On the Sunday before our departure, I chatted for a moment with the lead Elder who asked for some details about our trip. Later during prayer time he mentioned Teresa and me by name, praying for safety as we travelled and for the safe arrival of our grandson who was due to be born the next day. I must admit that it felt a bit strange to hear our names mentioned in prayer. At the same time, it was wonderfully comforting.
After the service, we returned home and began to attack the final set of "to do’s" – of which there were many – before our departure at 0300 hours Tuesday morning. You may recall that this day was also the day that winter gave us its last "hurrah" with a healthy dose of freezing rain. Clearly, this particular Sunday was not going to be a day of rest!
Monday arrived with the freezing rain continuing to build up on the trees... and power lines... while we continued to chip away at the to-do list. At 1000 hours it happened. No warning, no flicker, just no power! My heart sunk. Seconds later – it seemed like an eternity – I heard an unfamiliar sound as the standby generator we had installed mere months before roared to life, and powered up the entire house. Thank you Lord!
With our tasks complete, we brewed a cup of tea and sat back to watch a movie. It felt very strange to be perfectly safe, warm and comfortable while thousands of houses were without power. We called Hydro One who told us the power should be back on by supper time. Supper time came and went; the generator continued to run. As evening turned to night, I was beginning to feel concerned. What do we do if the power is still off and it’s time to leave for the airport? "Answer me quickly, LORD; my spirit fails. Do not hide your face from me or I will be like those who go down to the pit. Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life." Psalm 143: 7-8 (NIV). As quickly as the question crossed my mind, I knew the answer. We would go, and trust that all will work out.
At 2200 hours I decided to go to bed and get some sleep; Teresa had decided to stay up until it was time to go. As I bid her good night, the generator suddenly stopped running. OH NO! Then I realised the lights were still on. Power had been restored. Thank you Lord!
From that point onwards, the trip went as smooth as silk and we soon found ourselves enjoying the sights, sounds and excitement of long distance cruising. I should also mention sunshine and warmth! For eighteen days we had nothing to do but enjoy ourselves and each other’s company. It was a wonderful opportunity to really focus on each other, enjoy our time together and to celebrate forty-two years of marriage. Thank you Lord!
We visited eight different ports of call in South America, along the West Coast of Central America and in Mexico. Each one was unique and each one an adventure, with most of our shore time spent walking hand-in-hand along a beach or squishing our toes in the wet sand. There was, of course the requisite shopping where we bought souvenirs and I brought home coffee from every country we visited – I even met up with “Juan Valdez” in Columbia.
The cruise came to an end as we passed under the Golden Gate Bridge and docked in San Francisco. We were well rested, rejuvenated and looking forward to the drive to Sacramento. A few hours later, we were able to hold a miracle in our arms – a three week old baby and our fifth grandchild. It was an emotional time and I have to admit to losing my usual composure. Yes, overwhelmed with joy, I cried.
Our five days with Heather, Brian, James and Matthew came to an end far too quickly and we were soon back at home, safe and sound. In a mere twenty-six days we had experienced an ice storm, air travel, sea-time, the miracle of new life, reunion time and a time of close personal bonding – each of which had the potential for danger or mishap. Not a single thing went wrong – THANK YOU LORD!
Our trip had begun with a prayer for safe travels and our trip concluded with a prayer of thanksgiving. We are thankful for a wonderful congregational family who clearly kept us in prayer and to a loving God for answering those prayers.
To paraphrase Psalm 66: 16-20, Come and hear, all you who fear God; let me tell you what he has done for us. We cried out to him and his praise was on our tongues. If we had cherished sin in our hearts, the Lord would not have listened; but God has surely listened and has heard our prayers. Praise be to God, who has not rejected our prayer or withheld his love from us!