Essential reporting in volatile times.

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The lady at the ticket counter was in a TERRIBLE mood. She looked us up and down and immediately declared that our carry-ons were overweight.

She marched around the counter holding a small metal bar with a hook and picked up my bag first. "This is three kilos!" she announced loudly. "You are only allowed two!" I began taking things out of my carry-on.

I grabbed the new black skirt I had gotten from a consignment store for the trip. I handed it to one of the others. We switched items around trying to adjust the weight.

Finally, after much metal bar weighing, we were ready to go! Whew and PTL!

We were headed to Africa; this was the second leg of our journey. Our checked bags held important medicines for a medical clinic in a very impoverished part of Nairobi; our backpacks and carry-ons held all our clothes. The trip would take a day and a half, but we knew it would be worth it.

When we arrived at our destination, I reminded my teammates that they had some of my stuff. As they unpacked their suitcases, some items reappeared, but my black skirt was nowhere to be seen.

During the annual medical clinic, a government official came to "monitor" what is going on. She was wearing a BLACK SKIRT! I made jokes to the others that she was the one who had swiped it.

Each day, I encouraged my teammates to give their cases a really good look for MY BLACK SKIRT - for the love. Someone had stuck it in the front zippered part of their carry on. I could remember it perfectly. They all shook their heads. They were sure they didn't have it.

On the last evening, I began packing my bag for the trip home. I couldn't believe my skirt had not been found. It was a GOOD skirt, too! The PERFECT one to wear on a mission trip to church. My poor friends had just overlooked it in their stuff. I prayed, "Lord, you KNOW who has my skirt. Would you please help them find it and help them to have the courage to fess up to it?" Bless their hearts.

Within five minutes, I found my fabulous skirt in the FRONT ZIPPERED PART OF MY CARRY-ON just like I remembered. Except I didn't remember it being in MY BAG!

I wanted to just keep it a secret. No one really needed to know. We could just mark that up as a funny thing that happened on the mission trip. The End.

But my heart wouldn't let me! As soon as I could get the team together, I told them, "I need to apologize." And they knew before I said another word. Dadgumit!

Are you quick to blame others for things you do? Matthew 7:3 reminds me, "Why do you look at the speck in your brother's/sister's eye but don't notice the stretchy black skirt that is in your own suitcase?!" Wait, that's not really how it goes. It says: "Why do you look at the speck in your brother's/sister's eye but don't notice the log in your own eye?"

I learned many things in Kenya. One of them was don't be quick to point fingers!

Dawn Reed writes a weekly column for HD Media. She can be contacted at