Since I was going for the graduation of the Certificate program, I asked the Seminary to make my reservation for my recent trip to Puerto Escondido. I told them the exact dates that I wanted to fly out and when I needed to return to Mexico City. They confirmed the reservation, printed out my confirmation, and handed it to me. Without thinking much about it, I took it from the dean, put it in my bag, and went back to work.
Thursday came, and, after an interesting taxi ride, I made it to the coast. I had to spend Thursday night and Friday during the day at the beach (the family I was staying with wanted to show me the beach, so I had to oblige). Friday night and Saturday was a youth leaders’ conference, and Saturday night we finished with the graduation. But Sunday was really the most interesting day.
I sat in Sunday’s church service watching the clock. I wanted to make sure I didn’t miss my plane. So I had David, my host, take me to the airport. We said goodbye, and as they drove away, I got into line for the only airline leaving Puerto Escondido on Sunday.
When it was my turn, I approached the counter with my passport in hand, gave it to the airline representative, and watched the others who were enjoying their last few minutes of vacation in this tropical paradise. I wondered why the lady behind the counter was taking so long when she asked to see my confirmation paper. I reached into my bag and pulled out the reservation that the Seminary had given me. After looking at it for a few seconds, she looked at me and said, “Your reservation is to come in on August 2 at 12:00pm and to leave August 2 at 12:25 pm. My heart sank.
I asked, “So are there any seats on the plane?” She responded, “I’m sorry, we are full. The next flight out is on Thursday.” After a few seconds of trying to understand the situation, I said thank you and proceeded to a group of seats on the other side of the airport. “What am I going to do now?” I thought to myself.
I reached into my bag to get my cell phone to call Janell, but I had no credit on the pre-paid phone. So I walked over to the little snack counter and asked if they sold cell phone credit, and the lady politely told me no. So I had no cell phone. My ride had left. I had no airplane ticket to get back to Mexico City. I was simply stranded in the tiniest airport on the Pacific Coast of Mexico.
I walked outside into the heat of Puerto Escondido and asked a group of taxi driver if they knew where “La Palota” was. They all pointed across the airfield to a big tree. So I asked if someone could take me there. I hopped in the taxi and explained my dilemma. Luckily I somewhat remembered how to get to the house where I had been staying for a few days. As we pulled up, I was happy to see David’s van in front of the house. He looked out the window with a puzzled look on his face. I paid the taxi driver and explained to David what happened.
We spent the afternoon trying to figure out the best way to get to Mexico City, and we decided that the best thing was to go out of Huatulco on Monday morning, so I had little to do on Sunday night. But David’s neighbor Pedro asked if he could talk to me. I was exhausted and didn’t want to talk to anyone, but I knew that David and his wife had been inviting Pedro’s family to church for a while, so I obliged.
Pedro, a skinny man in his 20’s, began to explain to me how he had been involved in drugs despite the fact that he had a family. He told me how his uncle had died a few years back and how he had turned to alcohol and drugs to cope. He went on to explain that he realized that it wasn’t working, and that is why he had gone to church the last two weeks with David’s family. He continued by saying that he knew that church was working because he hadn’t had any cravings for the things he had been involved in since he started going to church. He then asked me how he could keep those things out of his life.
I explained to him that church worked because it was leading him to Jesus, and that Jesus was the answer. I shared with him how Jesus had died for him and risen from the dead. Despite how tired I was from a mentally exhausting day, I shared the gospel with Pedro and invited him to follow Jesus. He told me he wanted to do that, and we prayed together.
I realized then that Pedro was the reason that I was stranded in Puerto Escondido. Needless to say, I was okay with the error and the extra day of the trip, and the time to share with Pedro.
Please pray for Pedro and his family. Pray that God will complete what He is doing in their lives. And pray for David and his family as they seek to continue to be a good example.
Oh…and the next time you get stranded somewhere, keep your eyes open for the reason.