Through all of our transition, we had made a vow to Yahuweh to always tell of His goodness! Whenever He does something for us, we WILL shout it out to all who will listen.
24 hours before our move…
The last miracle of our transition was about how Abba brought buyers for the last three big pieces of furniture, two days before our move. This miracle is what happened from the next morning until we arrived in Costa Rica.
With about 5 hours of sleep, we woke up on June 10th expecting to pack our final items into our luggage, take everything we weren’t taking to Costa Rica to the storage place we had rented, and get to the hotel in Tampa that is only 1.7 miles from the airport.
We had prepaid for the hotel and expected to arrive around 7 pm for a relaxing evening before our flight. We previously rented a Ford Expedition the last week in Florida after we sold our Honda CRV, so that we could take Freedom, our dog, and all of our luggage (10 pieces) to the airport for our 6:30 am flight on the 11th.
Our move out day was quite hectic. After running last minute errands, sorting through items to be stored and to be packed into the suitcases, we finally began doing the expected cleaning of the rental house around 11:00 pm at night. What happened to the day… right? It’s not that we had a lot of things to store, but it seemed everything compounded upon us that last day and we found ourselves running out of time.
One of the errands we did during the day was to rent a small 8 foot U-haul truck in order to make one trip to the storage versus many trips in the Expedition. By the time we began loading, we knew we had only 5 hours to get to the airport. It had begun to rain at the time we started loading both the Expedition and the U-haul. Tired, wet, hungry and exhausted, we finally made it to the storage place around midnight. Now comes the unloading part…
We had rented an upstairs storage unit since it was much cheaper. It was a good five minute walk from the U-Haul truck to the storage unit. We knew this would take forever, as we only had a small dolly and cart to unload with. When we tried to open the storage unit door, it had this clip type lock on it and it wouldn’t open. We called the emergency number after we prayed and the man, Chris, said we could just take the unit downstairs that we knew was open. That was a miracle because if we had to use the upstairs one, we would not have made it to our flight. Abba knew we needed to unload in a downstairs unit to make it because the elevator for the 2nd floor was very, very slow and would only hold a small amount of items, not including the distance to the unit itself.
By the time all was said and done, it was 2:00 am. We left the storage place and took off for the airport. Because of the last minute errands during the day, including picking up a prescription and dropping off the keys to our rental house at the realtor, we never had a chance to eat lunch or dinner. Yahuweh was our Strength, our Shield and our Comforter! Without Him, we would not have been able to get to the airport on time.
It was obvious that we did not have enough time to sleep, arriving at the hotel in Tampa around 3:15 am. We had about 45 minutes to take a shower and get to the airport on time. Though we had no sleep, those showers were the best showers Derek and I ever had!! Instead of complaining about losing almost $100 on the hotel, we felt blessed to be able to take a hot shower before going on the plane!
Once we arrived at the airport, we were met by a wonderful lady skycap who helped us get Freedom and our 10 pieces unloaded from the car and to the American Airlines counter. We had to arrive at 4:15 am to have enough time to get our luggage checked, get Freedom through TSA and checked, return our rental car, and get through security to our plane by 6:30 am. We stood in the line the skycap told us to stand in since we had Freedom. The AA personnel kept calling all the other people up to the counter and ignoring us. Finally, I asked why we weren’t next and he told me we were not in a line. Once I explained that the skycap told us to stand there, he agreed to check us in next. He was not pleasant about it, but we kept Messiah’s nature.
Once he called us to the counter, he started to check us in and then, told us something we never expected to hear…he said, “Freedom can’t go with you.” We asked “Why?” He said, “Because the temperature in Miami when your connecting flight departs is forecasted at 86 degrees/30 celsius. We knew the temperature had to be 85 degrees or lower in Tampa, Miami and San Jose, Costa Rica at the times we were to fly. For over a month, we had many friends and family members praying for the temperature to stay 85 or under on the day we would fly out. Clouds and rain were forecasted for the day in Miami and we knew Yahuweh and Yahushua wanted us to move, so we did not think anything other than the temperatures would be ok.
We explained to the American Airlines agent that we had to take our dog with us because we did not have time to take him to anyone and we were moving to Costa Rica. He said, “I am sorry, but it is against USDA rules and there is nothing I can do.” For a split second, thousands of thoughts began filling our minds. But within less than a minute, we both were praying out loud at the American Airlines counter!
As we were praying, the wonderful lady skycap came over to me and said, “It is going to be okay Rebecca. He is going to find someway for your dog to go.” We thanked her for her words of encouragement and continued to pray. The agent behind the counter did not look at us or say anything for several minutes. He then left his computer terminal, and went to the back. It seemed to be about 10 minutes before he returned. While still praying, he came back and began typing on his computer again. Suddenly, he looked up and said, “I was able to find an earlier connecting flight from Miami to San Jose that leaves at 11:30 am instead of 12:30 pm. I have all of you on that connecting flight including Freedom.”
We praised Father and thanked the AA agent so much! Another miracle because when I booked the flight, I booked the earliest flight on American from Tampa to Miami and Miami to San Jose. There was not an 11:30 am flight to San Jose before! Not only did he get us on a flight that we did not know existed, we had better seats and would arrive in San Jose earlier.
