As I was sharing about my sweet husband in my last post, I remembered a story of God's goodness that is great for Memorial Box Monday. This wonderful tradition was started by Linny at A Place Called Simplicity. Click the bloggy button below to read about her inspiration behind this idea and to link to other stories of God's faithfulness in their lives.
This story takes place August of 2008 in Guatemala. We were one year into our adoption of Daniel (that ended up taking two and a half years). We visited as often as we could so he would know we hadn't forgotten about him and to build our relationship with him. It was Brad's "turn" to visit. I remember waiting each night he was away for a phone call with the full report of what they had done that day. Sometimes I'd even get to hear Daniel's little voice on the phone saying, "Hola, Mama. Te amo mucho." (Hi, Mom, I love you so much.) I'm so grateful I can hear that precious voice all the time now.
But this particular night when Brad called, his voice was different. It surprised me because I knew he had planned to go with friends and the children they were adopting/sponsoring to a waterpark. I knew something was wrong. My mind went in all directions wondering if a child had drowned. Oh, dear God, what if it was Daniel. I could hear him choking up as he spoke. I patiently waited for the words to come, hoping this story ended happy.
Fortunately he opened with, "Kathie, God was with us today." With those words, I let out a sigh of relief.
He continued, "We had a wonderful day at the waterpark. Daniel and V. [one of the girls we sponsor] had such a precious time. It was the first time either had gone swimming. They loved the bathingsuits you sent. Anyway, the kids were worn out from our day of fun. Doug [one of our friends] was driving for our hour and a half trip back to the orphanage. I was sitting in the front next to him with Daniel asleep sitting in my lap."
Okay. Just a little side note that we would never normally let our children sit in the front seat on our laps. But when you find yourself in a van without seatbelts, trying to cram 10 people in for a day of fun, well, you find yourself doing some "when in Rome/Guatemala" kinds of things.
Brad went on, "Then out of nowhere, some people hiding in a ditch on the side of the road threw a rock, the size of a small watermelon, at our van. By God's grace it hit the bar that separates the windshield and door window on the passenger side. It shattered the windshield but miraculously the rock bounced off the bar and didn't break through. If it had, the speed and impact would have been enough to have killed me or Daniel."
We certainly rejoiced over God's protection that day. It was heartbreaking to imagine getting a phone call from Guatemala from one of our friends letting me know that Brad or Daniel had been killed. But I don't think we really understood exactly what God spared them from that day till a couple months later.
I was reading on a Guatemala adoption website a link posted from the U.S. Department of State with a travel advisory. They mentioned that stretch of highway that Brad and our friends had traveled on that day. They said that some people had been hiding in ditches, throwing things at cars. When the tourists stopped to survey damage or see what happened, these people would rob them and often even physically and sexually assault passengers.
When I read that I wept. I thought the thrown rock was just a silly prank. But not only had God spared Brad and Daniel from possibly fatal injury, He protected that entire van of two men, three women, and several little girls and boys from unthinkable violence. Praise God that the rock didn't come through the windshield and that our friend Doug had the wisdom to just keep driving instead of stopping to assess the damage.
I have put a small rock in our Memorial Box to remind us of God's protection that day. It also reminds me to pray fervently for my friends and family who are on mission trips or are traveling to complete adoptions.
Thank you, Mighty Father, for never ceasing to guide and protect us.