~This story is from January on my missions trip to Mexico, with a team of 18. ~
On Friday our team had our first day off, we worked all morning in the print shop and finished up the newsletters, looking forward to going to the market and then possibly on to the beach. After shopping around the market for a little while, all of the younger team members decided to go to the beach, just for a little bit; it was cold and windy and we didn't feel like hanging out there all day. So we hopped in the van, and started driving looking for a road to the beach, we stopped at a visitor center and asked directions to the nearest beach. We found the road, there were some size large puddles filling the road because of a large rainstorm several days earlier. The first couple we sped through, but as we kept going they started getting a little bigger, a little deeper, and a lot muddier. We got a little stuck, it wasn't a big deal but we decided to turn around and try another road. We found one that was much drier and more passable.
After a couple miles we made it to where we could walk to the beach, and we had to ford a small shallow river, once again we sped through it and arrived safely on the other side, mud and water splashing all the way over the van, coating the entire windshield making in next to impossible to see out of. There were recent-looking tire tracks on both sides of the river so we had figured it was safe enough for us to cross. We made it about 20 yards beyond the river when we hit it. The van began slipping and sliding and then we felt the tires just sink into the ground and begin spinning. Realizing we weren't gonna make it out if this one too easily, we all got out of the car to assess the situation. Thankfully, the river we had crossed had a large pile of rocks in it, making almost a foot bridge. So the guys went to get rocks to put underneath the tires for traction while the girls took pictures and prayed for the van and guys. It took a while and a lot of work, but we'd all seen worse and we're pretty confident we could get out. We made it a few inches, enough to put the chains on the tires. We did make it out and there was a lot of cheering. Only to be short-lived.
We drove about 15 feet and then the tires sunk again and this time much worse. The back right tire was the worst and it was sunk about a third of the way into the sand. Once again we used rocks and laid them under the tires, we had to unbury the exhaust pipe out of the sand. Things were looking dismal, about this time we gave up actually going to the beach, it was all about how we could get ourselves out of this mess. We were in the middle of a wet section of sand and so we only had to turn the van around and get back across the little river. We tried and tried, with rocks and more rocks, but the wheels just kept on spinning and going deeper into the sand. At this point Judah was thinking we should send runners to the nearest highway, which was about 5 miles away. Someone had the grand idea to pray all together before they left and try one more time. We all gathered around, Jonathan, Judah, Jeremy, and David all prayed, asking for direction and help, asking that God would teach us through this and reveal his purpose in all this, Jeremy prayed that God would literally reach down and lift the van out of the ditch. About halfway through, Jeremy starts laughing, he giggled the rest of the prayer time and then shared with us that he had a brief picture of a bunch of angels laying down in front of the wheels and we were driving over them, this brought a lot of laughter and jokes and lifted the general spirit of things. Now Kayla and Julia were sitting in the front seat cuddled up with some blankets, and right when we all said “amen!” we heard them “oh my gosh!!! the car totally just shifted!!” They said it felt like someone had just lifted the van. Excited, Judah jumped back in the drivers seat to try again. He started the car, pressed on the gas, and the rest of the guys went behind to push, and the car eased right up out of the ditch. This time our whoops and hollering was quite obnoxious. We cheered the van up toward the goal, a higher mound that looked pretty dry and was covered with weeds.
The van made it up...and over...and then spin-spin-spin-spin-oh-gosh- “STOP!!!” This time looked hopeless. But we knew what to do. We laughed and joked about the angels having to move and lie down again after we drove over them. We got the rocks in place and then gathered around once again and prayed over it. If the last one wasn't a miracle, this one definitely would be if we got it out without someone towing the van. The wheels were deep enough that the differential was touching the sand. We realized that we were desperate and defined it as “miracle territory.” Expectancy was high. By now the sun was almost setting, it was getting cold, and there were a lot of reasons for us all to be complaining, but for some unknown, or maybe known, reason, our spirits were high and we were actually having fun. Once again we were about to send Jeremy and Jonathan to go get help when we tried one more time, and once again, miraculously, the tire lifted from the sand and the van drove about 150 feet, we thought we had made it. But no, we hadn't, the wheels started spinning and we... were... stuck.
