Three years ago my husband and oldest daughter went on a World Care trip to Haiti to help in the aftermath of a devastating earthquake. Their plan to help rebuild a school and assist with a medical clinic was cut short when they were involved in a horrible car accident. Hannah received a severe concussion and a broken collar-bone, and Shawn’s shoulder was separated. Both had multiple cuts and bruises. Needless to say, they came home early. Caring for them over the following weeks brought many of my emotions to the surface as I was face to face with what could have been a tragedy.
But my family wasn’t the only occupier of my thoughts. My mind often wandered back to the driver of the truck, a Haitian pastor with whom our church team had partnered. He had suffered the least physical injuries, but his truck had been totaled…a truck he had intended to sell in order to pay for the cost of rebuilding his damaged home. Although I have heard a few updates regarding Pastor Ricardo since, I’ve often wondered how he is.
Well, wonder no more. Last week, I met Pastor Ricardo and his wife, Kendra, face to face. They were in the States for our Velocity Conference, and when he introduced himself to me I grabbed him by both shoulders. “YOU are the pastor who was with my family in the wreck?! YOU are the one who lost your truck?! YOU are the one who suffered with Shawn and Hannah?!” Then I hugged him. Tightly. I shared that he was often in my thoughts, and I how happy I was to finally put a face with the memories. Here is Pastor Ricardo and Kendra with Shawn:
I also had the chance to reunite Hannah with Ricardo and Kendra. Kendra was so kind to Hannah, embracing her like a mom. The wreck and the search for medical care had been a frightening experience for my then 12-year-old daughter, and Kendra never had a chance to connect with Hannah before she and Shawn flew home. Here are Hannah, Kendra, and Pastor Ricardo celebrating their reunion:
What you can’t see is me. I’m the crazy mama taking all the pictures while I’m wiping tears out of my eyes. That’s why the pictures are so bad….I couldn’t even think clearly to turn the flash on.
Sometimes things happen in life with people we’ll never see again. And, then, by some strange turn of events, we see them. Treasure those rare gifts. Celebrate the connections you have with people and love them well. You never know what tomorrow will bring.