On Friday the two little boys went back to Los Mochis, leaving us busily getting ready for our trip. All day Saturday was spent packing, cleaning, and cooking (food for the trip). Originally the plan was to leave on Monday morning, but after having spent all day Saturday working we were so close to being done that we voted on it and decided that it would just be a lot nicer to leave the next morning. And so the plan was laid!
On our way out of Las Glorias yesterday morning, we picked up a lady who was going to ride with us up to Nogales. The first few hours were fairly normal. Pretty much everyone slept (except for my dad, of course) while the road stretched on and the villages and towns flashed by. Then coming up upon Navojoa we stopped at a toll booth to check our load. My dad got out of the car and walked back to check the straps on the trailer only to walk back a minute later saying that we had a serious problem. I was kind of dozing during all of this so I only caught snatches of the conversation mixed with weird dreams of car problems and past trips. When I did finally wake up enough to become somewhat coherent, it was an hour later and my dad and brothers were across the road at the train tracks trying to bend back the trailer axle that had apparently been bending under the weight of the load. Right. Just another minor detail ;).
So after another hour or so of that -- my dad bent back the axle, flipped it over and put it back on -- and after shifting the load more to the van we were on our way. Unfortunately (or providentially, however you want to look at it) we only made it about 45 minutes down the road before we realized that the problem with the axle had not been fixed and that we would have to do something soon or the axle would bend again. So we stopped, undid all of the straps, and unloaded everything from the trailer into the van just leaving a few of the lighter things in the back. And with that we were back in the car, though packed in a little tighter than before.
That delay cost us about 3 hours. Normally, after all that, you would think that we would be able call it a rather eventful trip and drive the rest of the way without incident... but it was not to be. I don't know exactly how much time passed between the two things, but I think it was like an hour later when we stopped for gas and realized that one of the tires on the trailer had picked up a nail... and needed to be patched. Okay, now all we had to do was find a tire shop. We did find one a short way down the road. I do have to admit that, as bothersome as patching a tire is wherever you are, fixing it in Mexico is a million times easier than fixing it in the US. It took less than 30 minutes for the whole thing and only cost us $4. Meanwhile, Luz (the lady riding with us), my mom and I were laughing over what an insane trip it had been so far. She was amazed at how calm we were able to be, and we had a chance to let our lives speak Jesus' love to her.
Now of course we should have been able to finish the trip smoothly, right? Wrong! In all in the years that we have traveled to and from Mexico we have never been unpacked and searched. God obviously had some plan for us this time, because at the inspection station in Santa Ana (4 hours before the border) we were stopped and asked to unload everything. Everything? Like "everything" everything? Yes, everything. Oh dear. This was at about 4pm. Keep in mind that we had only slept about 5 hours the night before and had been up since 3am. We were all really ready to be done traveling... but things don't always go the way we plan. So we did unload everything, run all of it through inspection, and then load it all back up. We were able to share Jesus with the soldier on duty. He seemed like he was carrying a lot of hurt and hatred; pray for him, that God would be doing His marvelous work in his life.
The last 6 hours did go smoothly. We left Luz in Nogales with her sister and were on to the border. We prayed for no problems at the border and God answered our prayer by giving us a really nice lady to do the inspection. We didn't have to wait at the border more than an hour. As I mentioned at the beginning of my post, we arrived in Tucson at 9pm. We were tired, sore and extremely thankful for God's faithfulness throughout our trip. Often we can't see God's plans at the time, but it is enough to know that He's there and that nothing happens in vain. It was a long trip, yes, but all in all I feel blessed, and I regret nothing that happened. God is good, all the time! And His grace is sufficient!
Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.