The term airbus took on a new meaning for me when my plane departed the runway at Niamey, Niger. It wasn’t so much the chicken being chased down the aisle by the young boy; he apparently was supposed to keep it contained for our flight. It was that the whole episode had upset the goat. The carry-on rule was loosely enforced on Ethiopian Airlines back in 1997. My destination was N’djamena, Chad.
I settled in for the flight seated next to a gentleman who did not speak English. I do not speak French or Arabic. (As former French colonies, French is still the language of commerce in North Africa.) After things settled down, a stewardess offered us a cup water or coffee. I opened my book and sipped the coffee gingerly. I was on my way to encourage some of our missionaries in Chad’s capitol city and lead a PrayerWalk with the leaders of the only Baptist church in town. We hit a little turbulence and a portion of my hot coffee landed on my seatmate’s thigh. I tried to apologize but I could tell he was not happy with me. I did the only thing I knew to do at the moment. I dug out of my carry-on a fun-sized bag of M&M’s and handed it to him. He smiled, I smiled and everything else went well. Never travel without M&M’s, bubble gum or hard candies.
One of the realities of travel is encountering beggars, especially the children who beg. At first I carried a roll or two of freshly minted coins, but they now cause luggage screeners to search everything; therefore, the switch to candy. Our time in Chad was well spent with God’s power being evidenced in new ways for the believers and a new mission point started at the invitation of the leaders of a local village. But never underestimate the power of candy. Candy speaks a language of its own. It can thank, reward, apologize and even bring smiles in awkward situations. It is amazing how small kind acts can bring so much joy to others. Encourage someone today. Use candy, if necessary.
Keep healthy. Pray mightily. Enjoy your life today. Stay sweet. And let’s experience the love and power of God together.