Merry Christmas! We just got back from spending a week with Michelle’s family at the beach (nice). Good times were had by all and it was nice to see some family again. Of course, it was also nice to be in even HOTTER weather than normal when it is freezing cold and snowing back in Calgary. Sorry to all having to deal with it; we were thinking of your suffering as we sipped piñadas and snorkeled. Seriously. I would trade my suntan for your frost bite if I could, but I can’t. And I should probably stop before someone flies down here to take me up on the offer!
Some quick bits before we get to the story I wanted to share. First the drive to Huatulco from Tlaxiaco is a little long and definitely hard on the stomach. Here’s the actual email I sent to my buddy Dave who’s family tends to get carsick:
“Just to let you know, we made it down here safely. Well, with just a shade under 10 pukes from the kids. That road would have had your van covered in throw up with all your car sick prone kids. I was worried that I would blow a shock or something from all the back and forth turns. Took about 3-4 hours to get through 150ish km’s.”
Ya, Chelsey, Jared and Katria got a little sick. And the drive was long and hard on the van.
Nothing much to talk about during the week. Sun, sunburns, sand, sandburns… WAY too much eating. WAY too many people wearing two-piece swimsuits who should’ve thought thrice about it.
OK. The trip home. We decided to take a different route back based on the map and a chat with a local. He said we should actually take this route back to Oaxaca as the road is better and the time is about the same. ‘Nuff said. We really wanted to avoid the sequel to Puke Fest. And we did! Only one kid lost it this time (Katria) although it was smelly enough and enough volume to match all from the first trip. Um, eww!
But, here’s today’s story. We had just over a half tank of gas to start the day. But we decided not to fill up right at the start of the day as we knew there are always plenty of Pemex’s along the road. (Pemex is the Mexican national gas station. Gas stations are always this company and they are everywhere on the highways)
So we get going and ya, the road is really nice. About an hour and a half into the drive we pass a Pemex but I decide not to stop because:
1. We have over a half tank and we always wait until about a half
2. Katria just fell asleep and we would rather not wake her
So we keep driving knowing that we will see a Pemex at the right time.
We keep driving, no Pemex.
An hour later: no Pemex.
Down to a quarter tank of gas and we’re into the mountains. No Pemex.
Katria throws up (talked about earlier) and the stress level climbs. We pull over to clean her up and you can feel that both Michelle and I are feeling the pressure. I get a massive headache out of nowhere. I realize (and I suspect Michelle does too): it’s gonna be like that is it? A little spiritual warfare today, eh? Well, it sure is nice to be on the winning side. So devil, be prepared to lose this one because we see what we’re you’re trying. (Man, that puke stunk and it looked horrible)
We keep on driving. Gas is getting lower. No sign of Pemex. We lead the kids in prayer and keep driving.
Down to an eigth of a tank. The mountain roads are just that. Climbing and curvy. But thankfully there are downhills to coast down. No Pemex.
Getting dangerously close to empty now. The prayers are getting a little more fervant but the faith is strong. We just know we’ll be ok. All three kids are being angels right now: coincidence? Not a chance. The Holy Spirit has made Himself comfortable in our van and we’re loving His presence.
We finally pull into a little town that looks like it should have a Pemex. We pull over to ask where it is, “oh, about 5 minutes up the road in the next town.” Sounds good. We keep driving.
5 minutes down the road we get into the next town. No Pemex. We pull over again and ask where the next gas station is. (I think I actually walked into someone’s kitchen while they were eating, oops). They say it’s about 20 minutes down the road. I need a Coke. So I ask if they have one. Yes! The lady hands me the Coke and I hand her a 10 peso coin while asking how much the Coke is. She says 10 pesos and smiles a little slyly. Ya, sure it is (Cokes usually cost 7). But I paid it anyways. It was cold and delicious.
Not much gas now and we’re still driving through the mountains. We drive about 20 minutes and no sign of a town OR a Pemex. So I pull over and ask a cab driver parked on the side of the road. About 20 km’s down the road in a certain town I can’t remember the name of now. Um, ok.
So we keep praying and keep driving. After about 20 km’s there is no sign of a town, Pemex or even a safe place to pull over! So we keep going. The praying gets a little louder but we keep moving. The gas light comes on. I need to check my manual for the van but I seem to remember that the light means you have about 5 litres of fuel left. Therefore, GET TO A GAS STATION AND STOP DRIVING THROUGH THE MOUNTAINS, DUMMY. But they can’t put that in the owners guide, it’s too clear and precise!
We keep on driving. We actually ended up climbing another couple of passes but were following a really slow moving semi-truck. Which is a good thing because we couldn’t gun the engine up the mountain. Fuel economy. Which probably doesn’t matter because at this point we are out of fumes and fully running on the Holy Spirit.
As we are coming down the mountain a second time we look over and see the 2nd most wonderful sign we could see:
Gas: 15 km’s.
Oh my. We just knew that the van had 15 more clicks in it. Why not? It had already gone WAY further than it should of. But just seeing the sign was a confirmation of the Lord providing a miracle. So we turn on the praise music and starting singing along. Today’s choice was a classic: “Skallelueia” from the Insyderz. The poor kids, having to deal with their parents choice of music. They’ll get back at us though. It’s only a matter of time…
We sing for the next 8 km’s (I’m keeping count on the odometer to know how close we are) and we see another sign. Gas: 1km. Huh? Was that last sign incorrect, or did we just travel and extra 10 or so km’s without the odometer moving? Could have been either really. I have heard stories of certain believers needing to be somewhere really fast and just finding themselves there. Cool stuff happens when God gets involved.
But then we see the most miraculous sign we could see. PEMEX! I tell the kids to not be surprised if the van lurches and stalls right as we pull in because God just did a miracle. They’re excited, we’re excited: God did a miracle for us! The van actually doesn’t stall in the station but I didn’t care. The attendent fills up the tank: over 77 litres put in. That tank couldn’t get any dryer; in fact I thought it was about 10 litres less than that in total capacity! But who cares.
As we’re getting back in the van (after eating ice cream and relaxing), Chelsey says to me:
“Dad, I really liked that song you were singing.”
“Which one?” I reply.
“The one which says ‘Our God is an awesome guy'”
“Huh? Do you mean ‘Our God is an awesome God?”
“Oh! Was that what it said? I thought it said that God is an awesome guy”
“You know what Chelsey?” I answer after thinking for a quick second. “I like your words better.”
He is an awesome guy.