Planes, Trains, and...

broken suitcases.

Yes, it happens. Suitcases break. Especially when "one" (ie. ME) has been known to pack to the max, stretching zippers and pockets well past their intended limits.

We met up in Frankfurt without incident (unless you count B's hike due to mis-information from the airport staff from Terminal B to C and back to B) and were on our way to Moscow together. In May, we were surprised by the new airport. But we must have picked the day everyone chose to return to Moscow. It was a ZOO! Literally, there were thousands of people, school children returning from trips abroad and not one luggage cart to be found.

This presented a problem. We had more bags than hands. We tied (bags together), we negotiated (through the masses), and we went through the "Green Line" (nothing to declare." However, nothing says "something to declare" like to foreign exasperated women with 250 lbs of luggage.

The woman motioned for us to leave the throng we were moving through so our bags could be examined. Now, to let go of the managed and balanced suitcases, to place them on the x-ray machine made for one unhappy traveler. Sensing my frustration (indignation) the customs agent asserted her full authority and said, "that is not my problem, you are in customs." As I lifted the 70 lbs, the handle broke along with the last straw.

Once they were through the machine, I quickly retrieved mine and headed for the door. B was not so lucky. The agent asked her to open her bag. Out popped the toys, the games, the coloring books and other items for the orphanages. She pulled what we fondly refer to as "the orphan card.". "Deski-dome." (Orphanage in Russian) and put the sad face on in an effort to move the agent from potential "bribe mode" to "bless you" mode. It worked.

That's what happens when you take on the King's mission. Minions of the enemy set their sites on you in an effort to distract, discourage, disillusion, and disappoint.

We remain determined.

We stayed overnight with one of East West's former employees, we dined royally (on rabbit) and were treated like the Birthday Queens that we are.

Now we find ourselves stuck on the Olympic highway leading into the city and the train that will take us to Voronezh. Ann and Robert and the guys of Hope House are eagerly waiting for our arrival.

Our time has been impaired by traffic accidents (3) but it is no accident that we are here!

Onward, upward, through-ward to "the good works He prepared for us before the foundations of the world were laid."

Mission bound smiling
Birthday Girl
Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

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