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  • Writer's pictureKen

My latest "God intervened" moment...

Updated: Mar 30, 2022

I had a funny moment on the way back from our road trip with the guys. We were travelling in two vehicles and we stopped for lunch in a little historic town called San Jose and then Isabel headed out while I stopped for gas, so I was a little ways behind her.

An hour or so later, we were coming up on one of the many toll booths along the way and Rodrigo (who was driving) commented, “I think that’s Isabel’s truck.” I couldn’t see which vehicle he was referring to and then he said, “Oh, never mind, no it’s not.”

But then I saw it and said that I thought it was Isabel’s truck too...and then also changed my mind as well (there are a lot of white Suzuki SUV’s in Bolivia) because the hood was up and I didn’t imagine they were having engine problems.

And then as we pulled up, we could see all the guys and the gringos gathered around, and sure enough they were stopped. As we pulled in behind them, I could hear Isabel’s car alarm going off and I knew right away what had happened.

Isabel has a very complicated alarm system on her truck…ie. ridiculous. If it activates, it’s virtually impossible to shut off.

There’s also a little button under the dash that you have to push every time you start the motor or open or close a door while the key is in the ignition. Originally it was supposed to be hidden and a potential car thief wouldn’t know where it was and wouldn’t be able to press it if he stole your car and the alarm would activate and shut off the motor.

Isabel’s little button had long ago come unstuck and just hung eight or so inches down from under the dash. Isabel had hopped out of the car to go buy a drink and when the alarm started it’s warning beeping, Steve (who was driving) wasn’t able to hit the button in time and the alarm had activated.

We tried everything to get it to shut off. We unhooked the battery and then reconnected it…we hit all the buttons on the alarm control in every conceivable fashion…everything. Nothing worked. At one point I got the system to reset and the warning beeping to start, but when I hit the under the dash button, nothing happened and the alarm started up again.

It was at that point that I noticed that one of the two wires connected to the button had broken and the button wasn’t actually doing anything. I pulled the button off and stripped the wires so we could touch them and get them working again. The problem was, though, that we couldn’t get back to the point where the alarm would reset and the beeping thing would happen.

Eventually we decided that Isabel would take the majority of the guys in my truck and continue on to Santa Cruz, and I would stay behind with her truck. I would keep trying to get the alarm to shut off and she would bring back help if I couldn’t.

I kept four of the guys with me, three of our biggest guys and Rigo, who is skinny and athletic. The guys asked why I kept them and I told them that I wanted three big guys with me in case someone tried to rob us and they could help fight the bad guys off. I wanted Rigo because he was skinny and fast and he could run away and tell someone what happened. That got a pretty good laugh.

So, for another hour or so, we kept fighting with the alarm. I read somewhere that if you lock and unlock the door a bunch of times with the key fob, sometimes that helps reset the alarm. The alarm fob wouldn't do it, but Isabel’s key also had buttons to lock and unlock the doors. Unfortunately the battery was almost dead, so it wasn’t working very well. Finally, I got right down under the dash and got it to connect and started locking and unlocking the doors.

Low and behold, the alarm reset and started the warning beeping. I touched the wires and boom, the alarm disactivated. We were golden!!

Until we tried to start the car and got...nada.

We then realized that the batter was pretty much dead from the alarm blaring for the last two hours. So now we needed a boost, but cars with owners with battery cables are not all that common here.

I was talking to Isabel to let her know what was going on, when a car pulled up to us and popped its hood. I thought one of the guys had waved it down, but I found out later that these people had stopped for whatever reason and the guys had asked if they had cables and they did!

I put Carlos in the driver’s seat and I helped the guy attach the cables. I yelled at Carlos to start the truck and bam, it started right up. But then there was this weird noise and I suddenly had the fear that something else was broken on the truck.

No, yeah…it was just Carlos still turning the key and grinding the starter.

I called Isabel again to tell her we were mobile. She told me that at the next toll place, the police had taken Steve and Matt (our gringos) into the police station there because they didn’t have their passports because their suitcases were in Isabel’s truck and we’d switched vehicles (they talked to them and let them go).

I suddenly realized that I didn’t have my wallet with my driver’s licence or ID card either. It was in my truck. So, if the police checked at that checkpoint, for sure we were going to have problems. I’d be stuck there for an hour or more at the minimum and probably have to pay a “fine”.

There’s a big river with a bridge, just before you get to that checkpoint, so there’s no way to avoid the police if they’re checking cars. Isabel told me that they were only looking at some cars, so I might be okay. As we started across the bridge, I told the guys it would be a good time to start praying. As we drove across, the truck was quiet.

As we approached the tollbooth, I could see the police stopping every car. They even took their flashlights and looked in the back of a bus that was in line. I saw the driver of the car in front of us pass his license to the officer and I knew that they were asking to see everyone’s driver’s license.

I prepared myself as we drove up to the police officer. I rolled down my window and turned off my music. The officer turned to me as the car in front of my drove away and I slowly pulled forward.

JUST as my window came even with the officer, something distracted him and he glanced back over his shoulder.

I just kept on going.

He didn’t yell at me or tell me to stop. He just moved on to the next car in line. I literally couldn’t believe what had just happened. The guys were dead quiet and I said, “You can’t tell me that wasn’t God!” Immediately all the guys started talking at the same time, “I was praying brother!!”

We were pretty pumped all the way back into the city. It was a pretty cool little God moment. Even that we were able to get the alarm to reset and that those guys stopped right in front of us with booster cables…all of it was a good reminder that God cares about those little details in our lives.

We made it home safe and sound, just in time to eat pizza for supper with the rest of the crew. All in all, it was an entertaining (after the fact) end to a fun weekend.

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Two things immediately spring to mind reading this. 1. "It'll be fine!" and 2. "These aren't the droids you're looking for." 30 years of friendship and stories like this never get old.

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