Last week we said goodbye to our amazing friends from Holy Family Parish in Brillion WI. They came to Peru to build two churches, but they ended up doing so much more!
When the group arrived at the airport in Tarapoto, some twenty hours and four airports after their journey began, the joy on their faces was amazing to see! Many hugs were exchanged and laughter was heard ringing throughout the airport. We noticed our new arrivals were carrying an awkward looking package. When we asked about it we were told that it was our new Easter candle. (For those of you who have forgotten the size of the Easter candle please take note of it at Easter Mass this weekend. These are not small candles and they do not easily fit into luggage as our friends found out!) Taylor and I never asked for an Easter candle but we were happy that they brought one. We were just trying to think of where we could put this giant candle.
Later that afternoon we heard the whole story of the Easter candle. Taylor’s great-aunt and great-uncle bought the candle in 2010. They intended on lighting it for their anniversary every year but they never did. The day before the group was scheduled to leave, Taylor’s great-aunt gave the candle to one of our mission-trippers and asked her to take it Peru. Heidi accepted it and then had the challenge of finding a suitcase to bring it in. Every suitcase she tried was too small – the candle stuck out of each one by about six inches. They decided they would try to carry the candle the whole way to Peru.
As they went through airport security, the candle was flagged as a suspicious. But once it was determined to be a candle they were able to go through without any more problems. The group noted that the handling of the candle was very different in the US compared to Mexico, where they had their first layover. The candle was handled more aggressively in the US and shoved around in the overhead bin by the stewards. In Mexico it was handled with great care in security; it was placed alone on the conveyer belt and the airplane staff also cared for it gently. The difference between both countries surprised the group.
By the time the group handed the candle to us they were happy to be done with it. Carrying the candle through four airports ended up being more difficult and more burdensome than expected – being able to hand it off brought great joy to the group! None of us were aware of what the Lord had planned for this candle.
A few days into the mission trip, we had the privilege of presenting the candle to Padre Leopoldo and Padre Paco. When we brought the candle to them Padre Paco immediately said “It is the Lord’s providence!” All of us were quite surprised by this, Padre Paco went on to explain that they didn’t have the money to purchase an Easter candle this year so they had been praying for the Lord to provide one! They thanked our group for listening to the Lord and said that it would be easy to change the 2010 on the candle to say 2016.
God answered the prayer of our amazing priests from Spain through some friends of the American missionaries for the people of Picota, Peru!
God does answer prayers! Sometimes the answer doesn’t happen the way you hope, sometimes its not the answer you want, sometimes it is simply “Be patient”, and other times he answers prayers through people you have never even met. But is is true that God ALWAYS answers prayers!
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