some more to do. But it wasn't the usual rat-race.
Mrs. Marshall prepared a lunch for the fivesome to eat along the way. Monica drove the two hours to the Pittsburgh Airport. Their flight was to leave at 2:35 p.m. They arrived at the airport, and the girls and Mrs. Marshall checked in their luggage and retrieved their boarding passes while Bro. Marshall took the van to long-term parking.
They reached their gate with an hour and half or so to spare. Amazing. The only annoying factor so far was the recorded warning coming over the speakers at a constant rate. Their gate was located near the end of the moving walkway, and so for an hour and a half, they heard something similar to, "Caution. The moving walkway is about to end. Please look up.", and "The moving walkway is coming to an end. Please watch your step. Thank you." This nearly drove them mad, so they escaped to McDonald's for a small coffee break.
Mrs. Marshall found refuge in the nearby play area. She said she watched two of the episodes of "Mr. Roger's Neighborhood" and tried to be friendly with a lady and her son. "They wouldn't let me play with them", was her lament, but she managed to keep herself out of trouble.
It wasn't long before the well-planned day turned haywire. Over the loudspeakers the announcement was made that their flight to Chicago O'Hare was delayed. In fact, the plane was still in Chicago. It had attempted to take off, only to encounter mechanical problems and had to return to the airport for repairs.
Every hour or so the report seemed the same: the plane hadn't left the Chicago area. It wasn't until 5:30 p.m. or so that the Marshalls finally received word that the plane had left.
In the meantime, they tried to keep themselves busy reading and listening to CDs. They even resorted to window shopping, which really displayed a sense of insanity.
They didn't board until 6:30 p.m. or somewhere thereabouts. In Chicago, their ride and chaffeurs, Pastor Mark Swanson, Bro. Danny, Bro. Beecher, and Bro. Buddy Blunkall were getting worried. They had had to amuse themselves for for six or seven hours.
"We made it, thank the Lord, in one piece!", Jessica told us. "It made for a long day, but these things will happen."
They were taken to a delicious BBQ place in Chicago and "filled up. I don't think I've ever had such good BBQ," Jessica related to us. "Pastor Mark is always so gracious to us. We don't deserve it."
Their stay in Rockford turned out to be a wonderful time. On Saturday, they knocked doors with the group gathered for soul-winning. They returned to the Websters' house (which is where they normally stay while at Camp in January) and refreshed themselves. Matt and Julie and their family showed up to spend the evening with them.
Camp in January started at 4 p.m. and lasted for the rest of the evening. It was a good time of preaching and singing, basketball, roller-skating, eating, and fellowshipping.
"I really enjoyed just being able to be with all the staff and the teens," Jessica said. "We've known everyone for such a long time that they feel like family."
Sunday was another day of great preaching and singing. The Marshall sisters joined Bro. Blunkall for a lot of the music this weekend. They ended the week with another night of Camp Berean memories. There was pizza and basketball, a video of Camp Clips, and the evening was topped off with a time of soccer at a local indoor sports arena.
"It was snowing pretty hard outside, but we were crazy enough to stay up until 1 a.m. playing soccer!" Jessica laughed.
Bro. and Mrs. Marshall did not go to the sports arena.
The group made it safely home on Monday, January 15.
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