Friday, August 30, 2013

The Story of A Great Miracle

Once Upon A Time

I once knew a little boy with skin so fair and beautiful dark eyes.  I was a little girl at the time and didn’t pay attention to details such as weight and height.  But I do remember the first time I saw him.  He was so little so cute and so fragile.  I fell in love right away.  He was my mom’s first grandson, my brother’s first son and the funniest thing to me that not only was he my first nephew, but also my baby sister’s nephew (she was only 2 years old).  The idea of us being aunts at a young age was hilarious to me that I decided to think of him as a baby brother.  The first weeks were really hard for everyone to adjust.  He had come to live to my mom’s 2 bedroom full house.  I mean it, a full house. That little baby boy cried and cried and cried.  He cried in such a painful stressful, irritable manner that it was worrisome.   I remember my mom praying and laying hands on him all the time that I had to ask what was wrong with the baby.  Her answer was just so alarming to me; David, my nephew, was a drug-addicted baby.  As a child, I couldn’t quite comprehend the problem, but her answer would hunt me in the years to come.

Three days after David was born, my brother left El Salvador to the United States.  I suppose it was a very common practice in a third-world country with a devastating civil war for fathers to migrate to the north and look for financial means to support their families.  My father had left many years earlier under a political asylum.  Unfortunately, as time goes by, most of the relationships between the father that migrates far away and the family that stays behind, deteriorates.  And as we all know, history repeats itself, and this time it didn’t discriminate my family.  My brother left and later on, my sister in-law, (David’s mom) also packed up her bags and took her own journey to a different far away land.   
David, me and my baby sister
I really don’t understand their thinking or agreement, neither is my place to tell.  I can, however, tell you what my eyes saw: A little boy who was now abandoned by his mom and his dad.  My mom had hoped she would keep and raise David which I found to be such an appealing idea!  But no sir!  His maternal grandmother would not give him up so easily!  Long story short, we kept a close relationship as both grandmothers were neighbors.  Could this situation be any more convenient?

The Unexpected

It was convenient indeed until 5 years later when we found ourselves forced to leave El Salvador and join the rest of the family in the USA.  (Details to that story coming soon - stay tuned).  I remember the last time I saw his cute little face at the airport when they came to say goodbye.  That image was engraved in my heart!  My mother kept in touch with his grandmother.  We always knew of his whereabouts and we got pictures of him now and then.  My favorite picture had been of him at church playing a keyboard.   
My mother had a picture of me playing the keyboard at church also and she kept both of those together.  Who knew that the keyboard was going to be the link of a great miracle that God was going to perform 24 years later in front of our very own eyes.

Thirteen years later my mother got very ill and stayed at the county hospital for a month as her health deteriorated so rapidly.  In her death bed, among her last wishes, she asked my youngest sister and me to keep in touch with David because he needed family.  She died of lung cancer on March 13, 2002.  It has been by far the most painful experience that I’ve been through.  I felt so lost for so long.  After she died, my sister and I, along with my dad left the apartment we had shared with my mom and in the process many things got lost…David’s information amongst those things.   

The Unsuccessful Search

I never told anybody this story, except my husband, who is my best friend.  Ten years ago, after we got married, I tried looking for David with no success.  But it wasn’t until eight years ago in 2005, after I gave birth to my first son, Jesse, when I felt my heart so heavy with the need to find my nephew.  I lift so many prayers asking for providence and mercy over his life.  The thought of him being a drug-addicted baby pounded so hard in my heart.  I began to worry day and night thinking of his whereabouts.  I worry that he had nothing to eat or no shelter.  I began to imagine him involved in drugs or maybe worst, involved in gangs.   I suppose the motherly instinct kicked in.  I began to question so many things and knowing what abandonment felt like, I wondered if he had fallen a victim of it.  I surfed many websites and I signed up for the school that we both had attended: Liceo Cristiano, hoping that someone will provide me with any information.  Finally, somebody did give me some information, but mysteriously I can’t remember who it was.  That person told me that my nephew had turned into a fine young man who had been a worship leader at his church.  He was now gone and they didn’t know where he was.  The first piece to the puzzle was so refreshing to my thirsty soul.  The news brought so much peace to my life; it was not other than Shalom, the peace that comes from God.  A few months later, I had a dream that David had called me.  He was here in the USA!  I had asked him to join my church as we were in need of musicians.  In my dream, he had come to my church and he had played the piano so beautifully as my husband and I lead worship.  I didn’t think much of the dream other than it was wishful thinking.  I kept searching for him, but never found him.