As the sun went down the tide rose, and the ditch that the tires were in began to fill with water. We gathered around and prayed again-- several people had words. By this time we were desperate, humbled and broken before God. It was interesting to see how, when this whole thing started, we were very confident in ourselves, but as time went on, all of us were humbled and completely dependant on God and trusting in him rather than ourselves. Jeremy asked for three strong angels to come behind the van and push it. God blessed us with a beautiful sunset at this time. Judah realized that the more we tried to move the van the deeper it sunk. The water was getting higher, and it was getting windy and cold, so we all came to an agreement to send Jeremy and Jonathan out to find help. We grabbed some money in case they found someone to hire. We gave them a flashlight and, in the case that the person they found only spoke Spanish, we took a picture of our predicament to show them on a phone and sent them with that. They took off running towards the lights of the city.
Here the story separates into two different parts. Lets start with those who stayed at the van.
Those of us left at the van realized there wasn't really anything we could do besides try and stay warm and wait patiently and pray. David and Davis stayed outside and continued to dig around the tires, making a ramp with rocks, but the rocks kept sinking and the water just kept rising. Most of us piled in the van and sat close to each other, with the exception of Chloe and Davis, who were both outside praying by themselves. We had a spontaneous prayer time, some of us really felt the spirit of fear, and the absence of the joy we had all had earlier. We were asking God why He had gotten us out so miraculously so many times before, but not this time? He was obviously working, why didn't he just lift the car again and get us out already? Judah, Kayla, Suey, and Julia were in the front and praying against that fear we were feeling, and praying over Jeremy and Jonathan, praying that God would give the guys extra energy and speed and bring about a divine appointment with someone to help us. We prayed for our parents and those back at the mission wondering what had happened to us, that they would have peace and knowledge. We prayed that God would bring us joy as He had earlier-- right then Kayla's stomach growled really loud and we all started busting up laughing. We really felt our joy and peace return as the fear broke. As we were praying, Chloe opened the door and pokes her head in and says “I just saw three pure white birds fly by, Jeremy just asked for the three angels, and I think that this is a sign that God is going to get us out of this and do something even more amazing.”
We continued to pray, we sang Shekinah Glory and talked and watched for cars coming to help us. Judah started signaling SOS in Morse code towards the distant highway with the headlights, figuring it wouldn't hurt. Joel, Luke, David, and Davis were in the back of the van by this time, later Joel told us that he had looked out the window and seen some soft white streaks go by, no one knows what it was, but he believes it was the angels around the van. We waited, and waited, and waited, and prayed, and laughed, and waited some more. Finally we saw a light that seemed to be coming towards us. Our excitement grew, and Judah started flashing the headlights again. The light got closer, and closer, and finally we could see that it was indeed a car, and that yes, it was coming towards us. Some of us jumped out of the car and started jumping up and down. They got to the other side of the river and we saw the LED lights that we had sent with Jeremy and Jonathan and knew that they had made it back.
Now here's the story from Jeremy and Jonathan (the ones who left for help). Well as Jeremy and Jon start to run towards the city, they come to where they have to cross through the small river. Jeremy breezes through it without getting wet, but Jon fell in and was soaked from about the knee caps all the way to his feet. After they crossed the river, they tried to just run a straight line to the city instead of taking the road to the left and crossing into the city. But it didn't work. Both Jon and Jeremy started to slip and slide. Just at that moment, they changed directions toward the main road about 100 feet away. Jon started to belt out the song “On Christ The Solid Rock” and either they were running very very fast, or another miracle happened because just then, the ground became hard and they weren't slipping. As they trekked on, they would stop for brief breaks in between running and they would start praying. Jon prayed for extra measures of energy, strength, supernatural comfort in the soles of their shoes, and an overwhelming comfort.
The whole reason Jon and Jeremy were sent on this “mission” was because they were the best spanish speakers of our group and because they were both runners. Jon being a long distance runner, Jeremy a sprinter. During this whole time, Jon is rehearsing in his head what words in Spanish he would use to communicate that our car was stuck. As they took another break from running, Jeremy asked God for two angels in a truck with shovels. Just then Jon turns to Jeremy and says “Bro we need to get our bearings so we don't lose track of where we are and where they are.” So as Jon and Jeremy both look back, they can see the van lights on in the distance. Jeremy then adds on to his prayer, asking for someone with jumper cables just in case the van battery dies. They trek on. After a while of thinking, Jon cant think of any words for “stuck” or “trapped in sand” so as he was running he prayed “God, if you would find it in your heart and your will, could you also send us someone who speaks English?”
