Now that our time here is half over, let me take you back to our departure from Florida.
The bus that would take us to the airport pulled into the church parking area, and we began to load large luggage and boxes of supplies into the compartment at the back of it. We finished last minute details, stowed our carry-on bags above our seats, and headed off with some concern because, with so much stuff, and on an international flight, we wanted to be at the airport two hours ahead, but we had less than an hour to get there. Concern deepened when we ran into construction and had to detour around our exit.
We didn't waste much time grabbing our carry-on bags and piling out of the bus. Some stayed by the stuff on the sidewalk while the rest of us swung around the back of the bus for the rest of the luggage. We found the bus driver frantically trying keys in the compartment door lock with no luck. I tried myself, also to no avail. I ran back inside the bus, just to be sure there wasn't a way into the compartment from the inside. No joy. The driver was making an emergency call to his company. We were already short on time, what would we do if we couldn't get our supplies?
I sent up a silent, on-the-run prayer, asking the Lord to help us. It occurred to me that something might have shifted in there, putting pressure on the door and not allowing it to open. When I got back to the compartment, I grabbed the compartment door handle, pushed and turned. As I rebounded from the push, the door opened! The Lord had blessed!
The best part of the story though, is that the driver soon after said that I had saved him, but I had the opportunity to explain to him how it was not me--it was God who stepped in to rescue us all. A curious look crossed his face as he thought about it.
Rushing in to baggage check-in, we came to our second miracle. The agents checking our bags in were able to put some of the boxes in as regular checked luggage. What we thought would be about $300 worth of overage fees turned out to be only $90. Praise the Lord!
The agent helping Patty and I asked if we were part of a group, and what we were doing. I had the opportunity to say that we were part of the Seventh-day Adventist church and that this was a mission trip. Again, a curious look came over someone as we talked about Whose business we were on.
After baggage check-in our group gathered to head up to security. Just then the agent who had helped us with checked luggage came up to me. She quickly related that she had lost a son, brutally beaten to death. She then had relived it seven times as the case wound through the court system to find those responsible.
She said, "You're not my religion, but you believe in God. Would you pray for me?" We clasped hands and prayed. Please continue to remember this lady in prayer.
As we flew the many miles to El Salvador, I thanked God for His blessings almost before our trip had hardly started. Another thought then occurred to me. We didn't even have to leave Florida for our mission work to begin.
You may never get to go to far away places to help someone, but perhaps, as you too become missionary minded, you won't have to.