In 1998, I was working as a Market Training Manager for Circuit City. My responsibilities included organizing and facilitating most of the training for 31 stores in Northern California. The training department was gearing up for the holiday selling season & was about to announce the introduction of DIVX.
My manager, who worked out of New Jersey, had arranged for all the trainers from California, Arizona, and the Northeast get together for a week’s stay at a cabin in New Jersey that belonged to a friend of hers. While there, we worked on the training agenda for the upcoming holiday selling season and the roll out of a new product designed by Circuit City called DIVX.
At the end of the week we visited a few stores and then all headed home. The company had paid for my round trip flight from Oakland to JFK airport and back, as well as a rental car. A coworker and I had flights at about the same time, so I dropped her off at JFK airport, returned the rental car, and boarded my flight.
I had been up about 18 hours when I boarded my flight, which was scheduled to have a short layover in Dallas / Ft. Worth, so I took a nap. When I awoke, the flight attendant was announcing “Thank you for flying American Airlines now arriving at Dallas/Ft. Worth. If you will be continuing on to Oakland and want to exit the plane, please remember to take your boarding pass.” She then proceeded to call out the gates for other connecting flights. I double checked my ticket to make sure I didn’t have to change planes, then went back to sleep.
About 35 minutes later, I awoke to passengers getting on the plane so I straightened up, checked my seatbelt, and prepared for takeoff. I noticed that the flight crew had changed, and while people were boarding, two women had entered the front of the plane complaining and frantically checking the overhead luggage bins for their bags. When they found them, one of the women mumbled a curse about the airlines and got off the plane.
Once all the passengers had boarded, the flight attendant announced that takeoff would be delayed another 15 minutes because the Captain hadn’t yet arrived. He was flying in from Rochester, and storms had delayed their arrival.
Finally the Captain arrived and we taxied out onto the runway. I was really tired, and glad to be getting home to my family. Just before takeoff, the flight attendant announced “Thank you for flying American Airlines, now departing for Denver, Colorado..”
What?! I thought, DENVER COLORADO?, This plane is supposed to be going to Oakland California… what’s going on?!
In a panic, I jumped up and quickly headed to the back of the plane towards the two flight attendants seated for takeoff. One of the flight attendants immediately told me to be seated and buckle in, that we were about to takeoff. I sat down next to here, buckled in and explained that something was wrong. My ticket said this flight was supposed to be going on to Oakland, not Denver. She didn’t know what I was talking about, but said she would find out as soon as we were airborne.
My mind was racing. What was going on. I was sure I was on the right plane. My ticket said so. When we landed the flight attendant said so. At that moment I heard the LORD say in a quiet voice, “Are you going to freak out, or are you going to trust me?” I thought, “Oh, uh, I guess I’m going to trust you LORD.” Immediately a supernatural calm came over me and I relaxed. Then I began to laugh. Cool! What does the LORD have planned?
After we got airborne, I took out my ticket and showed the flight attendant. She looked puzzled and said that according to the ticket, I was on the right plane but we were definitely going to Denver, not Oakland. I let her know that I didn’t have any money for another ticket, or hotel, car, etc. She reassured me that she would find out what happened and the airline would take care of it.
After making a call to the Captain, she asked if I wanted to call anyone to let them know what was happening. I told her I needed to call my wife (who really didn’t like when I was gone out of town for long periods of time). She gave me her personal credit card and I made the call. I was amazed at my wife’s reaction when I told her that the LORD was taking me on a detour to Denver Colorado and I wasn’t sure why yet. She simply said “Okay. Let me know when you’re on your way home so I can pick you up from the airport.” I seriously thought “Who was that on the phone?” The LORD reminded me He was in complete control.
I relaxed and enjoyed the flight, quietly rejoicing, wondering what was going to happen.
As we made our final descent into Denver, the flight attendant made the announcement “Thank you for flying American Airlines, now arriving at Denver International Airport…” At that moment, an older petite woman stood up in the middle of the aircraft and made her way back to where I and the flight attendants were seated. Puzzled, she asked in broken English with a thick accent “Why are we Denver Colorado?” The other of the two flight attendants (who by the way was very short with me the entire flight) proceeded to say something to the effect “Oh brother, we have another one. Didn’t you people hear the announcement before we took off?” She had known what was going on the whole time and didn’t tell us or the other flight attendant!
It turns out that because of the delays due to the storms at other airports, our flight had been moved to another plane – that’s the reason the lady was so upset looking for her carry on bag at the beginning of the flight. I hadn’t heard the second announcement after we had landed because I was asleep, and this woman barely understood English and had missed it too!
The nice flight attendant asked where the woman was from (because of her accent) and she said she was from Israel I laughed out loud and knew immediately why the LORD had me on that flight! He had me there to help her!
They made her sit down and buckle in until we landed. When we got off the plane we were supposed to have been met by a supervisor, who was going to get us accommodations and a flight out to Oakland the following day (we arrived at 10:30 pm and there were no more flights out that night.)
The supervisor took us to her office and made arrangements for a flight out the next morning on another airline, got us transportation to a hotel and proceeded to find us rooms at a local hotel. As she began to call the hotels, every single one in the greater Denver area was booked. I laughed and told her it would be the last one on the list. She looked at me, perturbed, and continued to call. When she got to the last hotel on her list (of about 20+ hotels), it was the only one that had rooms and it was about 30 minutes from the airport!
As we left the airport, the older lady proceeded to give me a piece of paper and was trying to ask to call the number on the paper. When I looked at it, I was awestruck again. It had writing in Russian on it. I immediately asked her where she was from again. She said Tel Aviv. I asked her “Where were you born.” She said Russia!
Here I was standing in front of a woman who was a fulfillment of God’s promise to Israel! He promised that He would gather Israel from the nations to which He dispersed them and bring them back into His land in the last days!
My mind raced.
I traveled on a missions trip to St. Petersburg, Russia in 1996 and learned a few sayings in Russian. So I looked at her and said “Хвалите Бога” which means “Praise God!” She raised her hands in the air and said “Хвалите Бога.”
I laughed outloud with joy! Then I said “Хвалите Господа” which means “Praise the Lord!” Then I said “Иисус является спасение” which means “Jesus is Salvation!”
I paused for her reaction.
She said “Well, maybe.”
I wanted to shout praises! Ha Ha!
The next day she got on her flight to Oakland to visit her friend and was gone.
I took a later flight home. The following day I called my boss and told her the whole story. After listening quietly, her only words were “Wow.” Then she hung up.
Glory to God in the Highest. He is so wonderful and I thank Him immensely for the privilege of being allowed to participate in the things He does.
Jer 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.
Eph 2:10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.