Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Wizard of Oz

I mentioned in a previous post that I would write something about the play our twins were involved with.  For several months now Nico and Ellen have been practicing for many hours for the Wizard of Oz musical play that the school put on.  Especially during the last few weeks leading up to the performances they spent countless hours at school rehearsing. They were pretty exhausted from all the late nights and so were we from having to drive them back and forth and bring them supper. Thankfully we live just a few minutes from school. We were actually tempted to pull them out because it was getting too much, but the twins said that they wanted to finish. We were proud of them for that especially since they did not really want to be part of the play in the first place. Ellen was much more keen on being part of a play than Nico, but we made him go and in the end they both enjoyed themselves and said that they want to be part of a play again next year.  We will see!  They ended up doing the play three nights in a row last week from Thursday till Saturday.  It was around 3 hours long and it was pretty well done. I was in Colombia most of last week, and so I missed the first two nights of the play. However, I made sure that I was on the early flight back to Guatemala so that I would make the last play on Saturday night.  Again we were proud of our little troopers for hanging in there and going through with it with good attitudes.  See if you can find them in the photos!

Answered Prayer!

Several weeks ago I brought our Nissan Patrol to the garage for a regular checkup.  I told the maintenance guys that it has some problems starting, but I assumed it was a problem with the battery and perhaps some dirty injectors since the fuel here in Guatemala is not all that clean.  The servicing was going to cost a few hundred dollar which was normal.  However, a few days later the garage phoned me to tell me that the problem was not the battery but that there was some water in the engine.  They said it would cost some $3,000 to get fixed since they would have to take apart part of the engine.  They told me that if this was not the problem it would cost more.  Another week went by and they told me that the engine would need an overhaul since they had found a crack in the head and some of the cylinders where damaged and that it would cost $6,000.  I had already almost had a heart attack after the first quote since it was not some thing that I had taken into consideration when preparing the budget for this year.  With this latest news I felt sick to my stomach.  I received the news when I was in Colombia so I told them that I wanted to meet with the manager on Monday to discuss working out some sort of deal.  
So Monday morning I went to the Nissan garage to speak with the manager.  I explained how disappointed I was since the vehicle is a 2008 and only has 65,000 kms.  The warranty on the vehicle had only just recently expired and I had always brought the vehicle in to the dealership to get serviced.  I explained as well the work that we are doing in Guatemala and that this is a big financial hit for us.  I explained how this bill would affect our programs and also where the money was coming from.  People give of their tithes and offerings to support the work here.  The manager seemed to understand where I was coming from and said that he would review the service history of the vehicle and see how they could lower the cost.  He told me that he would call me in the afternoon with the final verdict.  The afternoon rolled around and there was no phone call.  In a way I did not mind since I was not ready to hear the verdict.  Too be honest I did not expect much.  In the mean time (as well as before) I spent time praying for this situation asking God to touch the hearts of this company and help us out.  Although I prayed I must admit that I did not pray with a lot of faith and hope.  The most I expected was for them to knock of maybe $1,000 of the total cost.  
Well, Tuesday rolled around and still no phone call.  Yesterday I spent part of the day writing a letter of complaint to the Nissan dealership here in Guatemala appealing to them for understanding and help.  They did not respond to the letter on Tuesday.  This morning at around 8:30 my phone ran and it was the manager from Nissan who I had spoken to on Monday.  I braced myself for the news. This is what he said..... "We have decided to deal with this case as if the vehicle is still under warranty and we are going to replace your engine".  I was stunned and did not really know what to say.  I asked him what he meant and he repeated what he said and told me it was not going to cost me anything.  They had decided that since they could not determine the cause of the damage that it was better to replace the whole engine rather than just parts and have the same thing happen again.  The only hitch is that I will be without the vehicle until the engine arrives from Japan which will take at least a month.  I thanked him profusely and told him that we could wait and would make arrangements for a vehicle.  AMG is helping out and is lending me a vehicle for the time being.  I also promptly wrote a thank you letter to Nissan Guatemala for their understanding and help.  I am not sure if my letter helped, or if the decision had been made with out that.  Regardless, God answered my prayers and the prayers of others who were praying for this situation in a way that was far beyond what I was expecting.  It was humbling to experience this and it definitely gave me a spiritual high.  I had been feeling very down for several weeks when I first heard the news till today.  I felt bad that it was going to cost so much money since I have always been frugal and careful with mission money.  I was also the one who bought the vehicle so I guess I felt that pressure that I did not make a good decision.  What a relief this news was to me and what an unbelievable answer to prayer!
Often you hear that you need to pray with faith in order to receive an answer, but this is a testimony to God answering prayer even when we lack faith.  God remains God in spite of us.  This example in my life reminds me of the story in Mark 9 when Jesus comes down from the mountain after being transfigured and is met by a father of a demon possessed boy who says to Jesus "have mercy on us and help us if you can".  Jesus kindly rebuked him and says, "what do you mean, ‘If I can'? Anything is possible if a person believes.”  The father replies....  "Lord, I believe, help my unbelief" (Mark 9:24).  I felt this kind rebuke today and praise God for His goodness and patience!