Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Canada Part 1: The Stolen Wallet

It was 2 days before we would leave for Canada for our BIG RAGNAR RELAY RACE!  I was prepared with the correct enhanced ID's for each of the children to cross the border and had been carrying around my wallet with ALL that information for the past month and a half.  I didn't want to chance them getting taken, so I wanted them close to me.

Abe had to fly home to Michigan sooner than the rest of us, so I was alone with our 6 children and my two nephews.  At one of our gas stops on our way from Missouri to Michigan, I remember looking at my wallet and thinking... "I don't want to leave my wallet in the van while we go to the bathroom because someone might steal it."  

I went to the bathroom with Juliana, Jayden, and Mariah.  I set my wallet down on the toilet paper roll dispenser.  I was struggling to keep Jayden from digging in the trash cans and toilets, so I completely forgot my wallet there as I walked out.  The store manager was in the bathroom with me and left shortly after I did.  I went to the van, had the kids run a race across the parking lot to get their energy out, and promptly noticed I had forgotten my wallet in the bathroom.  I ran back into the bathroom, and my wallet was already gone.  I went in and out of the bathroom retracing my steps about 5 times, and then I approached a family at a table near the bathroom to ask them if they noticed anything at all.  They said nobody had gone into that bathroom since I left, but that I should call the police and look at the video cameras.  

I called the police.  A sweet police officer gave me some gloves, and together we dug through all the dumpsters and trash cans for the wallet... nothing.  He questioned all the employees including the manager.  Everything seemed very odd and strange about everyone's responses of where they were at certain times, but still nothing...

It was the sickest feeling to drive away from a random gas station in the middle of the US knowing I was leaving my wallet behind.  The police officer even teared up telling me how sorry he was for us.  He said, "It would have to be a miracle if that wallet was found."   I drove very, very slowly away from the gas station hoping for that miracle... hoping that somebody would rush out of the gas station waving my wallet in their hands.  

Nope... none of that happened... I was worried about getting home on one gas tank left.  I was worried about my big, 6'4" and 5'11" nephews' need for food.  We had snacks, and I hoped it would be enough.  I was worried about getting into Canada after so much excitement and so much training for our race.

Abe, my hero, made lots of phone calls canceling credit cards and trying to find out what our options would be for leaving and returning to the country.  I was worried about the $300.00 Walmart card and $120.00 cash I had lost with the stolen wallet.  My identity was stolen in 2001 with $20,000 charged up under my name, so I was worried about mine and my children's identities.  Abe immediately signed us up for identity theft protection that day!!

As I drove away, these worries consumed my mind as I prayed for help.  I looked through my CD's and popped in my Bob Marley CD.  Honest to goodness, these are the words that played loud and clear:

"Don't worry about a thing, 
'Cause every little thing gonna be all right. 
Singin': "Don't worry about a thing, 
'Cause every little thing gonna be all right!" 

If you're not familiar with Bob Marley, I included the link to this song below!!  He sang in such a relaxing manner, I immediately felt calmed from all my worries... somehow all this mess would work out alright.  Who would have thought my message from God would come through Bob Marley of all people?  It's another testimony to me that God speaks to us in the language that we understand best!!  :-) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zaGUr6wzyT8

We arrived safely to our home in Michigan with the gas tank settling right above the empty line.  We felt blessed.  Upon arriving, I realized that I had left my running shoes in Missouri!!  I decided I would have to wear my old running shoes even though it could potentially cause injury to my knees with all the mileage I would be running over the weekend.  When my sweet mother realized my shoes were still in her house, she insisted on keeping the shoes I left there and mailing me money for new shoes!!  She also helped significantly by compensating some of our stolen money along with her check for the shoes.  Mothers never stop rescuing us no matter how old we are!  I sure am grateful for her rescue efforts!

I bought the new shoes and did a test run in them.  They felt even better than the ones I had left in Missouri!!  My old knees didn't even hurt!!

Canada's Border Patrol

After many, many phone calls, we received news that all the children under 16 would be fine to enter Canada and return to the US with just their birth Certificates.  Border Patrol said I would possibly be OK if I bought a new enhanced ID and showed border patrol my receipt.  Nathan, my 16 year old nephew, would be OK to return to the US, but Canada's border patrol said he would only possibly be OK to enter their country.  My Canadian friend's suggestion was to pray for a REALLY nice border patrol officer.  We did!!  I had a prayer in my heart the entire drive there!!

I was actually trembling as we waited in the line of cars approaching the border into Canada.  I asked Nathan if he would be alright if he had to stay the weekend with friends in Detroit instead of going with us if he was unable to enter Canada (his passport expired 2 weeks previously).  He said he would be alright, but we all hoped for the best.  I combed my hair and straightened up the van as much as possible attempting to look a little more presentable.  

The officer took our paperwork, looked at our huge van, came out of her little building, and walked around the side of the van.  She opened our doors and looked in at all the smiling faces.  Then, this sweet, Canadian border patrol officer smiled big and took the time to talk with each of the kids and encourage them in their upcoming race.  Once we drove away, cheers erupted, and I sent text messages to family members and other team members with the announcement:  "WE MADE IT INTO CANADA!!"  We ALL said a prayer of gratitude.