Next, the AA agent proceeded to check in our luggage. We were carrying on 4 of the pieces (a handbag and backpack for under the seat and two small carry-on roller bags). The 6 pieces that needed to be checked, besides Freedom, were all overweight except 2. He ended up giving us the first two checked bags free plus two more for the normal $40 instead of charging us the excess weight fees! What favor Abba showed us…we only had to pay overweight fees for two of the bags!
After checking in the bags, we had to go to the TSA area to check Freedom in. After they inspected his kennel (and Freedom licking the TSA worker’s face for a few minutes), all was ok. As they prepared to take Freedom into the area for transport, we began walking away. Looking back at Freedom once more, we knew that in just a few short hours, we would see him again – safe and sound.
We looked at the time and we had less than an hour to return the rental car, go through security and get on the plane. On our way to the rental car return, Derek had to get in the back of the Expedition to try and stuff some last minute things into the suitcase. I remember him stuffing with one hand and holding on with the other, as we drove in haste around the corners of the parking garages. When he realized some things were not going to fit, we had to throw away $20 worth of personal belongings (liquid containers that were more than 3 ounces – not allowed inside the cabin of the plane).
After returning the rental car, we had to run with our four pieces of luggage, a plastic bag Derek and I still needed to go through (mail from right before we left and miscellaneous items), and our pillows to the terminal. When you get to the opening of the terminal, you have to show your ticket and passport to enter the tram that takes you to the terminal security area. The TSA ladies asking for our passport and ticket stopped us and said we couldn’t go in until the extra plastic bag of stuff was gone. They said we already had too much “baggage” to carry on (I had two carry on’s and Derek had three). We had planned to consolidate the plastic bag of stuff at the gate but we had to do it before security evidently. Derek and I quickly packed as much of the stuff as we could into the suitcase and threw away the obvious trash (not knowing at the time, the $300.00 prescription we had picked up earlier, got thrown away also).
The TSA ladies let us onto the tram and we looked at the time…6:15 am. Our flight was leaving in 15 minutes and we still needed to go through security! When we boarded the tram, there was only one other man on the tram with us. We started praying softly, asking Yahuweh for a miracle to get us through security quickly. The man standing a few feet from us, turned and asked us, “Are you about to miss your flight?” We said, “yes!” He said, “Don’t worry, you can go with me as part of my group… I have special clearance.” We were so shocked! Yes, we knew He answered our prayers. We were just speechless for a few moments and then said, “Thank you so much!”
We got off the tram and followed the man to the security entrance, bypassing several people in line. The man went first, showed his ticket that was on his cell phone and told the security person that we were with him. They let us right through! Once we showed the second person our passport and ticket, we went up to where you place your belongings on the conveyor belt. There were 4 people in front of us. We kindly asked them if we could go in front of them so we wouldn’t miss our flight. All four of them said, “Yes!”
I went through security first and the guy from the tram, the one who had helped us get through, said to me, “If I were you, I would run to the gate and have them hold the plane so they don’t leave without your husband!” I put my shoes on, quickly explained to Derek what he said, and ran to the gate. The gate ended up being the first gate after security and the bathrooms! As I was running to the gate, I saw the same sweet lady skycap that had helped us at 4:15 am with our bags and at the check-in counter. She said, “I don’t want to alarm you, but they have to close the door in 2 minutes whether Derek is here or not.” Without even thinking, I used my teacher voice and said, “DEREK, YOU HAVE LESS THAN TWO MINUTES AND THEY ARE GOING TO CLOSE THE DOORS!” He heard me over the airport announcements and music and came running around the corner!
The plane was so full, they had to check our carry-on roller bags. We showed our boarding passes and as we were rushing down the narrow hallway to get on the plane, Derek looked back and saw the skycap lady standing at the gate door. He said, “look! There’s that lady who helped us so much with our bags earlier!” As we got on the plane and sat down, I told Derek what happened when I got to the gate. I told him that it was that skycap lady who held the plane for us. When he heard that, his eyes began to tear up for gratitude because of the kindness of that little lady. As we barely got situated in our seats, buckling up our seat belts, still breathing hard from the run to the gate…the plane began to move. We made it, and not even one minute to spare! Praise Yah!
When we arrived in Miami, we finally ate breakfast (our first meal since breakfast the day before), and waited for our 11:30 am flight. We boarded the plane at 11:00 am and when we were about to depart, I looked at the outside temperature. It was 84 degrees! He is faithful!
Approximately 2.5 hours later, we landed in Costa Rica. We flew through immigration with no problems and a nice man offered to help us with our luggage. Little did we know that this same man knew our friend that was outside waiting to take us to our rental house. This man not only helped us get our 6 pieces of checked baggage, he also helped us get Freedom. Freedom was so happy to see us and we were so happy to see him!
Throughout all the trials of the last 30 hours, along with no sleep, Abba showed us over and over His faithfulness and His favor. As far as the things that got thrown away, and the money we lost along the journey here – Abba has already made up what we lost…and more! HalleluYah!
We know without faith in Him, trust in Him, and prayer, we would have nothing, be nothing, accomplish nothing! Praising Him THROUGH trials and obstacles in your life will do more to help you overcome than anything else. For when you praise Him through the trials and obstacles, He will remove the obstacles from the path and gird you with strength to continue the journey. As we were utterly exhausted going through this (naked of strength), He girded (dressed) us with His strength, cleared the way before us, and we did not stumble. It is through the recognition of our weakness that He shows Himself strong!
Shabbat Shalom with much love,
Derek and Rivkah
Our first sunset in Costa Rica – His faithfulness never fails!