We were standing in the Kinshasa airport in dazed panic about what to do about our daughter’s passport and boarding pass being held by the officer behind the barred-in window, when suddenly, our beautiful African friend in the crisp white blouse who had ridden in the van with us appeared, and asked if everything was okay.
“No, it’s not. They’ve got Addie Rose’s passport and boarding pass, and they won’t give it to us.”
Without even discussing it further, our beautiful African friend stepped up to the window and started shouting at the official.
Oh no. Please don’t make it worse. Please don’t make it worse. Please don’t make it worse.
Then, the officer handed us Addie Rose’s boarding pass and passport through the window and waved us on to the next station. Just like that.
She didn’t make it worse. She fixed it. It was as if she was an angel sent by God when we needed a miracle. I told her that, and she smiled broadly and shook her head meekly.
We made it through the rest of the checkpoints successfully — visa processing, security, luggage hand searches, body scanning, and probably a few others, relatively without incident.
As we were waiting at the gate to board the bus to the plane, I asked our beautiful African friend if I could have her email address. She asked for mine as well, and I wrote it out for her. As we exchanged index cards with our contact information, she pointed out, “I even wrote it in all capital letters so you can be sure to read it.” Indeed, it was very clear, and she had also clearly printed her name so I could read it as well. I tucked it in my carry on, knowing that I would be sending her great thanks when we got back to the United States.
I encouraged her to join Facebook, so we could easily keep in touch and she could see pictures of the children, and she said she would like that. I told her that I had friends in Chicago, and used to visit there often for fun, and I would see what I could do to help her once we made contact in the United States. She thanked me for speaking with her and encouraging her on her way to America. She felt as if the Lord were confirming to her that she was exactly where she needed to be as well.
The bus came to take us to the plane, and we parted ways.
Back in the United States, I have tried to reach our beautiful African friend, studying theology in Chicago. I carefully typed in her clearly printed email address, and sent her heartfelt thanks.
No such address exists.
I’ve double checked the address. Tripled checked it. Stared at the clearly printed letters to see if there is any other interpretation for what was written. No.
I’ve searched for her on Facebook with her clearly printed name to see if we could be friends and communicate that way. No such user.
We’ve checked the Catholic divinity schools in Chicagoland. No student under that name could be found.
Perhaps she had enough of us and didn’t want to hear from us once she reached America. Maybe she changed her email address once she arrived in the United States. Maybe she misplaced our contact information too.
Or maybe she really was an angel, sent to us at that very moment on the prayers of the army of saints who were praying us home.