Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A day of Abundant Blessings POST TWO

This is Ryan:

Church service was wonderful.  The church is a Southern Baptist Church, consisting primarily of the pastors extended family.  It is in a Garifuna village and the service is in Garifuna, Moskito, and Spanish.  The pastor spoke about false prophets.  The music was a nice mix of traditional hymns and original music that is culturally relevant.  After service we spent some time in the village talking with others and letting the kids play soccer with other village children. 
Around one hour later, we decided it was time to head home, about 18 minutes away.  On the way Walker asked if we could run the ocean.  It is much quicker, but we have to check the wave height before we go out.  It has been calm the past few days so I told him we would look and see.  At the river mouth, the waves were very choppy, but small, only 1-2 ft swells.  We decided that it would be a good day to go and we headed out the mouth.  This ended up being a very bad decision on my part.  You have to run out the mouth several hundred yards to get out of the breakers and then it is smooth water after that until you are ready to enter the next river mouth.  About 3/4ths of the way out the mouth a large wave set popped up and the seas went from 1-2 ft. to 8-10 ft in one set.  The waves began crashing over the bow of my boat and Lorelai got scared so when I saw a break in sets I made a quick decision to turn around and head back into the mouth.  I didn't realize how fast the next set was coming in.  We could have drove into the waves, got real wet and made it home safe, but instead I tried turning around quickly.  The next set caught the side of my boat, picked it up, and threw Lorelai and I out into a very rough ocean.  Lorelai was wearing her lifejacket, but I dont have one here yet b/c you can't buy adult ones in Honduras.  I swam to Lorelai and calmed her down.  The water was deep and the waves were pounding us.  Slowly we began trying to swim toward land, yet initially I felt like we were getting further away.  I tried swimming in another direction, thinking that we were getting pulled out in the river channel, and we started making headway.  I immediately began to pray that nothing would happen to my little girl and that I could get her safely to shore.  As the minutes wore on, my strength began to wane.  I am not a strong swimmer to begin with, so doing it with no life jacket and a 4 year old hanging on to her Daddy for dear life was almost too much to handle.  However, the Lord was definitely with us Sunday.  Everytime I would think that I could go no more, my toes could touch when the low part of a swell would come.  Eventually I was able to stand flat footed for half of the wave.  The waves were still very large and were crashing down on us constantly.  I looked up and realized that we were on the first sandbar.  This was great news for the time, b/c I didn't have any more energy to give.  However, a sandbar means that it gets deep again.  On most of the sandbars around here the water may be only a few feet deep, but the water never got more shallow than my shoulders so we never had a real good chance to rest.  The waves eventually pushed us off of the sandbar into deep water again about 30 m from shore.  Halfway across I thought that the end was near for me and I began to push Lorelai out in front of me so I could keep her heading to shore in case something bad happened.  That was the hardest thing that I have ever had to do and hope to never be in the situtation to have to do it again.  Once again, God was with us b/c the moment I had all but given up, my toes touched.  This time it was the slope towards the beach.  Walker was on shore screaming for us as we finally came to shore.  He told me that he had called Natalie and the Navy (like US Coast Guard) was on the way.  They are our neighbors and were wonderful.  I fell to the sand and couldn't move my legs.  I know without a doubt that God is real, He is there for us when we need Him, and that He has something big in store for my life and my families life.  There were so many times that my life could have ended Sunday, yet I am here, in Honduras, getting the opportunity to tell you this story of answered prayers.  I prayed to Him while afloat that there was so much work still to be done in this area and to please let me live so I could continue what He had brought me here to do. 
The only thing that was lost on this day was my shirt, which I somehow took off in the ocean.  I took off my sandals as well, but they floated literally into my hands on the beach while I was laying down.  We found Lorelai's sandals further down the beach on the walk home.
The Navy took my boat around to the mouth of our lagoon and several of the guys walked us back, helping us swim across a small mouth along the way.  We then got in my boat and drove home the last 2 minutes of the trip.  It was an amazing feeling pulling up to my house and seeing along the fence, in my yard and down the street the number of our friends that came out to make sure we were ok.  Just another instance that confirms what we already know; We are where God has called us."
My son was our HERO that day!  After Lorelai and I went overboard, he instinctly jumped to the back of the boat to make sure that the motor was shut off and that I had been attached to the kill switch.  The very next thing he did was calmly call Natalie and tell her that he was ok, but didn't know where we were and that we needed help.  He was able to ride the waves into the beach in the boat and then he searched the water looking for us while awaiting help to arrive.  It was another God moment that he was able to make a call at all, b/c his phone was submerged in water and shouldn't have worked.  In fact, Natalie said that it cut off the minute he reached the beach. 
To be continued...

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