Saturday, April 20, 2013

a strange opportunity



 I remember it was Thursday because I was taking a young woman from Wisconsin out to the Villa.  She is already serving at another children's home but has sensed that maybe God is calling her to work with us so she came to check us out.   We decided to stop for coffee at my favorite coffee shop (Expresso Americano which is the Honduran version of Starbucks only much cheaper) which is situated on the left hand side of a major intersection on the way out to the Villa.    I put my blinker on and turned left and before we got to the other side of the road, a huge dump truck rammed into the passenger side of the flatbed KIA truck I was driving.  He pushed us about 4 feet before we stopped.  I was kind of in shock  and trembling so it took me a minute to check to see if either of us were bleeding or broken!  Miraculously we were both only  a bit sore and my left arm was swollen from banging into the door.  I got out to survey the damage:  a huge dent right behind the passenger door (which they tell me is the strongest part of the vehicle) another dent running the bed of the pickup and the back tire was gouged.   Before I had a chance to do anything else, 6 men came towards me and started shouting at me.  They said things like “look what you've done, you didn't have your blinker on etc etc.”  Only two of the men were actually in the dump truck and the rest had just come alongside them.  They started banging on the back of the truck and started muttering threats like wouldn't it be better if I settled with them right now.  I knew they wanted to intimidate me into giving them money but somehow I managed to hold my ground and told them we would just have to wait for the police.

 Fortunately the guard from the agricultural school saw what was happening and came over to the truck and did not leave us until the insurance guy came.   Our insurance man came 2 hours later and then we waited 4 more hours under the hot sun for the police to arrive.  I kept praying that God would somehow bring something good out of this.   Just before the police came the driver of the dump truck approached me again and wanted to settle.  He began to say things like, “everything always goes wrong for me”  and “ I can never get a break”.  He said, “I’m not like you, I don’t have tons of money (Oh my if he only knew the truth!).  By this time Elvia had joined us and she told him that perhaps God was trying to get his attention and that maybe his decisions had not been the best so far and that if he so desired, God could change his life.  He listened and then left us again to go and wait for the police.

Yesterday we met in court.  I was sure that the judge would rule in my favor because Mr. dump truck driver had ignored my blinker and was trying to pass me right at a major intersection.  So you can imagine my surprise when the judge turned to me and told me in no uncertain terms that I was totally at fault.  I had the hardest time wrapping my gringo brain around that thought!  She asked me if I disagreed with her verdict and I said “Totalmente”!  I felt my face getting hotter and imagined the redness creeping up my cheeks as she went on to explain that in HONDURAS the law states that the vehicle turning left on a highway has to pull over onto the shoulder on the right side and wait for the traffic to go by before turning left!  Is that absurd or what?  So she asked me again if I was in agreement with her.  I told her no, that I thought that the law was “absurdo” but that if that was the law, then I was at fault.  The truck driver looked elated.  Then God began to speak to me in that still small voice that sometimes isn't as still and small as one might like.  He said, “You need to apologize to him.”  “Whhaaaaat, you’re kidding, right?  Not only was I broadsided by this inattentive driver but now because of a ridiculous law it’s my fault and YOU want me to apologize to a man who was threatening me and badgering me and didn't even care if he hurt me?”  But you know how God is….He can be bossy  and so I didn't even have to orchestrate the going towards this man…..because God set it all up.  He was right in the line behind me to get our licenses  back.  The Lord then seemed to whisper to me again, “What’s a little dying to the flesh if it means this man will receive eternal life?”  Because with Jesus, death always bring forth life.  So I asked the Lord for the necessary grace and turned to face this man and asked him if he would forgive me.  He kind of looked down and muttered something I couldn't make out but when he lifted his head back up, there were tears in his eyes.  I then told him that I thought that perhaps God had allowed us to meet in this weird way because He wanted him to know that He was a God of mercy and grace and that He loved him and had a purpose for his life.  I shared how Jesus had died in his place so that he didn't have to die….that he only needed to confess his waywardness and accept the gift of eternal life that God was offering him.  Would he accept Jesus into his life as his Lord and Savior?  He made some excuses about work and then finally he said, “I know that what you are saying is the Truth.”  I wish I could tell you that we prayed right there, that the police desk had suddenly converted into an altar rail but it was not to be, at least on that day.  The truck driver chose to leave without asking God to take control of his life.  But I know that God does not waste anything and that God’s Word does not come back void.  He is after that young man.  So I pray for him to come to Jesus, to surrender his life once and for all so that he can experience true joy and peace and that things might go well for him.

 A strange opportunity to evangelize!