The room was dark and I awoke confused. Somewhere coffee was brewing and the scent wafted through my room. I felt around my surroundings in the dark until my hand discovered matches on a bedside table, and upon striking a match I found a lamp. During this process my mind cleared enough to remember at least where I was – in a sleeping room of a chalet, on a mountainside, somewhere in northern Spain – why I was there was much less clear.
I put on my clothes and went into the hall. From below I could hear voices speaking in French. My daughter Monique’s distinct soft tones seemed to be in contrast with the raspy voice of a man. I descended the steps and walked briskly toward the kitchen. There was Monique, and the man I originally met in Sint Maarten. “Jacques.”
Both Monique and Jacques turned quickly toward me. Monique laughed. “We thought you might sleep all morning.”
Her bright smile reminded me so much of her mother that it caused me pause. “I might have, but I smelled coffee. What time is it anyway?”
“So, good to see you again Monsieur.” Jacques pointed to large antique clock on the kitchen wall then offered me his hand. “Twenty minutes before seven.” His English was heavily accented. He shook his head and continued in French. “Cet a été des semaines depuis notre bon voyage de Maarten Péché.” Essentially, he said he hadn’t seen me in several weeks. Although, I think it had only been about ten days.
Monique poured a cup of coffee and handed it to me. “Jacques got here at five a.m., he had to walk up the mountain in the dark. And, he brought begets and some sweet jams.” Her green eyes twinkled in the reflection of the lantern light.
“Oui Monsieur, I stayed in Jaca for the night. Petit déjeuner Monsieur?” He handed me a small loaf. In a basket on the table were six croissants. Then he sat back into his chair and reached across the table toward me. Monsieur, tomorrow, Maurice and some men will be here to talk to you about joining us.
Joining? “What are you talking about?”
Monique put her arms around my shoulders.
“Okay, Jacques, why am I here? I don’t understand what has occurred.”
“Maurice and I saw what was happening in Sint Maarten. Maurice said, ‘we have to help him before they find out he is an American’. Then after the disaster, Maurice decided to bring you here.” Jacques’ expression told me that he was sincere.
“Daddy, remember Maurice and Jacques found me in Strasbourg. How, I don’t know.” Monique squeezed my shoulders. “Jacques is a chef and knows a lot of people there.”
Jacques laughed and pulled a picture from his pocket. “Oui, you showed me this picture on the plane – I borrowed it.” He slid the picture across the table. “She was easy to find. But, it was Maurice who decided to send you to the mission in Varcarlos, it was a good place for you to recover from the tragedy. Besides, Maurice noted the cross on your key chain; he knew you were a Christian.”
I remembered Maurice picking up my keys when I dropped them in the Sint Maarten airport. “Okay, let’s see if I understand. Maurice saved me in Sint Maarten; protected me, and now because I am a Christian you all want me to join something?”
“Daddy, they are trying to re-establish the church.”
I put my coffee down and walked into the great room. Lord, what’s happening? Is this the plan you have for me? Is this why Margaret was taken from us, so that I would give my undivided attention to your work? Why am I such a weakling chosen to re-establish the church? I know Margaret is with you Lord, but I need her, I need you, more now than ever – what is your answer?
The sun suddenly broke through the hills and filled the valley spilling the light like pouring cream. “Surely, the Lord has put me in this place for His work.”
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