We got to hear the first part of this story a few weeks ago… How our team saw God change and rescue the hearts of people in Boquillas.
But there was more than just the Spirit of God moving. Lurking in the shadows, there was an enemy who hates rescues…
Walking past stone walls and little farms, anxiety was kicking up inside me like the dust from the dirt road. My pace quickened, thinking about Hope and Deb reeling with the news. We knew God wanted us in Mexico, so why was He letting this happen?
“What are we going to do, Daddy?” David asked, looking up at me as we walked through the town square. Honestly, I had no answers. Hope testing positive for COVID meant she couldn’t fly home. There was no way around it.
“I don’t know, David,” I said.
We walked through the doors of the house, and there was Hope, standing in a circle of people. Cheryl’s arm was around her, and Deb was rubbing her back. She was trying to be strong, but her eyes were wet with tears.
“Hey Hope,” I said, moving toward her with a hug. I held her for a moment, and when I saw her trembling smile, my heart broke.
Immediately, we started planning. Deb mentioned a friend who was in Mexico with a positive test. She was able to fly domestically to Tijuana and cross the CBX bridge into San Diego. It was worth a quick text, so Deb grabbed her phone.
Wanting to be the man, I insisted, “I’m going with Hope.” Steve and Nate leaned against the kitchen counter looking up flights. Then a text came back from Deb’s friend. The words on the phone glared back at us: “Crossing the border with COVID is illegal, and Mexican prisons are no joke.”
There were other options. Someone approached Cheryl and told her about a doctor who could give us a negative test for a small fee, but lying missionaries didn’t exactly fit with the whole WWJD idea. The airport was always an option. There were COVID tests being given there. Maybe after a few days, Hope could test again and get a different result.
Nothing was settled as the team gathered in the courtyard. All of us tried to stay positive, but the news about Hope felt dark.
In the midst of so much God had done, why this? After some time to debrief, with questions and planning swirling around in our heads, Steve suggested, “Let’s pray for Hope.” Chairs screeched against the concrete patio as people got up and circled around her. “Hope,” Steve said, looking her in the eyes, “Many times before Jesus healed people, He’d ask what they wanted.” Heads nodded, and Steve continued. “So Hope, what do you want Jesus to do for you?”
Hope opened the palms of her hands. “I want a negative test at the airport,” she said. The morning sun lit up our little circle as people offered humble pleas, and then David White prayed, “Lord, you changed water into wine, and you can change the chemistry of Hope’s blood.”
Eventually it was clear—we needed to let go. If God wanted us home, He’d make a way. Planning stopped. No more surfing cell phones for flights. No more worrying about lying at the border.
Two days later, our family left for the airport early; Hope was getting one more COVID test. She sat next to me on the bench seat in the back, and I thought about God telling Abraham to sacrifice his son.
It wasn’t some psycho thought. I wasn’t planning on ending Hope, but I could relate to the weight Abraham felt not knowing what would happen once he and Isaac got to the top of that mountain. Each step they took up must’ve been so hard. Driving past small Mexican farms and into the city, everyone chatted about the week, but I kept wondering what would happen at the airport.
Pulling into the parking lot, the white COVID testing tent was easy to spot. People in gowns moved in and out, and as we walked up, our final steps felt like Abraham’s—heavier than ever.
The test wasn’t long. Hope was soon standing with all of us, pacing back and forth, until finally, someone came to the window, calling out her name.
“Okay guys,” I said, waving everyone over. We all hurried to the window. The man in the white gown pulled out a slip of paper. He turned it around and moved it toward us. There in bold letters, we saw it—”NEGATIVO.”
Standing in a private corner of the parking lot, we put our arms around each other, tears welling in our eyes, and thanked God.
When Abraham and Isaac got to the top of that mountain, the story didn’t end like they thought. God provided a miracle, a ram to sacrifice in place of Isaac, and the two of them walked down the mountain together. Imagine the relief. No more heavy steps, no more questions, no more painful thoughts about being apart.
At the window of that tent, God provided our Mexico miracle.
When we walked into the airport, I saw the rest of the team. “Woohooo!” I shouted, smiling and pumping my fist. In an instant, the airport exploded with the sounds of cheering and laughter as everyone ran to Hope.
Steve walked out of the bathroom. “I could hear you guys all the way in there,” he shouted with a smile. More laughter, and then he shared an idea: “Some of us old people still know the doxology, so let’s sing it together.” He lifted his arms to cue us, and nobody hesitated.
“Praise God from whom all blessings flow…”
As the music of our voices echoed off the cement walls, there was joy. Not because we got the outcome we wanted, but because God was there, lifted up in praise.
From our prayers in the courtyard to our song in the airport, He heard us, and I’m sure He was smiling.
How could He not? He gave all of us a story, like fireflies in a jar, to relish and stare at in wonder, and with that moment lit up in the jars of our memories, we could trust Him with the mountains ahead.
I looked over at Hope, her eyes closed as she sang, and her smile said it all.
We may not know the end to each of our stories, but we know the One who writes them, and that was enough.
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