i never imagined this

I don’t have permission to use his real name, so I’ll just call him John.  He was one of the leaders in the ministry that my first husband and I used to be a part of…one that started churches on college campuses.  We lived in Mexico City, which at that time had about 20 million people.  It was September 18, 1985, when John planned to arrive on a commercial flight for the trip of his lifetime.

My husband decided that I would pick John up from his flight and drive him to General Aviation, where he would have our plane, a Cessna 210, ready to fly him, along with our family, to Monterrey for an evening service with our church there.

“Nooo!” I protested.  “We’ve been traveling so much, I don’t even know where I am when I wake up anymore.  Besides, it’s rude to have him arrive after a long flight from Florida and then put him on our small plane for another 2-3 hours!”

He would not be swayed.  “I just feel like we have to go!” he said.

I grudgingly headed for the Mexico City airport with my 2 small children in tow.  John was surprised when I told him my husband’s plan to fly him to Monterrey, but he went along good naturedly.  We drove up to our small airplane to see my husband with jumper cables, similar to the ones you use for a dead car battery.  He was attaching them to our airplane’s battery.

“What?” I exclaimed. “The battery’s dead!  I really don’t want to fly to Monterrey now!”

“Ahhh, don’t worry,” he replied, “Once it charges, it’ll keep going.”

John and I looked at each other.

Sure enough, the engine cranked, and we were given the order, “all aboard!”  I climbed in the back with my daughter and son and let John sit in front with my stubborn husband.   I prayed all the way to Monterrey that we would get there safely, and amazingly, we did.

We held the meeting with our church that night and the next morning, we were on the tarmac, ready to take off about 7:30 AM, when the tower radioed our plane, saying that our flight plan was cancelled because Mexico City had been destroyed by an earthquake.  We looked at each other in shock.  As we taxied back to the terminal I prayed for our church members and for the children who attended our private school that we had started.  They would be on their way to classes at just that time when the earthquake struck, which was 7:19 AM.   I had to admit that I was glad I had listened about going to Monterrey, even though I knew I would never cease to hear about his being right after that.

I dialed my mother’s phone number in Odessa, Texas, and she picked up right away.  She had just seen the report on Good Morning America while she dressed for work, and when she heard my voice, she broke into tears, “Are you okay?” she cried.

“Yes, Mom, we are in Monterrey, not Mexico City.”  I consoled her.  “The children are with me and they’re fine.  We’re just worried about all our friends there.” 

If we had stayed in Mexico City, I would not have been able to call her.  Phone service was not restored for months after the quake, so again, I was glad that we made the trip.

The next day, Friday, we loaded up the plane once more and got clearance to fly back.  We had no way of contacting anyone about our arrival and we had no car at the airport, so we did not know how we were going to get home.  We just flew back “in faith.”

John’s adventure and ours was not over yet.


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