(Oh! This is another story of God’s provision and faithfulness, so I have to give a little background so you can appreciate it fully and that means the post is a little longer than usual).
I woke up early. Not in a panic, but clearly wondering what to do. How do we get to Australia for our family reunion and three confirmed STS workshops? And make it to the luau celebrations (in which my oldest daughter is dancing) by 1st August, meaning we have to be on a flight by Thursday morning for which we have no tickets!
I looked in our bank accounts online. The one here and the one abroad. No change.
We met to pray and commit it all to the Lord. I started to recall His promises and words to us.
- Psalm 23 telling us we would not be in want, that He would lead us and guide us for His Name sake, etc.
- A sense, that I had over a week ago, when someone saw a picture of us on a train together, that it would all work out.
- And then that memorable word at the start of the summer, when all the mountain of trips looked unreachable and idiotic to even consider … The Lord said to me one morning, “I’ve got this!”
Down to the wire and with 48 hours to go to cross the world and we have no tickets?!?
Back up a bit, this past week we did something pretty crazy. We bought rail passes to allow five of us to traverse Australia on trains, and we did this before buying the airplane tickets to Australia! (Just trying to follow the Shepherd and obey those prompts, so yes, buying rail tickets for somewhere 9,245 miles away makes perfect sense!). 😳😃
Yesterday morning I’m happily thinking we have the internal travel done and dusted for our trip and I’m praying about the tickets to Australia. We’re leaving for Milan airport on a train that kept losing its Internet connection and I get an email that says that our passes cannot be used as planned! I get on the phone and, literally, by the time I am in contact with the person who can deal with this issue, our flight home is being called!
A promise is made to me that they would look into it, but it is not looking good. The Australia office (nine and a half hours ahead of us) is already closed. Again back to prayer. Now we have no usable rail passes and no tickets to Australia!
We got home at about 1 this morning and I was up five hours later and soon thereafter we were back in prayer. Then I rang the UK rail pass people and find out that they have (amazingly!) resolved the rail pass issue by email with the rail company in Australia, and the passes are going to work for us after some necessary adjustments were made.
Still no flights. Nothing came in the mail except junk advertisements inviting us to spend money (we didn’t have!).
So no money available here in the UK and not enough to buy more than two tickets in our foreign account. We kept praying and thanking Him for the promises He has given and His faithfulness through this summer, and prayed that our needed miracle would bring Him much glory and also not allow us to be ashamed or dismayed.
Then, this afternoon, we get a message saying that money had been deposited overseas and, amazingly, that should be enough to pay for the tickets we hope to buy tomorrow.
Today’s deposited money still needs to clear. The tickets still need to be bought. But I think I hear the Lord saying again, “I’ve got this!”
Somewhat glad to leave the grey and rain of Ireland (pictured) yesterday morning on our 05:50 flight, and having spent most of the night awake – all of it in Vania’s case! – we were relieved by the welcome blast of heat and sun in Milan, when we finally reached Italy yesterday afternoon.
Arriving at the address, where we had rented a wee flat near the city centre, where Vania may be studying fashion design from September 2016, and, in the heat of the day, after a long walk from the nearest bus stop, we found our lodging (where the landlord had promised he would be waiting for us) all closed up and no one around.
A friendly old man we found on the street, who only spoke Italian, helped us by phoning a number (that received no answer), and, after some perseverance, we were soon in possession of some keys.
Meanwhile the landlord got in touch via text to say that the place wasn’t cleaned from previous tenants! <sigh>
Our dreams of collapsing on comfortable beds and sleeping for the rest of the day were quickly evaporating.
“When would the cleaners be here?”
“In 90 minutes. Sorry”
With Ami and Vania curled up and crashed on the only clean couch in the living room, I sat on a glorified foot stool and did email, waiting for the cleaners.
One hour past the 90 minute deadline, I texted the landlord saying cleaners still hadn’t arrived and really, he needed to act now!
Within a minute the cleaners actually arrived and were answering a phone call from an irate landlord.
Two hours later we were finally able to lay down on those comfortable beds!
Something about “striving to enter into that rest” (God has promised) took on a familiar meaning yesterday!
Here’s hoping the rest of this visit to Milan will be a little less demanding and stressful!
It strikes me as almost comical sometimes the way the Lord seems to bring a story (His Word) into play when a miracle is needed!
We had an instance of this last week in Costa. There we were, minding our own business as a group preparing the story of the fiery snakes in Numbers 21 (4-9).
One of the tribal guys in our gathering got a phone call. His dad had been bitten by a poisonous snake and the guy was immediately and understandably distressed, fearing for his dad’s life.
The moment he told me what had happened, in tears, it dawned on me what story we were looking at … how God brought life and health to those bitten by snakes!
I called the whole group to pray for our tribal brother and buddy, and for his father. His dad was in a remote part of the country and getting him to the hospital looked out of the question. Meanwhile, he had the presence of mind to tightly bind his arm with some cloth, but his arm was now badly swollen with the poison.
We monitored our brother and his phone over the next 24 hours and, in answer to our prayers, we began to see the wonderful hand and grace of our Lord in action:
- He made it alive to a hospital
- He was safely transferred and made it alive to another specialised hospital in another city
- He was discharged from the hospital
- He made it home and is completely healed from the snake bite!
The Living God who answers prayer.
He comes from a tribe in Costa Rica called the Chirripo tribe and he exemplified that deadpan and reserved expression I have seen so often among my friends among tribes in the Amazon, Panama, Nicaragua and now Costa Rica.
We were in Costa Rica last week doing an STS training and Jairo was in my small group (or tribe, as we like to call it, named after the tribes of Israel). He was particularly gripped by one story in the Old Testament and I could see him responding to it like none of the others we had worked on during the workshop.
I was keen to give everyone a chance to try and do a story presentation, and Jairo was more than ready to go for it. He told me afterwards he wasn’t even nervous!
In the small group, where he went to present his story, one of his countrymen, seeing Jairo pause for a while to gather his bearings, offered to help him deliver his presentation! I told him that Jairo was fine and he would not need any help. And it was true! Jairo delivered such a wonderful story about Moses, and led us into such a good discussion on it that everyone applauded him at the end!
This was one of the many stories from my recent trip to Costa Rica with STS to lead a Spanish training there. More stories to follow …