God’s Timing is Perfect

"God's timing is perfect" was my refrain all last weekend. 

As I soaked up my last few days in St. Louis, the reality that COVID might jeopardize the planned Puerto Rico short-term team hit. We wouldn't know in time for me to do anything other than board my early morning flight on Friday, though, so I did. And then we sat on the tarmac. And sat some more. The longer we sat, the tighter my connection got until making my next flight was an impossibility. 

God's timing is perfect. Have you ever been on a plane when a flight attendant came over the loudspeaker asking if there was a doctor on board? I don't think I have, but as I impatiently checked the American Airlines app for updates, I heard a flight attendant a few rows back ask if there was anyone on board who spoke Spanish! ¡Yo sí! I proceeded to meet a Columbian woman named Berta, with whom I shared the latest from the flight deck. It was nothing of value, really - all of us were going to miss our connections - but I hope hearing it in her heart language was of some comfort to her. I'm convinced I was on that plane for a reason. 

God's timing is perfect. I arrived in Miami with a flight from San Juan to Mayaguez scheduled for later that afternoon, but no way from Miami to San Juan! It was a God thing that there were seats on another flight to San Juan just a couple hours later than my original one AND a subsequent flight to Mayaguez...in a 9 passenger Cessna. 

God's timing is perfect. I had a text from the team leader when I landed. My coworker Ashley, whose role includes hosting PR short-term teams, picked me up, and we called him together from her car. We hung up with the understanding that we'd both have total respect for whatever he & the team decided, and that he'd let us know later that evening. 

God's timing is perfect. Friday nights mean compañerismo (fellowship) at church - a bonfire, dinner, singing, and Bible study. My phone pinged with The Email in the middle of a song of praise to the omniscient, omnipotent Lord of heaven and earth. No team. 

God's timing is perfect. I spent the next day, Saturday, in Ponce, where the church planting team had elected to go through with the project they'd been banking on the short-term team doing. I helped Ashley paint a window grate in the morning and Pastor James (Neuendorf) on the "boom" in the afternoon - me because I live for getting up as high as possible and he as the least afraid of heights of anyone else! The idea is that the facelift will improve the building's curb appeal as the team drives toward opening the building up to the community daily beginning Ash Wednesday. 

God's timing is perfect. I joined Ashley and the rest of the Mayaguez missionary team for worship on Sunday. COVID continues to cause severe anxiety such that many people are afraid to go out in public, so there were 0 local members. That afternoon, I helped Ruth organize her kitchen...by choice, I promise! I have a twisted idea of fun, I know. She & her husband Rev. Gustavo fed Ashley and I tacos a la birria that night as a thank-you at our impromptu blow-up pool party. Ashley and their son Isaiah had a very serious chat while we waited for dinner to be ready. 

God's timing is perfect. I was back in the DR by noon on Monday, bread maker and all (oh the things you carry around the region as a missionary...). I've been plugging away at a number of upcoming events all week, and the Team That Wasn't already proposed rain dates so I imagine they'll be reappearing on the calendar soon. 

I've faced the facts: COVID and its baggage is going to be the reality of overseas volunteer service in the midst of a stubborn pandemic (we later learned that 7/10 original team members had been affected by COVID during their scheduled week). It's obvious Satan does NOT want to see the Church engaged in God's mission of spreading the Gospel, planting Lutheran churches, and showing mercy in LAC, but in my book, that's all the more reason to keep trying. 

Until next time, blessings (in Christ...thanks Bible study ladies)!