Saturday, September 21, 2013
Our Adventure to Big Woods - Part 1
Here is a little about the trip from Kansas to Big Woods. We left Wichita and headed for Dallas with the intention to stay the night there. When we got to Dallas we had a hard time finding the hotel where we were going to stay with our friend's sister. The hotel was in downtown Dallas, it was after 11 pm and it was Saturday night. I think we saw at least 3 drunk drivers before reaching the hotel (one was driving the wrong way on a one way road towards us)! We got to the hotel and saw that the only hotel parking was in a parking structure. We pulled into the driveway to the parking entrance and asked the guy who worked at the hotel if this was the only parking available. He asked how long we would be staying and we said overnight. He said to park there. We drove down the driveway into the structure and took a ticket to lift the gate arm. We pulled in and suddenly there was a loud (no a HUGE) banging noise. We both suddenly realized that we had a van topper on the roof of the van. So I got out to try and direct Donovan while he attempted to back out the way we came in (hitting the signs again and making a huge clanging noise). The gate arm wouldn't lift so I walked back up to find someone. The guy who had been there was gone and another man came by with a walkie talkie. He couldn't do anything because he didn't know the channel to call. Soon after two more employees came walking down and they tried using the call buttons but apparently the phone system had just gone down. They left and we got back into the car to wait. Luckily Donovan noticed the gate lift (it must have been a remote access). I walked up the drive and watched as he backed out. He drove slowly out and the van hit the height sign (6 foot 5)! It swung back and forth wildly and I can't imagine why the guy who had been standing there never said a thing to us (maybe he was laughing). When we had pulled in the first time we couldn't see the height sign. So we pull out and drive to the front entrance to ask the valet parking attendant. He said we could park across the street and pointed to a lot that was used for utility vehicles. Neither of us felt comfortable leaving the van out in the middle of downtown all night with the topper on it. We decided to get out of Dallas and keep driving. We pulled out and prayed that we would find a McDonald's nearby to use the free wi-fi for directions on our i-pad. We found one right up the road and were able to get directions. The building was closed and the girls needed to go potty so we pulled into a gas station next door. I got out with Grace & Felicity and Donovan began pumping gas. A car parked behind us was blaring music and I saw two guys who you might think were in a gang. Suddenly I felt very uncomfortable being at this gas station (which we realized was in a very bad part of town). As I was walking with the girls to the bathroom one of the men walked over to Donovan while he was pumping gas. I suddenly had the feeling that Donovan was going to be robbed or shot or both while I was in the bathroom. I didn't know what to do but keep walking and pray. When we got into the bathroom I had both girls praying to our guardian angels and I was praying Hail Marys over and over again. I kept walking over to the window to look out and the man had his back to me. He was still talking to Donovan. When the girls finished I told them to walk very quickly with me and get into the van fast. They asked why and I just said that I didn't feel very safe here and it was time to go. We got into the van fast and buckled up. Donovan was still talking to the man. He finally finished and got in. I was ready to get out of Dallas and we headed out on the freeway. Donovan said that when the guy walked up to him he was also scared and thought he might get robbed or shot so he started praying. The guy was probably drunk or high and came over to ask Donovan for money to buy a beer. Donovan said he didn't have any change (he was asking for 40 cents). He also told the guy he didn't drink so he wouldn't buy alcohol for someone else. The guy asked why he didn't drink and Donovan shared how he had made a decision when he was young not to drink. He responded by saying, "I wish I had done that." He ended up telling Donovan he had a really hard day and Donovan offered to pray for him. He agreed and said, "I'm not gonna close my eyes or anything." Donovan prayed over him and then he got back in the car. Who knows what was going to happen when he approached Donovan, but God had a plan in all of it. Donovan was able to witness to a stranger and God used that moment. Our missions had already begun.