Jon and Jeremy get to a crossroads. They both look to the left and to the front. Jeremy wanted to go to the left where there were closer lights than the forward ones. During this time is when Isaiah 30:21 seems to be placed in Jon's head. The verse reads: “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, you will hear a voice behind you saying 'This is the way, walk in it.” (paraphrased) Jeremy felt as though Jon was right and the keep on forward. Not long after that, out of nowhere, two bright lights appear to the back left of them about 200 yards back. They start sprinting to try to wave down this car to get either a ride to town to find a truck or for them to tow the van out of the sand. As they approach the road the car was traveling down, they start to turn their flashlights on and off trying to signal the car. Jon is waving down the car, when all of a sudden, the car speeds up and drives off, leaving Jeremy and Jon in the dust, it also left them feeling discouraged that they had spent their last energy trying to get to this car for help. They get back on the main road and not but 5 minutes later, they both look to the left down that same road and they saw two cars approaching. Their spirits were lifted when Jon spots what appeared to be a small compact car, and about 200 feet behind was a single cab truck. They run as fast as they possibly can and miss the compact car, but just then, the truck drives by as they are flashing their lights and waving their hands. They keep watching and flashing their lights but it seemed to be for not. At that very moment when they gave up hope and the truck was about 300 feet in front of them, the truck's brake lights come on, then the white reverse lights, and the they could see the truck turning around and they start to get very happy. As they start to walk toward the approaching truck, it stops about 100 feet or so in front of them and Jon says to himself, “What the heck? Why can't they just drive another hundred feet?” and then he thinks, “Okay this is good, it gives me time to think of what I am going to say.” He somehow comes up with some words to explain in Spanish and started to run to the driver side of the truck. Jeremy stayed a little behind also thinking of what to say. When all of a sudden as Jeremy is thinking, Jon yells out “You speak English!!!” Now he said it in such a tone that Jeremy couldn't tell if it was a question or not. But what happened was as Jon came up to the car, the driver rolled down the window, and just then, every word that Jon had rehearsed completely left his mind. He just stared at the driver for maybe 5 seconds with a blank face when suddenly the driver asks “Need any help buddy?” And Jon yells out “You speak English!!!” Jon tried to compose himself when he remembers the picture they took on the phone. He fishes it out of his pocket and tries to find the picture while saying to the driver “Our car is stuck at the beach and-” “Get in the back” said the driver. “What?” “Get in the back.” Jon and Jeremy hop in the truck bed in disbelief. They get in and sit down on something very hard. Jon thought it was just the molding of the truck bed, but he takes his flashlight and looks down and he was sitting on a long round piece of wood. He follows the piece of wood with his flashlight beam and sees the head of a shovel, it was one of four shovels in the back as well as a set of jumper cables.
On that ride, Jon just kept saying to Jeremy: “This isn't real, this isn't real. I am convinced I passed out while running and this is just a dream.” But Jeremy says “this ain't no dream.” The whole ride back to the beach, Jon was in disbelief and also in awe knowing that it was true and that it was happening. They gave directions to the driver all the way to the beach and when they were getting close, they could see the van lights flashing. The driver drove up and stopped just before the river as David came over to Jeremy and Jon. The driver got out of the car and followed Jeremy, Jon and David to the van across the river, he asked for one of them to stay back with his wife. Jon volunteered and walked back to the truck. He opened the door and started to talk to his wife in English assuming that she spoke it just like her husband, but she spoke only Spanish. Jon communicated that they got stuck, how many people there were, his and Jeremy's name, and then said “Dios es bueno” meaning “God is good” and she says “Si, Dios es bueno.” Jon then starts to talk about faith and religion and if she was a Christian or not, just trying to keep the conversation going while they worked to get the van out. To Jon's understanding, what happened then was that her husband was at the van and asked Suey and Chloe to go over with his wife as well. Jon saw them trying to cross the river and went over to help. As Chloe finished crossing, the van zooms by and crossed the river. Everyone walked back to the man's truck where he began to talk.
