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You intended to harm me, but God utilized it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people. – Genesis 50:20

Right now, I’m sitting in the Chicago O’Hare airport waiting for my flight home to Seattle. There are so many wonderful stories to share from my time in Puerto Rico, and I will blog some of them, but this one is about how God utilized me specifically, before the mission group even arrived!

A week ago, on Friday the 21st, Cesar and I had lunch with Pastor Adriel and his wife from La Iglesia Bautista del Rio Chicito (baptist church of the little river) in Ponce, Puerto Rico. The purpose of the lunch meeting was to talk through the schedule and expectations for the group that was arriving the following day. We discussed many things, including the painting projects that needed to be done around the church.

Pastor Adriel had big hopes for the work he wanted done around the church, which included painting the fence and gate, the railings around the balconies, three sunday school rooms, the nursery, and potentially all of the concrete floors downstairs. His wife expressed an even larger hope that she had been praying for, that when they painted the nursery, they could paint a mural on the wall. She envisioned a large tree, then she would have the kids cut out their handprints on colored paper, and hang them from the “tree” as it’s fruits.

This was a lot of work to be done by our small group of 14 in the 8 hours that we had allocated to church work projects. But God is bigger than our plans, so we prayed that He would find a way to make it happen.

After lunch we met with the leader of the local homeless center that we were planning to work at, and then headed to el parque de bombas to familiarize myself with the route and make a plan for parking.

Fender Bender

On our way to el parque de bombas, we had a small fender bender, that derailed the rest of our afternoon. In Puerto Rico any accident, no matter how small, requires a police report. So, we waited for the police to arrive for more than an hour. Thankfully, the young woman that we were in the accident with was very gracious and kind. Still, I felt awful because it really was my fault. So, I used that hour to pray that even though it was a difficult situation, God would use it for His glory.

The following day we had to drive across the island to San Juan to pick up our team.  On the highway, the plastic undercarriage cover came loose and we had to stop to secure it.  While I was working to secure it a man stopped by to see if he could help us.  Although it was taking me some time, I had a plan and it really was a one-person job.  So, Cesar struck up a conversation with the gentleman.  When Cesar told him that we were missionaries, his eyes lit up.  He said that he has been feeling like God had been reaching out to him recently, but he didn’t know what to do about it.  So Cesar had a good conversation with him about going to church, reading the bible, and having a relationship with Jesus Christ.

Our new friend wanted to know more and invited us out for lunch when we finished our roadside repair.  Our team’s flight was delyaed by an hour, so we gladly accepted his offer.  At lunch Cesar shared the gospel with him, and I talked with him about the importance that church attendance in the life of a believer.  So, God used our accident for His glory!  But, He wasn’t done there.

While we were at the airport our new friend called and told us that he had a friend who was a famous mural painter in Ponce, and art teacher at the local university.  He wanted to know if any of our painting at the church could benefit from the painting of a mural. 

Nursury Mural la Iglesia Bautista del Rio Chicito
God works in Amazing ways!

So, his friend came in on Tuesday and painted the mural that the pastors wife had been praying for.  So God answered prayer twice that day.  He answered the prayer for a mural to be painted in the nursery, and He answered my prayer that my accident would prove to be to His glory.  

And if you’re still wondering about all that other work they wanted to get done, no, our group was not able to finish it.  But, there was another group staying nearby (from North Carolina) that had more people than they needed for their work, so they came over and finished the painting that our team was unable to complete due to our other obligations.

God is so good, and His plans are always greater than ours!