Friday, March 29, 2013

The Great Escape...

Smoke rises outside the hotel compound
There was little sleep on that Thursday night - at least for me. But I was in Matt's arms and we were in Gods hands, so as the sun rose on Friday morning there was peace in our tiny hotel room. A cold shower woke me up nicely, and some black coffee with a good bit of sugar would fill in the gaps. Things had not resolved over night. There was concern that the protest had spread to other communities along our path back to Guatemala City. Word had spread back home too, and legions of prayer warriors had taken post. We ate breakfast at the hotel restaurant  and waited for reliable information from our local church family. We were asked to go pack our bags. IF we left today, it would be through the jungle on foot. We were told to take only what we could carry. A bag with wheels is good. A bag you can lift over your head is best. We will have to cross a river. Be back here, in one hour, ready to leave. Clothes of all types, the heating pad, extra sun block and bug spray, various tools and work supplies, shoes, the bladders for our camel packs, snacks we'd not yet eaten - all packed in the suitcase we'd replace once we got back to the States, and placed in the district superintendents car for distribution at a later date.

The gate was the unknown
At last the word came. After negotiating with the protesters, our church friends were told we would be allowed to cross the protest line. Then after about 30 minutes of heartfelt pleading, the hotel owner agreed to open up the back entrance of the hotel, which lead thru the jungle on the back side of town. It was an Old Testament moment. The word came, and we fled. NOW! WE LEAVE NOW! They did not give us silver. But, the church men were there again - so that did mean no carrying a suitcase for me! We even talked about the OT story where God led His people with a pillar of fire and a pillar of cloud. We had pillars of smoke, and God's men to lead us :-) In the light of day, for me there was no fear. No panic. A well maintained bridge provided safe and easy passage over the river, so no swimming was needed and the Pastor did not need to pray for the waters to part. The pace was quick. Once or twice we had to stop to let others catch up and to take a drink of water. It was a lot like walking in a mix between hilly tree line and corn fields. We were always on a path, so it wasn't like we were cutting our way out of the jungle. We met up with the road fairly close to where the protest line had been. It was moved further out, and now all that remained were the smoldering tires. When we got close enough to see the line of protesters, we were also close enough to see the federal police. The police saw us too, and we passed without hindrance. There was the potential for harm. The potential for greater complication. Things could have got very sticky very fast. God was there the whole time and so was the peace that only he can provide. He knew the whole story. He saw the whole plan.

There is song I heard by Chris Tomlin shortly after we returned home. It says in part:  Whom shall I fear? Whom shall I fear? I know Who goes before me, I know Who stands behind. The God of Angel armies, is always by my side.
Yeah - it was like that.

Two days later the dispute was over. That district, those churches, those people were AMAZING! There was such care for us. Our local team was so smart in the way the advocated for us, protected us, and wrapped us up into their local church family and just straight up loved us.   I would go back tomorrow, with my children and I'd suggest you pray hard about going too :-)

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