Right after the truck finally got there, Luke carried all the shovels over the river and David asked the man, whose name was Dewayne, if he had a tractor. Dewayne mentioned that he owned one, but that it was pretty small. “Here I'll show you a picture of it.” He pulls up a picture on his phone of a tractor with eight giant wheels, each taller than a standing man, “Think this would work?” He said. They get to the car with the shovels, and Dewayne says that they're going to make it out on the first try. Everybody goes, “well yeah, that sounds great!” But he said, “No, you don't understand, it's coming out on the first try.” Well, okay! Little did we know that he was prophesying. We had tried and tried to get out of that spot time and time again, with no success, what was he gonna do? He gets to work and removes all of our rocks that we had put under the tires, and makes nice tidy little ramps under each tire, hops in the drivers seat, and drives right out, right out of the muddy, soggy, sandy disaster that was sucking each tire down. No problem. We were ecstatic, and also very very in shock, and in awe of God's power. Judah took the van safely across the river, which was much bigger now because of the tide, and everybody gathered on the safe side of the river. There were hugs all around.
Meanwhile a lot of us had been praying that if they didn't know Jesus, God would open their hearts and we would get to share the gospel with them. So Dewayne gathers us together and begins to talk, “Guys, if this teaches you anything, it is that God answers prayer. God answered every single thing you asked for, down to the last jumper cable. You be careful what you ask for!” He goes on to share with us about how he never ever drives after dark, let alone stops, especially when he has his wife with him. He must've told us that about 15 times. He explained that he had been really angry with his wife because she insisted that they go pick something up in town after dark. It was actually her birthday that day and he had forgotten that it was until they were driving to the beach to come help us. So we all sang happy birthday, or, cumpleanos feliz, to her, she got out and gave us big hugs. We prayed together, and Dewayne shared some more about how he had been really falling away from God and lost his hope and that being a part of something like this was huge conformation to him of the goodness and faithfulness of God. There wasn't a single dry eye.
The Story of Dewayne's Wife:
A few months previous his wife had breast cancer, eighteen tumors, and had been in so much pain all the time. They were at church one day and the pastor was talking about healing and Dewayne's wife asked if he thought it really worked. He had responded with a sarcastic, “well, the only way to find out is to go up and have them pray for you!” So she did, that night she kept Dewayne up all night saying over and over again that she didn't feel any pain! In a few days she was scheduled to go in for surgery, but she said that she felt fine and didn't need to go to the doctor. But Dewayne wanted to take her just in case. The doctors were astounded, there was absolutely no more cancer. They took x-rays and showed them the before and after pictures, and it was a miracle. She is completely healed and never suffered from it again. So that was instrumental in God getting Dewayne's attention back, but he was still waiting for a sign. He had actually even been a leader of a bible school in the area, but had left, not only the bible school, but Jesus as well.
He said to us, “You guys think that God sent me to you, you think that God was answering your prayers and used me to help you. And yes, He did, but even more so, this was God answering my prayers. God
sent you to help me.” Being apart of something like this was huge conformation for him, as well as several others on the team. A lot of us had really felt that God wanted us to go on this trip, but as of yet, were still wondering why. One of the young men on the trip had publicly given his life to Jesus that very morning.
Dewayne invited all of us back to their house to wash off the windshield and meet his kids and call our parents to let us know that we were safe. It was around 7:30 by then. We stopped on the way back to his house at a hose to wash off the windshield, we parked about 7 feet behind his truck and Judah hops out of the car, forgetting to put the van in park! So he's out of the car when the rest of us realize that the car was moving! We all started freaking out and Kayla, riding shotgun, was blessed with extreme presence of mind and reached over and yanked the van into park. We stopped in the nick of time. It really wouldn't have been cool to get out of something like that only to get in an accident. God worked a miracle again. Kayla had never even driven a van like that before and had no idea how to put it in park. So we got to their house, talked and prayed some more and met their kids. His daughter was suffering from an ear infection and so we laid hands on her and prayed, we don't know if she was healed because she got really shy and hid with her mom, but by the time we left she was smiling and happy, and gave us hugs. We all agreed that even though we had just met them, they felt like family. Dewayne gave us his contact information and invited us to come back and see them next time we were in the area. He led us back to the main highway and we said goodbye. The rest of the drive back to the mission was the reality of what had just happened sinking in. We broke out in praise and singing to God, more tears. It truly was a bonding experience and not one of us left unchanged because of it.
God took something of rest and recreation and turned it into an amazing, glorifying time with him. And thats the God we serve. One who can take nothing and make something of it. Thank you for reading and we sincerely hope you enjoyed this testimony about how our Lord, Jesus Christ, still works today, answers prayer, and performs miracles.