Monday, August 21, 2006

Our Beloved Van

The relationship between God and Satan is really remarkable.

When you think about the story of Job, it is almost shocking that God would permit Satan to have some power over Job and to try to break him.

Consider also the vision of Pope Leo XIII where God allowed Satan to have "free reign" for 100 years.

Then you also have the case where God the Father allowed the humanity of His Son to be tested by Satan.

One premise a person could get from this is that God allows Satan to work, but it is always on His terms knowing full well that He has given us all we need to fight the attacks of the rascally one.

That being said, I find the story of our van remarkable.

We had to drive out to Denver to drop of TJ and Leslee as well as drop of the trailer that Mr. Simms graciously donated to us. I drove because I have family in Denver that I wanted to visit. Another friend came with because his family is in Denver as well and another friend came just to get out of town.

Now this van has a lot of personality. The biggest mark of strong character is the roof that is covered with holy cards. But there are other mechanical quirks that keep everyone praying. However, our van, which is called "Fides" (the trailer hitch is called "Et" and the trailer is called "Ratio") lasted the whole summer. We dropped off TJ after eating as much as we could at a great Lincoln buffet. We dropped off Et, Ratio, and Leslee with the Simms family. The Fides also made a trip up near Wyoming so a good friend could go on a nun run with some Benedictines.

There was also the matter of my mother. She has been unemployed for a long time. Also, it looks like I am going to be in the DC/VA area for quite some time. There is no other family out in Denver for her. I proposed that she come out to Virginia to look for a job and housing. Praise God, at the last minute, she was able to line up a couple job interviews and decided to pack her bag a couple hours before we left. Her most promising interview was Tuesday at 2pm.

We left for Kansas City Saturday afternoon. We got a hotel so the ladies could get a good night sleep and shower (while I slept in the van) because of my moms interview and my friend was visiting yet another religious order Sunday morning. After that we headed to Saint Louis to stay with the lovely Flanagan family. They rock! There were 14 grandkids under 7 years-old visiting their grandparents and Aunt Shannon.

We headed out for DC after breakfast on Monday.

(Preface: a car was donated to us in Denver that we picked up and drove back to DC. I was leading an drove 5 miles under the speed limit because my mom could not seem to catch up. She later told me to speed up, and I said I would if she could keep up. Then she said she does not need to be riding my bumper because we were taking I-70 all the way back.)

I was driving the donated car. I noticed that my mom was a few cars back in the van. Then a big semi got between us and I could no longer see her. A few minutes passed and I could still not see her. I decided to pull to the shoulder and see if she was just behind. She never came. Then I turned around and started to drive back. There she was, pulled off the road, smoking a cigarette. I turned around to go investigate. Sure enough, the van would start fine, but would not drive. The transmission was shot.

A sheriff came to help. He called a road-side assistance team that assessed the damage. He said the transmission was totally gone and that it created several other problems. The sheriff also appointed us Catholic chaplain to help us with whatever we needed. That is pretty sweet!

It was 8pm by this point and we still had about 10 more hours to drive.

We could do nothing at this point. Every place was closed. In fact, for some reason, we did not have any of the vans information. We made some calls and made the decision that it is not a wise fiscal decision to worry about fixing up the van. We then piled everything from the van into the 2 door car with three people in it(needless to say, it was rather cramped).

We drove to DC. It was about 2am and I could not drive any further. I asked my friend if she would like to learn how to drive a stick-shift. We has our lesson in a gas station. She drove until daylight and we made it back just in time for 9am Mass.

My mother made her job interview and got the job! Praise God!!

Satan was at work that trip. However, it was on God's terms and the Lord came out victorious!

I let the Missionaries know about this and just about every reaction was somthing like, "you have to go save that roof".

PS: The next day, my neighbors towed my van. It was not worth the fees to get it out as it also required about 2G's worth of repairs. The Missionaries are now van-less.


Anonymous said...

God bless you guys and gals--Bill Murdock, St. Patrick's church, Newcastle, Maine

ElizabethAndrew said...

Dear Van,

You were great. Sorry that we were sometimes smelly. We were missionaries, after all! RIP! Elizabeth

Matthaeus Evangelista said...

Dear Fides,

Now that I work in a funeral home, I have first hand experience as to working with the dead. I would say that I'd pray for your soul, but you are an inanimate object, so that'd be kind of weird. Instead, I'll pray for the intercession of all the saints on your ceiling and ask that they pray for people on I-70 with car problems. But, why am I writing to you? After all you're just a van...but nonetheless, a special van deserving to be honored. Thanks for all your help and support this summer.

Requiescat in pace.

Anonymous said...

Hello, Dear David
I would love to get to know your mother; give her my best. Our family has been blessed again; now 12 grandchildren, 11 of them under the age of 5. We have two angel babies called home to Jesus before birth, and 2 more due before the end of the year. God is Great! I pray another van for your work, and the Grace of God, His LOve, and His Peace for the Missionaries.

Who we are?

Every summer we, the Missionaries of the Eucharist, are walking from Lewiston, Maine to Washington, DC to proclaim the beauty of the Catholic faith to everyone we meet, specifically through the Theology of the Body.

Conversion begins in our own hearts,which is why prayer is so important to our ministry. For this reason, everyday of our ten week walk begins with daily Mass. By receiving Christ in the Eucharist, we are given the grace to be the Love of Christ not only to those in our community but also to those we meet in the streets.

We walk throughout the day to be a witness of love. We are grounded in prayer-we pray with our lips, our hearts, and our bodies. In walking an average of twenty-five miles per day, we offer our fatigue as a gift of love to Christ and the people we meet. Our walking is both sacrifice and prayer.