It was in the pickup when I was alone and on my way out to the Villa that I had this thought that turned into a prayer. I was thinking about all the divine appointments that God had orchestrated while I was in the States last week, especially in New York City. And the thought/prayer was, "Lord, there is so much need in this country and an appointment set up by Your hand would be a blessing. I want to experience You today." I thought about how I was alone in the van and perhaps someone needed a ride. And then other thoughts took over.
Elvia and I had already scheduled an appointment to interview a 14 year old girl who our administrator Saira knew from her village. We picked her up at the bus station along with her step-father and went to drink coffee at Honduras' version of Starbucks called Expresso Americano. It was a good conversation and a very divine appointment in it's own right. This young girl shared her story and it was clear that she was a captive needing desperately to be set free. It was agreed that she would return the next day with her belongings. The sense of excitement washed over me as we went our separate ways for today. It's the feeling that I have become familiar with because it happens each time our family grows.
On the way back to the Villa there was a gaggle of girls hitching a ride on the side of the road. They were all uniformed in their school attire and they giggled as they got into the van. Elvia scolded them for bumming rides (it's very dangerous to do that in this country with the way things are) and then proceeded to ask them if they attended church. We discovered that all three of them were from the village that Jericho Villa is a part of. And they all attended the local church but one of them had not given her life to Christ. She listened as I shared about heaven being a free gift and by the time we reached the village she was ready to pray and ask Jesus to come into her heart. She bowed her head there in the back of the van and received the gift of eternal life. So precious. It was then that I remembered the prayer from the early morning journey to the Villa.
|The fire just as it started out of the fire pit|
It was after lunch that the fire incident occurred. It was the answer to the second part of the prayer earlier in the day....the one of experiencing God. I was sloshing some poisonous liquid onto one of our wooden benches to kill the termites and Leslie was helping me. I heard the distant cries from the children out behind the main building but for some reason they didn't register. I slopped some more death onto those pesky termites when Leslie screamed, "Mama Bets, FIRE!" Suddenly I realized that something very-not-good was happening and I ran with the rest of the children to the back of the building where we have a large fire-pit for burning garbage. The garbage burning had gotten out of control and flames were everywhere inside and outside the pit. I began to come to and realized I needed not only to help put the fire out but also keep 16 children from getting hurt.
Josue was already teetering on rocks way too close to the burgeoning flames. I yelled for him to stay back and in a half crazed state started to hit those flames with anything I could find including my flip flops which was not very productive. I noticed our new boy Harold lugging a huge 5 gallon jug of water trying to whip out the water over the flames. He had been too long in the heat and smoke so I wrenched the jug from him and managed to put out more of the flames. The wind did not do us any favors and the fire seemed to move like huge waves. It did not look good. It was Angie who had the brilliant idea of opening the spigot on the water tank. The water swooshed out and all the children could now easily fill their many and sundry water receptacles. I don't know how long we stayed out there working as if some unknown hand was orchestrating our movements. I only know that I was overwhelmed at how well we worked together to keep that baby, that wild wild fire, from ruining our home. We stood there in the soot and smoke and thanked God, hand in hand, for delivering us.
|Daniel and Paola reenacting the drama of the fire!|
That evening for supper we ate home made flour tortillas and beans outside near the outdoor clay stove since the electricity was once again turned off for God-only-knows what reason. I decided it was time to try an old recipe I had invented years ago when I lived in a small village and sometimes, as a result of a lack of available desserts, I would put peanut butter and chocolate chips on flour tortillas and then toast them until everything melted together. It was one gooey fun mess and the kids loved it. The trauma of the unexpected fire fighting seemed to lessen by the minute.
We thought that we were in the clear, that the gallon after gallon of water lugged and splashed all over the place had done it's work. So I was surprised when I was finally in bed and writing this to hear my name once again being screamed by young girls who were frantic because the flames had reappeared. It was well after 11 pm and this time I responded faster than the last. We all did. It seemed strange that the very area that had burned was burning again. Suddenly Mario, one of our volunteers, began to holler FIRE AQUI at the top of his lungs. Not only was there fire behind the house but the outdoor clay oven had somehow also gotten out of control and the wood panels lovingly put up by a volunteer group were now on fire. Now the children were becoming frightened. It was one thing to go through one fire but THREE in one day? The enemy had definitely overplayed his hand.
Just like with the initial fire, we now stood together to fight the spiritual battle that we knew was raging against us. I was amazed at the spiritual perception of the children. They knew that we needed to fight not against flesh and blood but against the principalities of darkness. They prayed like I have never witnessed before. Little Miguel had his eyes tightly shut and his hands raised and was walking to and fro and praying out loud with a fervor I have never seen in this child. Mario led the worship and while they praised and prayed, I led a small band to anoint the buildings with oil and proclaim His protection. It was after midnight when we sensed God's peace and that we could all sleep. We thanked Him over and over that we were all safe and healthy and that the fire had been contained.
Always God brings good. That combo of earth, wind, and fire all mixed with water was not pretty. It got all over us and I think I even slept with it between my toes. But it drove us to a deeper place under His wings. And that is always worth it. We experienced Him in the middle of the fire.