I honestly can’t sleep. I really should have gone to bed after my husband hung up from our phone call at 11 pm. But I just can’t sleep. I have this energy inside of me that I can’t seem to settle down . . . even with a mouse scurrying across my living room floor, I can’t move from my laptop. (Pause for a silent – EEEEEEK!!!! We already caught one this week. How many more are there?)
Regardless, I am feeling compelled to write down my feelings and put it in a place that not only I can recall them but hopefully my children, family and friends can as well. For you see, today was a day that was FILLED with miracles, and I would like to share them with you.
Did you read my post from a couple days ago, about being a non-Spanish speaking woman living in Costa Rica, listing all of the things that my heart so desired but felt I was not being given here. Well, I can be bold enough to say that Heaven heard my tender prayer and answered it . . . TODAY! Seriously. I wasn’t even expecting anything.
Now, let me preface that I had witnesses. 2 to be exact. My second and third daughters – K and L. They not only witnessed today’s miracles but they have seen how I “normally” go about my days, living in Costa Rica. They have seen people push past me, cut me off, yell at me or just glare. Sadly, they have both heard people say rude remarks about me, so they were just as blown away as I was today. So let me share what happened.
The day started out just like any other, except my hubby was out of town and not able to take our oldest son to early morning (5 a.m.) seminary and drive carpool. That task landed on me and I thankfully had gotten a pretty great sleep. So I felt rested and ready to start the day, once I returned from picking the kids up from seminary. As I entered the house, I found my youngest son, G, sitting on the couch, still in his pajamas. Normally the ENTIRE family is to be dressed and ready, reading their personal scriptures as we walk through the door, but only G could be found. (I didn’t blame them. We had a late night the night before and with Dad out of town, why not catch a few more ZZZZ’s?)
But I had heard G get up before I had left to pick up the kids, so I wondered why he was still in his pajamas. He explained that he woke up to a dry mouth and had gotten the shakes, not to be confused with the shivers. After a few cups of water, he found himself in the bathroom, throwing everything up, multiple times. The sweet kid. He handled it all with such maturity and decorum. I was very proud of him.
He wasn’t running a fever and since he had a dry mouth, I wondered if he had dehydration. Dehydration seems to be something that our family can easily get here in Costa Rica. It has happened to K multiple times, so I felt confident that this is what G had as well. Not to mention that L gave her diagnosis and it concurred with mine. (We wonder if she will be a doctor or nurse one day?)
I was almost relieved that G wasn’t feeling well and preferred to sit on the couch all morning because I wasn’t feeling so great about leaving E home alone that day. I knew he needed company and this seemed to be the happiest solution. After our Family Devotional, me completing our shopping list while the girls completed their Family Chores, we said good-bye to the boys and headed off for a day of shopping, hoping to be home in time for an afternoon nap/rest.
Well, our day quickly changed when our car stopped working. It didn’t completely come to a stop but it slowed to such a crawl that we were barely moving. We had traveled up into Heredia Central (pretty far from our home – near our Stake Center) and were almost planted in the middle of an intersection. I told the girls we needed to say a prayer but I don’t know that I actually said one out loud, but I know that I asked for Divine help and guidance as to what was best for us to do. (Remember my hubby was out of town)
Thankfully I got the car to slowly turn into a tiny strip mall but the entrance was an incline to the parking lot. As the car approached the entrance, it almost started to roll backward. I had my K hop into the driver’s seat and help steer and control the pedals. I saw that a man in a black shirt and black pants was walking on the sidewalk behind us, so I ran out and apologized that I didn’t speak Spanish but could he help me. He said, “Don’t worry. I speak English.”
My first thought was, “What?!?! No one EVER speaks English with me! What a blessing!”
So he helped us change the gear from neutral (my mistake for a Diesel) to drive and he and I pushed the car up the incline. The car was difficult to push and I prayed that we could do it and no sooner had I pushed, it rolled right into a parking place. Again, I was astonished. Our vehicle is HUGE and HEAVY and a diesel. That should not have been that easy to do, but we did it.
I assumed that the man would dust his hands off from my dirty vehicle and just walk away, but he didn’t. He asked me what had happened, immediately looked in the car to see what the temperature gauge read and popped the hood of the car. He then took a look and immediately saw the problem. He simply explained it to me and what the solution needed to be and then went about solving my problem.
First he told the security guard, who was anxiously overlooking what was going on, what my problem was and that I needed time to let my car rest and cool down. He came back and told me that the security guard would leave me alone now. Wow! That was super thoughtful of him. Then he went in search for some water. He had told me that “I” needed to gather water but he never gave me the chance to, he just went around asking the different businesses for a jug until he was finally given one and then he filled it himself with water.
After he filled up my “recycle tank” for the radiator and showed me the “max line,” he then explained each and every step of what I needed to do next and WHY. Seriously! He just so happened to be a master mechanic and knew all about vehicles, especially mine, because he worked for a rental car agency for many years. After he made sure I understood what I needed to do, he offered his cell number and explained that he was going to the bank (which takes hours to get things done here, so he was obviously in a hurry but stopped anyway to help me – WOW!) and said I could call if I had any issues.
I thanked him profusely and even offered to pay him something. He did pause to think for a moment but then this look came all over his face, as if that was a stupid idea to take money from me and said, “No. Nothing. It’s okay.” And he shook my hand and simply walked away. It was such a sweet experience.
