To so many of you who prayed for our journey today, here is how the day ended, me with my mouth stuffed full, between two of the most incredible friends in the world, at our intended stopping point, San Cristobal, Las Casas, Mexico.
When my alarm went off at 2:30 AM, Kellie popped out of bed before me, to go downstairs and brew our final pot of coffee in Guatemala. The previous day was our final day of goodbyes, with friends stopping by, hugs and gifts exchanged, and emotions stacked higher than our suitcases.
With our two dogs, Remus and Sirius loaded in the van, along with their required paperwork, Stephen, Antony, and myself hit the dark roadways and made our way out of the city, through Chimaltenango, heading north towards Huehuetenango, and towards the border crossing of Mesia, Mexico.
There were two memorable phrases spoken today, both by my uncle Stephen: (1) "I hear water running," and (2) "There's a turtle over here."
We were driving in the cold, dark, high altitude air of Tecpan when the first phrase broke the soothing hum of the tires on the open roads, "I hear water running," Stephen said. I asked, "Is the five gallon jug busted?" Suddenly we all shared awareness as we heard the sounds of Sirius, our smallest Schnauzer, puking inside of his dog kennel. Ironically, shortly thereafter, it was the sound of water running again as we poured from the five gallon water jug to rinse out dog vomit on the side of the highway.
The second occurred at our stop at the border, where we all nervously approached our first checkpoint, complete with military security, to gain our exit stamp from Guatemala. Our navigation was mobile phone based and my charger had inexplicably stopped charging. After gaining our stamps with little resistance and amazing assistance from Antony, we saw a man selling cell phone chargers on the side of the road.
This was the moment when I heard in a bewildered voice, "There's a turtle over here." He seemed a bit startled. He later said, "I wondered where a Red-Eared Slider would have come from." In that moment of his surprise, I had to confess, "Um, that's Caleb's. Do you perhaps see another... there were two."
|This water started out clear this morning.|
Thankfully both turtles were recovered unharmed and I am relieved to report that all the Shep family pets: Remus, Sirius, Anakin, and Luke are safe with us in the hotel room tonight.
Tomorrow Stephen and I will continue our trip north as Antony enjoys an additional day and night here Las Casas before taking the tour bus back to Guatemala. His help has been as immeasurable and valuable as both his friendship and our families love.
|We are so thankful to have found a hotel that offered secure parking for our van (in the corner) and is also dog friendly. The turtles were smuggled in, |
inside my backpack.
Our target tomorrow is a 480 mile, 9 hour drive to Puebla, Mexico, just east of Mexico City, placing us over halfway through Mexico. Antony helped me get a Mexican SIM card for my phone and we have internet loaded, so the plan is to provide updates along the way. We appreciate your continued prayers that we remain within the path that God sets for us. There is no better place to be than in His will.
|Goal: 480 miles to Pueblo by nightfall|
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