During our June 23 – July 1 time of service in Cuba, we felt the effect of people praying for us via a host of graces (Thank You). And we think God applied the prayers of His people to three specific situations: 

First, a Canadian Officer   We normally drive to Toronto and then only one flight is needed to get to Cuba (rather than fly to Miami and then take a second hop into Havana, which is at the wrong end of the country for most of our service).

We had to fill out an ArriveCAN form to get into Canada. It has to be filled out no sooner than 72 hours before we wanted to enter Canada.  Such things are mysteries to me.  Even with the help of a tech savvy friend, it took two hours.  But we sailed into Canada.

Fast forward to July 1 as we were leaving Cuba to re-enter Canada.  Our form, again, had to be re-applied for within 72 hours. It wasn’t. A clerk in the Holguin (Cuba) airport, said abruptly in her limited English, “Date – date wrong,” as she gestured emphatically to our ArriveCAN form. It had not been updated. We had no computer access in Cuba and would not have known what to do even if we had had access.

A form she handed us was threatening to fine us $5000 each and/or quarantine us for 14 days because we lacked the right documentation. Not attractive options. 

So we got on the plane and arrived at 10:00 P.M. into YYZ.  Another hour and we were standing at the head of the special line for people whose forms were “not in order.”    Lord, please bring us into favor with this immigration officer.” We were tired. I had been on by feet teaching for 2.5 hours in the morning and then we left for the airport, waited two hours, had a four-hour flight and was ready for bed.

We put our documents, such as they were, on the counter. The official smiled and said, “How about if I just change the date for you?’  “A smashing idea ole boy,” I thought.  It would still be another 2.5 hours before my head landed on a pillow, but we felt God applied the prayers of His People to Canadian re-entry.  Thank you for praying.    

Second, COVID Delay   The day after we arrived home, Marilyn broke out with COVID.  Had that happened before we left Cuba, we would probably not have been allowed on the airplane, creating significant inconvenience and expense. Thank you for praying!

Third, Alternator Belt Hung On    Within days of arriving home, the alternator belt on our car shredded. Had that happened when we were driving across Ontario back west toward Michigan, it would have been much more difficult and expensive.

We believe God answered the prayers of His people for us by helping us in these three specific situations.  We are grateful for those who prayed.  

Praying for People You Don’t Know

I have wondered:

  • If praying for people we do not know and will never meet so pleases God that He answers for the benefit of such an unknown person.
  • Is praying for people we do not know more effective and brings God’s intervention – since there is nothing in it for us — more than for people we do know?
  • Is there greater spirituality and selflessness on the pray-er’s part involved in praying for people who we have (little or) no connection with?

We so appreciated God’s grace being upon us through the customs agent, the delaying COVID until we were home and the alternator belt that hung on.  Were you the one who prayed?  Thank You!

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