First things first – to all of you have missed our more frequent posts, we apologize, and promise to be better about posting as we head to Mexico. That’s right, I said “head to Mexico,” as in we’re not there yet. So we apologize, once more, that our not being in Mexico yet is news to some of you. We have tried to keep all our friends and family in the loop, but know we have missed some. So here is the whole story…
In mid-December, we were leaving Liesl’s parents house when I (Pete) heard five loud clunks after starting our car. We could tell, when driving it, that the engine was running hard, especially when the RPM’s got high. We had it looked at by a friend, who sent us to a mechanic here in Baraboo, who told us the unfortunate news…the engine had internal damage. He suspected the balance shafts, which showed severe damage after he took it apart. Our only option was a used engine, which we ordered just after Christmas, and were originally told, would arrive just after the New Year. It would be close, but we thought we would still be able to leave as planned on January 6th.
Well, New Year’s came and went and the engine didn’t arrive, but we were told it would be here in a week. Then the next week came and went – and still we were told it would be another week. Now it was the 19th. We were two weeks past our original departure date. We called once more, and were told, still one more week. That week came and went, and there was no engine. And finally, we called and cancelled our order, and placed an order for a new engine with a new company, who delivered the engine last Friday, the 29th – just four days after we ordered it.
We don’t know why the engine took so long to arrive. We have talked to many people who have encouraged us, and told us they are sure there is a reason and that it is all in God’s timing, and maybe we will know why some day. Yet as I have thought about it, I’m not sure I ever really need to know why it happened. When I stop and think about all we did in the past month that we wouldn’t have been able to do if we were in Mexico, it really was a blessed month.
We were able to meet with a number of friends, supporters, and a couple of pastors, that we wouldn’t have had time to meet with if we left on January 6th as we planned. We had extra time to spend with family, eating, relaxing, and playing games that we wouldn’t have had either. We had time to take a little bit of a breath after the holidays and packing, which also wouldn’t have happened. I was able to read a book I’d been meaning to read that challenged my perceptions of the Church’s form and function (Pagan Christianity by Viola and Barna). I saw my wife trounce my whole family, including me, in a game of indoor mini golf. And we had time to learn to wait – to learn that God is God, and He is good, whether or not we know what He is doing, or what His plans are. We had time to simply listen to Him, to rest in Him, and even though there was no divine voice saying “This is why you’re still here” – we were encouraged because we felt His presence, and that was enough. And whether we spent an extra month here for all of those reasons, or just one of them, it is okay. It was a good month.
And who knows – maybe that was the lesson. Maybe what God wanted to teach us was simply that it is okay to wait on Him, with no clue why we’re waiting, and to trust Him in the midst of it. I shared in the past newsletter, that I had been reading John, and in chapter 21, Jesus explains to Peter how he will die. Peter asks Jesus, “What about him?” referring to John. I don’t know why Peter asks this – perhaps he was questioning why Jesus was telling him this, or if he was the only one who would go through it. Regardless, Jesus’ response in verse 22 spoke to me: “What is that to you? You follow Me!”
When I asked God why, or questioned why we were still here, that verse reminded me that the most important thing now, as in any time of life, is simple obedience to Him – following Him, regardless of cost, regardless of time spent waiting. You – we – are called to follow Him.
Our car is now being worked on. The engine arrived last Friday, and our mechanic hopes to be finished with it by this Saturday, the 6th. Our hope is to leave for Mexico a week from today. But if that doesn’t happen, we will seek to follow Him in our response to it, knowing that His plans are never delayed.