Part 1: To read the beginning of this three part series, click here
Part 2: To read the Re-enactment, please click here
So, we figured all was said and done as Monday morning rolled around. Of course, enough things were on our agenda so I had to get my driver’s license taken care of right away…lots of holiday travel makes for random police stops and, well, I’d better be legal if we headed through a checkpoint. We also had people planning on coming out to Calacali over the Christmas holiday, so Brad would now need to create time to grocery shop with me so we could use his card (yes, we could use cash but that’s a whole different story that we’re not going to go into here), yada, yada, yada, more logistics and, well, all in all, this week was going to be some kind of a pain.
So, Brad is at the school and gets a summons to come into the AAI school office Monday morning. A mysterious call has come in to the school in regards to some items that have been found on a street, and some of these items happened to have our name on it. The man calling says he is willing to meet us later that day to return the information that he has found. Andrea, from our school office, handles the Spanish-speaking call on our behalf, and advises us in the pros and cons of planning a point of rendezvous later that evening. After much discussion and debate with Andrea and others involving distinct opinions of whether or not this was a good idea, we heed Andrea’s counsel based on the seemingly positive phone conversation with the aforementioned gentleman and make the hopefully accurate decision that he is not in on the original crime and out for additional monies. We proceed with planning a 6:30 pm “drop” outside a very public Burger King by a local mall. Brad, Jacob, Josh, and our guest, Charlotte, who was visiting from the Netherlands, decide they will all venture down after supper, via bus (no trolley on this route), to the CCI mall to play a role in the live version of the Bourne movies.
Per the phone call, at the designated time, they were to look for a man on a black motorcycle, wearing a black helmet, a black vest, black pants, and black boots. Interestingly, that describes quite a large portion of the Quito population. After awkwardly asking three different people at what must be seen as a well known meeting spot if they were Señor Guadalupe, Jacob tried calling him to see if somehow the communication lines had been crossed and other arrangements should be made. Señor Guadalupe was indeed in the neighborhood, but still fifteen minutes away. One missed call later, the rendezvous point was quickly changed to across the street, in front of a bank (the irony in this is not missed) and the exchange was complete. A ‘regalito’ (small reward) was offered for the man’s kindness and celebratory ice-cream cones were shared.
The rest of the womanfolk (aka Tessa and myself) had stayed at home, thoroughly safe, tucked behind locked doors, when the renegades returned and the obligatory debriefing began. Operation Rendezvous had been completed successfully. In hand, was a beautiful sight of three of Brad’s business cards (most likely how they were able to make a point of contact), a factura card, our health insurance card, and, lo and behold, my beloved DRIVER’S LICENSE. While no passport copy or Diner’s Club credit card was recovered, the mere sight of that Ecuadorian driver’s license was enough to make me giddy. I would not have to, at least at this point, present myself to the transit authority any sooner than the necessary renewal in the fall of 2015. That alone was worth the risk of the reconnaissance mission right there (spoken truly by the one who actually didn’t even go).
And that, my friends, is almost the end of the story. No further implications, problems, or outcomes thus far. I continue to remain in full pursuit of small change, seeking to re-attain my small fortune of dollar coins, fifty- cent pieces, and quarters. I am still carrying around the spare purse I happened to have on hand as I have not yet found a new, suitable, clad with iron replacement. I keep the second coin purse with the residual cut on it as a spare…holding less important items, but still playing an essential secondary decoy role. We have a new level of diligence…one that can only come from going through the experience and coming out more knowledgeable on the other side. We don’t think any less of the people we meet on a day to day basis. We still ride the trolley, full or not.
Every good story has a lesson, and this is no exception. One of the things we learned from this experience is that no amount of diligence or good intentions can keep bad things from happening. Isn’t that an analogy that can be applied by and large to our entire life? If you have read this far, I just ask you stick with me a bit longer. We felt like we were keeping our eyes open, watching for the appropriate clues, grasping purses and reversing backpacks, all to keep the bad guys away. Many of us walk through our life the same way – if only we just do all the right things, say the correct words, help people in need, go to church on Sunday, read our Bible, give our designated tithe, our lives won’t be turned upside down. We won’t experience job loss, death in the family, grief, despair, depression…those things will bypass us and move to someone else who “deserves” it, or, at least, if we are honest and real, someone who wasn’t as prepared and standing a post like us “good” Christians were.
But, that’s not how it works. We live in a fallen world. People are sinful and full of evil. It is everywhere and there is no way to make yourself immune to it. Whether you are struck down by cancer and trying to see God’s hand in it, a police officer on the streets of Minneapolis being gunned down intentionally, a Christian in Egypt being beheaded in the name of Allah, or on a trolley in Ecuador having your money stolen, (to name but only a few examples) we have to contend with the consequences of being in this world.
As I see it, we have two choices. We can bemoan the fact that this is our reality, wring our hands, cast our eyes downward, and hide out as much as we can to avoid as many chances as we can of being hurt. OR, we can claim the promises of Scripture that tell us that we have a power far beyond ourselves that will stand in the gap to help us, to cling to, to know that this world is not the end, but a temporary place to land before Paradise. We are not doing this alone. Do you claim his promises? Do you trust Him today? Do you cling to him and not your own safety nets that are weak and worldly?
10 “For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:10 (NLT)
4 For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith. 5 And who can win this battle against the world? Only those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God. 1 John 5:4-5 (NLT)
I am saying this as much to myself as I am to you, my friend…know that HE alone is the one who can protect us in this life so there is no need to fear. Venture into each day, boldly, confidently, claiming His promises…but do it with Him by your side. Arm yourself with prayer, Scripture, and the body of believers, believing He has given you the Holy Spirit to stay with us in this life, so we rise victorious, despite the evil in this world.
“For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39 (NLT)
Be assured of His love for you. Win the battle that has been waged…with Him by your side.