International Ministries

A Harbor from the Storms

December 13, 2005 Journal

Linda Allen and her husband Chuck arrived in La Paz in December 2002, ready to continue their long-awaited dream of sailing to exotic ports around the world.Six weeks earlier, their journey had gotten waylaid in San Diego when Chuck, trying to assist someone in trouble at the Marina, inadvertently got stabbed.Hospitalized for weeks in CA, he finally got the green light to sail again.Their journey down the Baja Coast was uneventful, and they docked at Marina La Paz ready to enjoy the Christmas holidays in Mexico.But little did they know that once again their lives would take an unexpected turn.

The doctors had missed a tiny perforation in Chuck's diaphragm which led to further complications and a collapsed lung.He was rushed to a hospital in La Paz a week before Christmas.He required immediate surgery.The doctors didn't expect him to survive.Needing to call family in the states, Linda ended up at our house.Linda's cruising neighbor Penny had been attending Crossroads, the English Worship service we coordinate.We'd been praying for Chuck and Linda long before we met them in person!Linda used our phone and we began to walk with her and Chuck as he struggled for life.

Chuck survived that surgery—against amazing odds—and several subsequent surgeries.He was hospitalized for six months, receiving nourishment only through a feeding tube.He became severely depressed.We all feared that he would never be released.But then, in June 2003, he walked out of the hospital!Chuck and Linda decided to settle in La Paz as Chuck further recuperated.They became more and more active at Crossroads.Not having attended church for many years, they began to reconnect with God and Christian community.We all thrilled to see their spiritual growth!

Because of Chuck's ongoing health struggles, they had to give up their dream of sailing.But they embraced a new dream:to stay and live in La Paz!They began to look for land and considered building a house.But then a new storm caused them to batten down the hatches.Linda's father died unexpectedly, leaving her mother—who battles dementia—alone in St. Augustine, FL.Linda and Chuck Left to right: Joyce and Lindadecided they needed to move back to FL to care for her mother.And so, on December 15th, we will say goodbye to dear and beloved friends.

You never know how long God will place someone in your path.Hours, weeks, years.But the key is this:do you recognize them when God does place them right in front of you?Cruisers come and go from La Paz all the time.Some enter Crossroads for one Sunday, others hang around for six months or more.God has given us this tremendous opportunity to provide a safe haven for those who have chosen a transient lifestyle.