Well, the maintenance man was watching and didn’t like seeing me left alone with a steamy hot car. He walked over and asked if I needed help but K said, “Esta bien.” I laughed because it wasn’t okay yet but she didn’t want any more attention. Thankfully when it came to take the other cap off the radiator and fill it with water, he was right there to offer help and filled up the jug 2 more times for me, filling the radiator until it was completely full of water. He wouldn’t leave us until everything was the way it should be. I felt truly taken care of at this point.
Just as I shut the hood of the car and put the spare water in our trunk, another man walked up and asked, IN ENGLISH, if I needed help with my car. I said that I thought it was okay now and he offered his suggestion of what it could be that went wrong (the thermostate). I was so happy with this third attempt at helping me that I thanked him and told him I would check it out. He had a huge smile on his face and left. I did too!
I was a bit hesitate to drive but I trusted that things were cooled down and ready to go, and the car did perfectly well! As we left the strip mall, I told the girls that we needed to say a prayer of thanks, as well as thank the nice man who initially helped us, by sending him a text. L asked if she could say the prayer. I told her that she needed to specifically thank the 4 men who helped us (I included the security guard leaving us alone) and she did. She also asked Heavenly Father that we might be able to help someone that day.
Well, no sooner had we pulled into our first store, but we met a nice woman who SPOKE ENGLISH (this RARELY happens) and she approached us because we were speaking English. We got talking, as only Wendi can do, and I found out that she had moved to Costa Rica 2 years ago as well and was also “from” Utah (originally Maryland but she had been working in Utah for years as a Drama/English teacher in the Ogden area). I laughed and just relished the conversation.
When I found out that she was headed to Pricesmart next (our Sam’s/Costco) I offered her a ride, feeling comfortable to do so with a complete stranger. She was so grateful and accepted. I heard a lot about her life, her new marriage and expecting baby and also learned that her parents had both passed away. Immediately I felt like the richest person on this earth, for I still have both my parents alive and well and within calling range. I treasured that moment.
At Pricesmart we parted ways, only I felt there was still a bit more I could do for her. I had purchased some diapers at the first store and had given them to her as a beginning Baby Shower gift, but it didn’t seem enough. I pondered as we shopped through the store, wanting to be wise but not foolish. At checkout, we decided to grab some pizza and found her there, just having received her lunch. Her hands were full, so I had Lexi pull my shopping cart, as I pulled her shopping cart to a clean, empty table.
She commented, “Oh, is this where you want us to sit?” I thought, “Why not?!?”
So, K and I went to order our food, while L and this woman visited. I could feel that there was still something more to do but I didn’t know what? Do I offer to drive her home? Is this is scam? But as I looked back at my day, I saw so MANY wonderful blessings occur. Not only did E have someone to stay with him, as well as someone to stay with G, but we had help with our car and literally EVERYONE was super respectful and courteous at Pricesmart (and that NEVER happens . . . ask Paul).
Then, to top it all off, as K and I were waiting in line for our food, another “pick up order here” line opened up. Everyone usually rushes to this line, so I normally stay in place and wait patiently. But when I didn’t move to the new line, the man standing behind me (a quite attractive man, well dressed, fit and seemed to speak English as well but Latin) motioned for me to get in this new line . . . IN FRONT OF HIM! WHAT WAS GOING ON HERE!?!?! THAT was the ONE THING I had wanted on Wednesday and it happened. And I didn’t feel it was happening to me because of how I looked or that he found me attractive. I felt it happened out of pure respect and courtesy. What a gift that was to me!
So, as we sat and ate our lunch of bottled water and french fries dipped in nacho cheese sauce, I offered this nice woman a ride home. I told her that I felt I should and she got tears in her eyes. She said that I didn’t know how much this meant to her.
She’s right. I don’t. But I DO KNOW what it feels like to be served and I loved it, so she deserved to love it too.
So we ate lunch and packed up our car and drove her home, which was not that far away at all. We ended up visiting with her for quite some time and the girls didn’t seem to mind too much. Thankfully I agreed to them buying a foam bead stuffed soccer ball that they were able to play with while we talked. It felt like home. It felt like all the days I spent in Utah, talking, helping, uplifting and encouraging the women I met there. Oh how I missed that feeling . . .
But as I was driving away from her home, I realized that I have traded those wonder “Sister in Zion” days for a more important and shorter calling . . . homeschooling and raising my young children. This time will pass and I won’t ever get it again. I saw that Heavenly Father can FILL our desires with worthy service and acts of love. I saw that Heavenly Father heard his daughter’s heartbreaking prayer and wanted her to know that she WAS loved, respected and no, not unattractive but His daughter. Just not everyone sees that.
I also saw that in time, I will find my place in this world and it will get busy quick, so enjoy this time I have with my littles because it won’t come again. I would like grandchildren but that is an entirely different ball game.
I want to bear testimony that only when we are in the service of our fellow beings, we ARE in the service of our God, which makes us truly happy. I also want to bear testimony that children are so close to the Spirit. Let them be part of your decision making and journey, so they can learn and experience these things too. I had a FANTASTIC day and it was started with a WONDERFUL talk by President Uchtdorf and ended with a beautiful song that ALWAYS reminds me of my sweet and wonderful oldest child and daughter, Kayleigh. This song was sung in the very movie that we found Kayleigh’s name and later our youngest son’s name, “A Quest for Camelot.” I LOVE the messages in this movie and highly recommend it. (It is a bit scary for the littles, but 10+ might enjoy it.)
Again. Heaven hears and answers your prayers . . . if you wait patiently on the Lord and look for Him in your life. This is my testimony of the matchless power of God. May you feel this is true in your own life too, I pray, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.