Today Santi and his mom are home with their family after more than three months in Canada and many, many more months living at the Bolivian hospital beforehand. Their church and large extended family all gathered this morning to celebrate Santi’s return. Santi’s story from birth is pretty miraculous and I’m excited to write more about it when I get home.
But tonight there’s one thing I can’t get out if my head. We bounced down an uneven dirt road and stopped in front of their home. I hung back, not wanting to intrude on the tears and long hugs. Then an older woman approached Abi, the translator, and me.
“Gloria a Dios!” She said to us through tears, kissing our cheeks and taking our hands. She is the pastor of Anita’s church.
Anita had come to her and said she was terrified to come home from this journey with empty arms. The pastor said she had to go—Santi had already almost died of an infection—and to trust God with the outcome.
I strongly empathized with that fear. The thought of an empty car seat and a silent drive back to Florida from Atlanta in January 2013 had haunted me.
And now, here was Anita with arms not empty but three times as full—everyone said Santi had tripled in size, even though he is still less than 20 pounds at 14 months old.
“Gloria a Dios!” the pastor said again, squeezing our hands and leading us to the courtyard for a prayer of thanks and praise to God, followed by steaming bowls of patasca (a traditional Santa Cruz soup of maize, beef, pork and spices).
Thank you for praying for our safe travel! It is accomplished! I leave for home in the morning!