God Having a Good Laugh 

It was on Saturday, August 24th, 2013 after driving home from a family reunion that I poured out my heart to my husband once again, telling him about my frustration of not knowing anything about David.  Suddenly, we got interrupted by a phone call.  It was our pastor calling my husband about a musician we were going to have as a guest for Sunday.   The next day at church my husband leads worship accompanied by the guest musician in the piano while I stay teaching the kids.   At the end of the service, the musician and I have a small conversation after my husband insisted that I needed to meet him because he’s also Salvadorian just like me.  But even better, he was from the same county where I grew up.  Well, the musician and I  chit-chat for 5 minutes and we each go on with our lives.  An hour later I get a text from my pastor asking me crazy questions like my dad’s name and brother’s name.  I didn’t know what to make of it.  Was he doing a background check on me?  Kind of late pastor!  Well, he calls me and tells me the most amazing news my ears had heard: The young man that had played the piano at church that day during worship time was my long lost nephew David!  I don’t remember what else he said after that because I started crying and screaming.  The news, as expected, were music to my ears.   My heart was beating so fast, I thought I was going to have a heart attack.  He patches me through with David and we make arrangements for him to come to my house and meet.   

The Reunion

I waited at home for an hour before they arrived and as you can imagine, it was the longest hour of my life.  I called my husband who was at work to leave work and rush back home.  Finally, David arrived.  He came with the family that had connected him to The Vine, my home church and with my pastors.   The encounter was so surreal to me yet so wonderfully miraculous.  The connection I felt was so instant and the love for my nephew began to flow through my soul instantly.  It turns out that my nephew has never done drugs.  He studied music in a conservatory in Sonora, Mexico and it’s now a pastor of a mission in Culiacan, Mexico.  He’s also married to a beautiful young lady, whose name God used as the link to reconnect us.   She’s named Siomara, like me, and she has a beautiful angelic soprano voice.  They are currently expecting their first baby, a girl who will be born in October, my birth month. 

It will take me a whole book to tell you the details of the story and the details of that night.  But that evening, in my home, many eyes witnessed the glory of God being poured out over our lives.  It turns out David had been desperately looking for us too.  He had asked God for an opportunity to meet his dad whom he had never seen.  That night, he got his wish granted and so much more.  His dad, my brother did drive all the way from LA to Ontario, CA to meet his son.  My sisters were there.  My dad, his grandfather was there too.  It was an amazing family reunion.  I looked around my house and it was full of people, some I didn’t even know.   
Me, David and my hubby
All I could think of is that when my husband and I first bought the house we had thanked God and asked him to use it for his Glory in whichever manner He pleased.  The night of Sunday, August 25th, our house was used for His glory.  What happened that night was a miracle that had been weaved since David had been in his mother’s womb.  The more we talk, the more we find out how God was preparing us all for this special event.  It turns out, David has been to the USA many times before and he’d been staying in Fontana, a city 20 minutes from my house.  He’s also been preaching to many churches in my neighborhood and he knows the same circle of people that I know.  We have probably even been in the same place at the same time without knowing.  Talk about serendipity, I say not! There are no happy incidents in life, just wonderful miracles performed by our God All Mighty!  To Him be all the Glory! 

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11 NIV

Special thanks to my pastors and dear friends Nate and Janeth Villarreal who were used in a wonderful way to make this possible.  Special thanks to the Ruiz family for allowing God to use them as liaison.  Special thanks to the love of my life, my husband whose godly wisdom and love has been my support trough my ups and down.  And finally special thanks to all of those who have been there for my nephew, specially Roberto and Genny.

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