This Thanksgiving, there is just one thought in my mind, I have so much to be thankful for.
Experiences that I have been through recently have given me a greater perspective on God’s care, provision, supply and unique way that he chooses to accomplish his will.
As a sinner saved by grace, I should be thankful day in and day out for the eternal salvation given to me through Christ’s death on the cross. Yet often times, in my daily life, in the problems and trials I face, it slips from memory and I forget to see the hand of God.
One recent experience was a wonderful reminder that God is watching out for me, those around me, and each and every one of his children around the world.
While traveling through Mexico on our way up to U.S. to speak at churches and raise funds for our ministry, we had an adventure. I tell my kids we don’t take trips, we take adventures. On a trip you know where you are going, where you will be staying, you have plane tickets, hotels, and, most importantly, money. On our adventures, I usually just have a general idea of where I am headed, an inkling of what doors may open, and a conviction in my heart that God is leading us in this direction.
I do everything I can to get ready for these trips and get my van in the best working condition possible, yet still, things happen that while they may be out of our control, are within Gods.
Before each of these trips, I spend extra time in prayer. I am well aware of the dangers and challenges that are in intrinsic part of driving over 2500 miles from Central America to New Orleans. During my times of prayer for this trip, I had a feeling in my heart that something would not necessarily go as planned, so I prayed for God to give me peace when it happened.
Sure enough, on the first day of the trip, we had transmission trouble at 6 o’clock at night, in the mountains of southern Mexico, quite near the middle of nowhere.
After pulling off the road, I realized that this might just be “it”. I calmly got out of the van, walked up the road to get a signal on my phone, and called for a tow truck. After waiting for an hour with no tow truck, I felt that safety was most important, so I started up the car and very slowly made our way to the next town.
We found a hotel, where the manager ended up discounting our room by %50, and on Monday, started looking for a transmission mechanic. I looked in a phone book, and one particular place caught my eye. Upon arrival I found a mechanic who was willing to look over our vehicle, he was very intrigued by our mission work, and, after explaining about our ministry, and what we were doing traveling through Mexico with six children, he shared with me his story.
He had been raised a catholic, yet had not really walked with God much in his life. Two years ago two of his children died, and it broke his life. He told me how much it meant to him that we were dedicating our lives to serving the poor, the orphaned, the vulnerable, that we cared for both their eternal souls, and their earthly lives, that we worked hard to provide the children with life skills so that they can lead productive lives.
Despite having several other cars in his shop, he agreed to put all his mechanics to work on our transmission. Over the course of the next few days, I talked with him, and by the end of the job, when our car was ready to go, I was able to pray with him.
As I thanked him for fixing our car, he thanked me for ministering to him. And as I drove away I realized just how much I have to be thankful for. I could have broken down in a worse place with no one to help me and no place for my family. There could have been no parts available, as is often the case in small towns in Mexico. Yet, God, in his infinite wisdom and love, chose to have us break down in a place of His choosing, and lead me to a mechanic who He wanted me to reach.
I realized to, just how much I have to be thankful for, both to God, and also to the friends and family who immediately pitched in and gave generously through an online fundraiser so that covered the repairs and our stay in Mexico.
Among the many things to be thankful in this experience, was the fact that while waiting for the van to get fixed, we were able to visit some beautiful places in Mexico and share our faith we some wonderful people.
When I realize all the many things God has done to care for and provide for me, my heart can’t help but be filled with gratitude.