"Eventful" is an understatement

Last week was entirely too eventful to fit into one entry. I think 3 things specifically deserve mention. First of all, we did a pinata for the kids the last day we were at each site, so Tuesday at Anapra and Friday at Cristo Rey. We had a little trouble finding spots to hang them but eventually figured it out and the kids had a great time. At Anapra, Tony (hyperboy for those who know what I'm talking about) broke the head apart from the body but didn't break the whole thing open, so he grabbed the body and started running around the room with it...it was pretty funny. Then after the one at Cristo Rey, all the kids started mauling Chris, and even Armando was in on it. They even stole his shoes and hung them from the rafters!

The second two things are related and have to do with the fact that last week will forever be known as my initiation into driving the mission's 15-passenger vans, even though I had already been doing so for a few weeks. First off, the van I was driving died on the bridge on Wednesday. It died the first time on Monday about 3 blocks from the mission, but thankfully a couple of the guys who were with me were able to fix it and we were just fine. They determined it was something to do with a relay, whatever that is. The next day it dies again, this time in Mexico about 5 blocks from the bridge. Not really a pattern I wanted to start, but once again they were able to get out and fix it quickly by doing the same thing they had done the day before.

THEN, we're coming back on Wednesday, and it dies on the bridge. I made sure the same guys were with me after the previous 2 days, so they got out and took care of it in 37 seconds and we thought we were good to go. Until it died again a few minutes later. Today wasn't going to be so easy. We rolled out of the line and off to the side so they could try a few other things, to no avail, so finally we got back in line and then pushed it through the guard station and into the U.S. Chris's van had already gotten through so he and another guy walked back to help. At this point, our thought was that maybe it was out of gas. Chris told me that the first thing I always needed to do when I got in the vans was look at the gas gauge, and I admit that I hadn't that morning. There was NO reason why it should have been on empty only 3 days after it was completely filled up, but I still felt horrible and Chris made fun of me a lot. So once we were completely through the border, Chris took his van to go get us some gas while the guys kept looking at ours. By the time he came back with 2 gallons, we had determined that even if it had been on empty, which they were pretty sure it hadn't (they banged on the side and then listened for sloshing while everyone inside shook it back and forth), there was more wrong than that. It still didn't start, so we wound up rolling it to a parking spot, trying unsuccessfully to jump it, and then having Genaro come and use a chain attached to the back of his pick-up truck to tow it back to the mission. Even though we figured out that it wasn't my fault, I still felt kind of responsible for it and was pretty stressed for the rest of the night, but I got lots of hugs from the group and they all told me multiple times that I handled it really maturely so that made me feel better.

It works just fine now, and I realized looking back that I am very thankful for 2 things: 1) there were guys with me who knew what to do since I know nothing about cars except for how to drive them; and 2) the van didn't die until we were on the downhill side of the bridge. God was most definitely watching out for us.

So I was driving the other van the next day (with anyone brave enough to ride with me again ;)) and we get pulled over going INTO and coming out of Mexico. The first time I got pulled over in Mexico was on the way up to Anapra and I flipped out. Thankfully Chris was with me. This time I was alone, but maybe the previous day's events had taught me to just take everything in stride. We got the initial green "PASE" light, but then the van was flagged down and I had to pull over while our other 2 vehicles made it through. I was asked to open the back door, and then the officer, who was very polite, asked what we were doing. When I answered him in Spanish that we were going to do a medical clinic at a church we were immediately waved on.

Then coming back across the border we get stopped again, this time at the guard station. He collected everyone's passports, and then asked me a rather odd question: if anyone had had a recent medical procedure. We spent the rest of the time we were waiting trying to figure out what that was all about, but it turns out they were getting false radiation readings or something so maybe he was wondering if anyone had had cancer treatments. So they stuck a thingee under the windshield wiper and we waited for like 20 minutes until the guy came over, apologized for the wait, made everyone get out except for me, took all my license info (he seemed really confused by the fact that I had a MO license and all my passengers were from MO and MI but the van had TX plates), made me drive through some kind of detector thing, and then waved us on.

So I think I've pretty much touched on everything now; "eventful" is probably an understatement!

Until next time, blessings!


Anonymous said…
WOW!! I think that might be the only way to describe your bad/good luck. Dad never even had that much trouble with the vans. Hope this pattern doesn't continue even though it makes great stories.