Every step of our journey, we were watching the Lord make a way where as far as we could see, there was no way. For example, we had stuffed into the u-haul as well as 16 suitcases, several random bags of last minute items, and really needed a place to lay out all our belongings and repack more carefully. But where could we carry out such an operation, in a park, in a hotel foyer? Please no Lord, the humiliation..?
The Lord brought a pastor friend to Peter’s mind, and after a last minute call, it was arranged that we could use his youth hall! I was spared public embarrassment! A big thank you for your part in helping us, Pastor Jon in Florida, as we took over your hall, and decorated it with suitcases etc, and left you with random items to find homes for!!
We were traveling 'stand-by' from Miami airport. Firstly to be able to say goodbyes to family members in Florida, and secondly to save around $4,500 on flight costs. We were not guaranteed a place on the airplane - but the Lord opened up the spaces and on October 10th 2014, finally, the moment came when we set foot in Paraguay, hot, sticky and travel weary, surrounded by our luggage, weighed down by our bags. We now understand why the Lord told His disciples not to take anything when they were sent out – oops.
Dear Pastors Walter and Alcides and his wife Blanca, met us at the airport, loaded our bags into a minivan and trailer, and drove us to our new temporary home, at the SIM compound in Asuncion, Paraguay. Relieved to have arrived, and so grateful for the Lord’s grace upon us to get us here, we lay upon our new beds and rested.
Having left our home and car, the focus for the next few days which turned into weeks and even months was to replace these practical necessities of life. The daily hunt began, with several journeys of different natures, some with our Paraguayan pastor friends, some by taxi, some by bus and when we were able we rented a car. But to no avail. We saw a few very nice houses and cars, but there was always a catch, and a very clear lack of God’s peace in our hearts. Do we just ignore His leading, and be ‘practical’, or do we fly in the face of pressure and pursue the Lord’s plan for us here? Yes, as the days went by the frustration grew, not to mention the challenge to all of us naturally as we live falling over suitcases, sleeping in one room, and having one small living area for us to dwell together in harmony. But is this truly about our needs, as surely God Almighty is not short of houses and cars, owning the cattle on a thousand hills!
In times of trial, we always seek the Lord more fervently and with more devotion, and so that is what we have done. Around our all purpose table, we sit and read the Word together, sharing scriptures that the Lord is feeding us with daily, praying and encouraging ourselves. Flesh is dying (natural desires), as we are returned to the Potter's wheel. We are learning that apparently this journey is not about us!
Peter & Evi Ratcliffe