(From Chapter 16, From Jesus With Love)
We continued to work hard at preparing the ships for sea and loading cargo. We got truckload after truckload of school desks from the Los Angeles Unified School District. The desks
were awkward to load and took up an immense amount of space; they wouldn't stack. They just kind of piled and, on more than one occasion, I seriously wondered if we should be taking them to Nicaragua.
Another day, our driver backed the truck down the dock and threw up the door. It was stacked to the very back, full from top to bottom with thousands of gallons of hydraulic
oil. "Hydraulic oil?" I asked. "Take that back. We need food for the Nicaraguans."
"Oh please," the driver said. "The Company was so blessed to
give us this."
I said, "No. Take it back. Get rid of this oil. I'm only taking food. Get rid of it."
The driver continued to
plead his case. "It would be so embarrassing to return this load. Can't we just take this one truckload?"
"Okay," I agreed. "One truckload. But now go and
concentrate on food." ...
When the Spirit sailed into the harbor, the Nicaraguan government and port authorities rolled out the red carpet.
Men from the army came and offered to provide trucks and security assistance as well as anything else they might be able to do. Soon afterwards, navy officers arrived. They told us how proud
they were that we were in their harbor and that they would assist us in any capacity.
Nicaraguan port officials came aboard and told us they were waiving all fees and thought they
could get volunteers to come unload our ship and work for free.
Professional stevedores came to work their difficult and dangerous job. We were surprised to see they had no hard
hats or gloves, and some were even without shoes. The men worked for hours and hours without rest.
Food was very scarce during this time in Nicaragua, so we were blessed to be able
to serve the stevedores giant hamburgers, ice cream and all sorts of other wonderful food.
When the port officials paid us a visit, we asked, "Is there anything that we can do
for you here at the port, something the Spirit crew can do to say; thank you' for all you are doing for us?"
The officials replied, "Thank you, but our problem is not
only food. You see, all of our cranes, forklifts and power equipment are down and not running. We've run out of hydraulic fluid and no more is available, so everything for us has come to a stop."
"Gentlemen," we said, amazed, "the Lord has a very special gift for you. It just so happens we have a full truckload of brand new hydraulic fluid." The lesson was obvious.
While we were very busy off-loading cargo, the Nicaraguan President, Violetta Chomorro, graciously invited the crew to the palace for a lunch and reception to thank us for what we
were doing. The crew was working an incredible amount of hours, almost round the clock, to accomplish the job of feeding children in need, so they were not able to attend. But Sondra and I decided that we should
personally go to thank the President for her help. . .
She greeted us politely and thanked us for what we had been doing to help her people. Then she stated that she had scheduled
radio and television interviews and that the newspaper and camera men would be photographing this session. Almost as if choreographed, the doors opened and news people began to enter.
As they took their position, I leaned forward. "President Chomorro, please permit me to explain. We don't give interviews to the press.
"President, if I could explain. We've heard of the trouble in your country and that the food supply was short, medicine shelves nearly empty and the hospitals and clinics had practically nothing to work with. In
the short couple of days we've been here, we've seen that it's far worse than reported. We've come with thousands of tons of baby food, rice, beans, flour, dehydrated food, medical supplies, clothes, building materials
and much, much more. We have come with the love of Christ to give freely to your people at no charge.
"Please, Mrs. President, hear our hearts. We have come to love you and
your people, with the love of God. We have no interest in interviews, reporters or television. We come quietly to help your people in their time of need. We don't want your people to think that rich Americans are the
answer to their problem.
ďWe want them to know the truth; that God has heard the cry of the orphans, widows, elderly and poor. "Here in Managua is Casa Bernabe, an orphanage
of 140 children who have been fasting for one day every week, praying for our safe arrival. This orphanage is reported to be your country's best, but it has no windows or doors; only dirt floors. They have little
medical attention; food is sparse and they have little to wear. We'll be giving food and supplies to this orphanage (which is run by the local church) for them to distribute. We would like to remain behind the scenes so
that the Nicaraguan people will see the local church meeting the needs of the city's poor. Then they will know that it was God who heard their cry."
President Chomorro began
to smile and relax. She sat back deeply in her chair and with a wave of her left hand, said, "Take the reporters all out, all of them." As quickly as they had entered they disappeared. The great love the
President had for her people began to flow out of her as she talked. She told us of their needs and of her dream for her nation. She thanked us for respecting their dignity. We saw the depth of her character as she told
us how, when the people wrote her letters, she stayed up late each night, reading every one. Like a grandmother doting over her grandchildren; each child so precious to her; she longed to meet their needs.
The President shared with us, "This very day I toured some of Managua's public schools and was grieved to see thousands of children sitting on the dirt without paper, pencils or even desks.
Those few who were fortunate enough to have a desk carried it for miles each day to and from their home, balanced atop their heads, just to be certain it wouldn't be stolen." She leaned back in her chair and
sighed. "If only you'd been able to bring school desks."
Can you imagine the excitement we felt as we told her, "We have thousands of desks stuffed in our cargo
hold." and realized how the Lord had orchestrated our entire load