What a week it's been. My expectations for this trip were completely shattered.
It was a week full of hard work, and opportunities to minister, which was expected, but what blew my mind was what God did during our down time, especially on our free day.
Before I talk about our free day, I have to backtrack a little to the day before. I had a bad fibro flare-up and had ended my day fighting back a pity party.
I kept asking God why I was even on this trip if my body was going to give up two days in.
After some prayer and a cool shower I began to feel a little better but the thought still nagged at the back of my mind.
Why was I on this trip?
So back to free day...
Dave, our youth leader, had painstakingly mapped out our schedule for the day having arranged a tour of a local estuary known for something called 'black water'(still not sure what that is) and would include a tour of some of the local birds. We would then head to El Yunque, the local rain forest to swim in the waterfall pools followed by a trip to a local beach recommended by one of our interpreters.
God had other plans.
As we were about to pull out for our free day, Dave got a call from Estaban, the gentleman in charge of the estuary tour, who informed us that there was torrential rains and that the hiking trails were closed.
Ok, change of plans.
A smaller group from Georgia was just about to leave so we asked them if they would let us follow them to El Yunque, as our directions were from the estuary not the retreat center and they agreed.
After a few minor navigational errors we arrived at the rain forest and stopped at an amazing observation tower. The view was breath taking, and I learned, by overhearing a couple ascending the stairs, the tower had 98 steps. I didn't know it yet but I would meet that couple later on that day.
We decided to head to the falls next. We agreed to follow our friends from Georgia to the trailhead for La Mina Falls and off we went.
Well, for some reason we missed the turn-off for the trailhead and end up at the upper end of the trail. We rolled with it and started down the trail, taking pictures as we went along.
A good way down the trail the same couple from the tower passed us stragglers at the end of our group. As we continued on I could see them in the distance and was horrified to see her slip on the path. Her ankle was turned in an unnatural direction.
Instinct took over as I ran back up the trail to find Dawn, she's a nurse practitioner who was with us on the trip. Having explained the situation we hurried back down the trail to find Keena, as we would learn her name to be, lying on her back with her husband Tony elevating her leg.
Dawn immediately assessed her, doing all the things a first responder should do. 911 was called and I found myself talking with Keena doing my best to comfort her. I lost track of how many times I prayed over her as Dawn and Zaneta, another adult from our group tried to ease the pain in her leg.
We waited for two hours for the EMTs to arrive and finally get her to safety.
The one thing I remember was her thanking me, and thinking this is why I'm here.
I'm here to be his hands and feet.
I'm here to encourage and bring comfort to Keena.
I'm here to show God's glory to everyone who walk down that trail and saw our compassion and heard our prayers.
God is amazing. He truly orchestrated all this so we would be in the right place at just the right time.
If we had followed our original plan, we wouldn't had been at the rain forest, but would have been at the estuary. If we had stopped at the trailhead and hiked the other path to the falls we wouldn't had been where God wanted us to be.
God knew exactly what Keena needed and chose us to be his hands extended.
If that was the end of the story it would be enough.
But it wasn't.
We received an update from Tony on Keena's condition and she was doing well they were able to set her leg and they were both headed home to Texas. He thanked us again for all our help, but that's not the best part.
The best part...he said that Keena and he have grown closer to each other and God through this ordeal.
We don't always get to see the full extent of us following God's will, and even in this case, I'm certain there was even more lives impacted by our actions, but sometimes we get to see a little bit of the big picture.
Well, that just makes my heart sing.