Praise God for a safe and smooth border crossing yesterday as well as the drive all the way home. It’s about 1,000 miles from Dallas to home and Monday we drove 400 miles to Laredo and then the 600 remaining miles yesterday. We covered 5,006 miles in 32 days, changed beds 13 times, and passed around the same cold to each other at least 5 times.
The trip accomplished all that we set out to do:
- Help our teammates move back to the USA which involved packing in some of their things to take up to the Dallas area, helping them unload a Laredo, TX storage unit into a moving van, then unloading that truck and all that we brought up into another storage unit near Dallas.
- Beth and Cameron attended the 5 day MK Connection Retreat (a series of workshops and activities for the older MKs with our mission on the theme of re-entry to the USA, along with emotional, spiritual, social, and career guidance).
- I attended the week-long team leader meetings wherein a solid, seemingly unending stream of information was disseminated in 4 days (preceded by a full day of prayer and fasting).
- After those meetings we drove to FL to enjoy 2 days on a beach and visits with my parents and 3 of my 4 siblings and their kids. I shared a ministry update with my parents’ church and we were reacquainted with a family from my church/youth group experience from 30 years ago!
- I also fit in a couple of short meetings with my supervisor and met with a few other supporters and friends.
- The trip wound down in Dallas (after the return drive from FL) with final shopping and packing up the van to somewhere into the overloaded stage. We brought down a lot of personal and ministry items for others on this trip as few missionaries make this drive any longer, and we have a lot fewer missionaries here in Mexico these days.
Even looking over the receipts I still can’t imagine how we spent so much money, but so it goes with this kind of travel. Somehow God provides!
The border crossing was smooth although there is always something different with each crossing. This time when I entered the warm government building with a view of the Rio Grande River and the American flag on the other side, I discovered a long line of people waiting for car permission stickers. This is not unusual. What was a little unusual is that the officials weren’t doing anything. The reason for the lack of activity was that the computer payment system was down. So we stood and waited…and waited…and waited. Finally, they decided to process the permissions but people would have to pay cash. Hmmm…I had no idea how much cash I had in my wallet but I was pretty sure I didn’t have the $355 I would need to get through this line. As they slowly processed the 30 to 40 people in front of me…the system came back to life and I was spared that awkward moment of finding out if they would take both dollars and pesos which was the only way I could figure on paying without going back across to the USA and visiting a bank branch there. Whew! God is good!
We made it home a little before dark. We also discovered that the mosquito population around here has been undergoing a healthy explosion. It rained a lot since we’ve been gone.
After commenting that this was the first time we’ve ever driven to or from the border without seeing an accident scene somewhere long the way, our celebration was short-lived. Beth’s mother greeted us with the announcement that she was heading out to a late-night wake for an unsaved lady who had been run over in a street. I think her mother has had some connection with the women’s ministry at the main church across town. This gal had some drug issues and other problems. Apparently, she may have been stabbed and then thrown into traffic. Just another reminder that life is short, today is the day of salvation, and so many need still need to see and hear the Good News of forgiveness and life in Jesus Christ.
Well…here’s the only pic we took on the way home yesterday…we didn’t manage to grab a bike off this truck, but we were tempted to try as we eventually passed this guy…I still don’t know exactly how he managed to do this (and no, we were not THIS overloaded):