Stranded in an airport: The prayer that helped Willie get home

With COVID-19 causing chaos at the airport, ADRA Papua New Guinea emergency coordinator Willie Kunsei experienced the power of a simple prayer.

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Willie Kunsei (right) with 27-year-old AAS pilot Matthew Mati. (Credit: ADRA)

Willie Kunsei is the emergency coordinator for ADRA in Papua New Guinea. A few weeks ago, as the COVID-19 crisis was just beginning to grip the world, he was in the midst of a very specific problem: trying to get home on a plane that was not leaving. Instead of berating the airline staff, as his fellow passengers were doing, Willie took a different route.

“I noticed that the supervisor was overly stressed. I asked him if I could pray with him. He reluctantly agreed. So we prayed asking God for His leading and peace at that stressful moment. After we finished, I told him that whatever happens from here on is in God’s hands.

“I did not make my flight on Monday. The supervisor had the task to face 100-plus disgruntled passengers. He was dreading that moment, but when we brought our grievances to be addressed, it was instead to the airline manager. I didn’t notice that in the moment, as we all got the necessary information and left for the night.

“On Tuesday morning by 7am we were all back at the airport hoping and praying to get home. At the gate we were advised that only those who had a boarding pass would be allowed entry into the terminal. I had not checked in, so I did not have a boarding pass.

“At the gate when the guard asked for my boarding pass, I confidently said that Lionel (the supervisor I prayed with the night before) had my arrangements. We all stood in line, and there was Lionel, checking everyone in. When he saw me, he gave me a big smile and told me to wait on the side. He assured me that I was going home.

“After serving everyone, he motioned me over to the counter. ‘Thank you for the prayer,’ he told me. ‘It made my evening. We were able to manage the queries without hassle. My supervisor was there to answer the questions, usually he doesn’t come back. I believe that it was an answer to the prayer.’

“Psalms 46:10 reminds us always to take time to ask for God’s leading. In the midst of stress and confusion, always take time to pause. God answered our prayers. I was not able to travel on Monday night, but Lionel believes in prayer again. Instead of having to address the angry passengers, God allowed his superior to be there at the right time. It is always most important to give glory and honor back to God.

“Keep safe everyone during the lockdown. Now more than ever this is the opportunity to reconnect with family and reconnect with God.”

Take Willie’s advice as you start another unpredictable week. Use this time to connect with family and God, and when the global health crisis has ended, we will all emerge stronger and more faithful.