Ever been in that moment where you have no idea how it is going to turn out? February 6, 9:06 am of this year was exactly that for my two children and I. Some wise guy threw out charcoal embers in the chute of a 18th-floor apartment building. Boy did we learn how black tar smoke and a scathing fire can change your perspective in an instant.
We moved to Bogota almost eight years ago. My son was barely three months, I had just quit a job because of my employer's breach of contract, and was clueless as to North. In a matter of weeks before moving, we sold everything and traveled to my wife’s birth country to work with Pastor Cesar Fajardo.
Pastorship in Colombia is quite different. The first salary we were offered was the equivalent of USD $200. Needless to say, we spent that first year at my in-laws. It is amazing to overlook these past years: my son is tall, my two-year-old daughter is making jokes, and my wife is flourishing as a business entrepreneur. As our time in Colombia slowly folds to a close, I reflect upon the Lord’s supremacy and amazing conductor’s touch.
One time we were in a tight financial spot and coincidently at a wealthy person’s home. As I sat in that man’s living room, the Lord spoke very powerfully to me with the words found in Luke 18:29-30; And He said to them, “Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who will not receive many times as much at this time and in the age to come, eternal life.”
A year later, that man had his house repossessed along with his many possessions. Our family on the other hand, though we never sought it, slowly prospered. The first time we visited Bogota, I was amazed by the high towering buildings. I remember whispering a prayer to one day live in one… In 2013 it was a reality. Such an amazing apartment: costly, nice neighborhood, a gym, swimming pool, and more. It seems like we have accumulated more possessions in Bogota than we left behind in the States. It is amazing to detach from what seems life-essential, to leave a country, family, and all comfort zones. The spectacular part is eight years later to have it all again, with contentment. The once sought commodities really don’t seem necessary once you learn to live without them.
Returning to our predicament on February 6, 2016, our beautiful apartment was filled with haunting smoke, sounds, and scenes I had only seen in the movie Backdraft. My strong belief in God as the master conductor of life’s symphony is drawn from the conclusion of the house-fire. There were many points of miraculous intervention that could have decided the fate of my wife, my children, and I (here is a link to the detailed miracles and audio testimony).
In the recorded audio, I mention a recurring dream that some men have had at one time or another, that frightful moment to defend and protect our family. In my moment of tragedy, I never thought about missed accomplishments or regrets in my short lifespan. I looked at my two children’s bulging eyes, bit my lip and said, Lord, is this it...is this how it ends...at least I am with them, I will hold them until my last breath. I still searched for an escape, a glorious escape it was!
My perception of heroism is now to stay alive, overcome, and be available in every circumstance. No one will cherish, suffer or solace my family as I will. I will do my utmost to guarantee their quality of life is pure as can be. I can assuredly say, after eight years in Bogota, that Luke passage has been fulfilled. The value of possessions and achievements in life is acquired by the time, courage, and cost to accomplish them. My greatest achievements are my wife and children. Let us thank the Lord this day for our family, truly precious incorruptible treasure.