Death Grip, Border Trip

The dengue fever we mentioned on the previous post has claimed the lives of three of our village members. One of which was a much loved 37 year old church member. She was the youth leader and very active in church function. Her death came as a shock to all. On Sabbath she attended church with her family as usual. On Sunday, she went to the doctor and was sent home, and Monday was hospitalized, transferred to another hospital and died that same day. The death of this young woman gripped the hearts of the community. They showed their support of the family by attending the wake and funeral service. On the day of the funeral, the people filled the street as they followed the family to the burial site. There was songs of hope in the soon coming of Jesus Christ mingled with tears of mourning. The messages given at the wake and funeral were anchored in the knowledge that we will see her again at the second coming of Christ. It was these messages of hope that was the strength for both the family and the community to keep them from being crushed by the weight of this tragic event.

Early Tuesday morning we set off for the border to renew our visas and paperwork for our truck.  When we left for Guatemala with our map in hand, we felt prepared for what was ahead. But what we would soon find out was that not every border is the same. In Tapachula, two men with semiofficial looking badges came running up to the car and started tapping on the windows insisting we turn down a dirt alley so we could do our paperwork. Overwhelmed, we rolled up the window and kept driving, with the guy hanging on to the outside of the car. Nerve shaken, we parked at the police station and finished some paperwork. We continued on to the border, and arrived later than expected. This time, there wasn’t just two guys, but a whole hoard of men, tapping on the glass, getting up on the running board, waving money around to exchange and telling us what to do. Making our way through the confusion, we made it to the window to process our paperwork only to find out they wouldn’t permit us to cross the border that night. There we stood, with the people that were supposed to meet us at the border no where to be found, no place to stay the night, no cell site, and still surrounded by a mob of men telling us what to do. We had no choice but to head back to Tapachula, Mexico and call Pastor Benjamin. Once we got in touch with him, him and and his wife encouraged us and found a place for us to stay with his uncle, who is also an Adventist pastor. Praise God for the shepherds that care for their flocks. We had a nice warm inviting place to stay and we dined on pancakes with peanut butter and honey. A sweet way to end a sour evening.

The next morning, we were ready to take the border crossing challenge again. This time, with the help of Pastor Benjamin’s uncle.  Once on the other side, we met Pastor Benjamin’s mother and father-in law who took us to their home about an hour from the border. They welcomed us into their home, fed us very well and took us to do some sightseeing. We enjoyed their fellowship and several days of rest at their home. We found Guatemala to be a beautiful country, and God permitting, we would love to go back. Next time, we will be more prepared to meet the challenges that come when crossing the border.