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God does not live in a box.

Posted 30/11/2020


A story of our adventure in wanting to come to Guatemala, and actually physically arriving in Guatemala, 2020.

As most journeys go, in our case, it seems as though there is always more.

The original plan was to leave for Guatemala on November 1, 2020. The day after Marion’s 95th Birthday, (Grant’s mom)

We purchased a ticket from Avianca, in September when the border to Guatemala opened up.  ($560 Canadian for 2 return tickets.) At the time we purchased the tickets there were no restrictions for travelling.

When November arrived there were restrictions and Grant called the Guatemalan embassy to inquire about the new travel restrictions. We were told we needed a negative Covid test, with the result date being dated no longer than 72 hrs   prior to arriving in Guatemala. This is not an easy feat when you’re dealing with so many unknowns. (Those who have gone before, know what I am talking about!)

Believing God wanted us to go we stepped out and did what we needed to do!

We went and got tested and waited. While waiting the airline decided it would be a good idea to switch our flight from November 1 to November 3. The new flight also included a 12 hour layover in El Salvador.

Who ever thought changing the flight was a good idea, certainly did not consult with us first!

The test results came back negative on November 1, however, with the new flight we would now be over the 72 hr time frame.

Guess it is time for Plan B! Or is it?

I try to book a flight with United for Wednesday in the afternoon, I am 80% done booking on the computer and friends come over to say goodbye.

What do I do?

I do what anyone of you would have done. I stop what I am doing and visit with friends for an hour.

Plan B can wait!

Our friends head out and I go back to the computer to finish up booking. The amazing flight is gone, it’s vanished, and it does not appear to ever have existed.


I get on the phone with United and speak to an agent, not only is the flight gone, what they have available is horrible and $300 more, per ticket.  

It would appear that Plan B is a NO GO and we are not moving forward to Plan C!

Is there even such a thing as Plan C?

Meanwhile things “came up” in our lives that we had to deal with before we could go to Guatemala. 

Co-incidence or God-incidence?

Those of you who know us know this was a God thing and even though we desperately missed our Guatemalan friends we knew we had extra time in Canada so we made the best of every moment. I can’t say it was easy for me, but one thing I have learned in my journey with God is that His plan far exceeds anything I could ever think or imagine. I’ve also learned that he wants me to be willing and ready to be His hands and feet no matter what country I am in.

As for Grant, well I won’t lie, he was happy to be able to do some more trucking with the Lenos family. In fact, he brags about working enough hours to buy us new tickets for when we would finally fly to Guatemala.


November 5, 2020 found us making a phone call to have a second Covid test. Thankfully there was cancellations on the 9th of November. It took 4 days just to get an appointment to get tested!  This time we were waiting for test results before booking a flight. Results came back negative on Friday the 13th. (In case you are wondering, it was too cold to ride to Port Dover)

We also enlisted the help of Kevin Lichty from Vision Travel Solutions. Thinking this would provide a little more security and insurance in booking flights. (Especially with my previous experience of flights just randomly disappearing)

Prior to being tested we had discussed the possibility of having to fly through Houston to have a rapid test. We also were looking at flights that would give us a 1 to 2 day layover so we could visit with our friends Jim & Leslie, who also do ministry work in Guatemala. That flight however proved to be too expensive and so we opted with the earliest affordable tickets which turned out to be November 15th. 48 hours after our test results. (Don’t worry, we have 72 hours)

We arrived in Toronto, with lots of time to spare in case of any issues regarding all the Covid paper work. Everything was checked over with a fine tooth comb and we were given our boarding pass.

YES, we have boarded and we are ready to take off to Virginia where we have our connecting flight to Guatemala.

We safely land in Virginia, and in all honesty, this is where the fun really began.

In Virginia we were told that we were over our 72 hr time frame. The rules had apparently changed during the 4 hour flight and now the Guatemalan Government was saying it was 72 hrs from the time the test was administered.  November 9 – November 15, yes I confirm that is definitely over the 72 hrs.

The manager at United was telling us that they were going to put us on a plane back to Canada the following day. (Oh if only those reading this could have been a fly on the wall)

I’m like um “excuse me, we are NOT going back to Canada to be quarantined for 14 days when we just left Canada 4 hours ago, with staff from United giving us the all clear.” I was pleasant, yet firm. Due to an error on their part, we were willing to overlook the error, if they were willing to work with us in getting us to our final destination.


Options were few as the next flight to Guatemala out of Virginia were not until Tuesday November 17. (Currently it’s Sunday) United made arrangements for us for one night, (guess they thought we’d sleep in a park the following night) they gave us food vouchers for $60 and a shuttle to the hotel. After a long day, we spent the evening inquiring about rapid testing in Virginia. Nothing available until Thursday at the earliest and booking a test was next to impossible without an American address.

Staying in a hotel for 3 days or more was NOT an option. (Seriously though, Grant in a hotel for 3 days, only one of us would have continued on to Guatemala, and you all know who that would have been.)

Grant called Leslie, our friends in Texas. They were willing to do whatever needed to be done to get us to Guatemala. They were even willing to drive to Virginia to get us and bring us back to Texas for testing. Monday morning at 8:30, not really knowing what we were doing, I called United. I asked them to fly us to Houston on the 11 am flight and from there we would need a flight to Guatemala. Not just any flight though, we needed a flight with a layover in Houston so we could get another Covid test. I needed a flexible flight as I didn’t know how long for test and results or really if we could even get tested.

They agreed!

In fact United said they would book us for a flight Wednesday to Guatemala and if we needed more time we could change it at no extra cost. We were at that time still using our original tickets.

Do you see where this is going?

What we couldn’t afford to do in the first place, a flight to Houston with a layover, was playing out for us. All we had to do was keep calm and keep stepping.

It’s now 8:50 am, we need to get on the hotel shuttle for 9 am to try and make the 11 am flight. We have talked to a lot of different people in the last 24 hours, all saying one thing or another and it all has to line up and make sense but we don’t have the luxury of time to explain it to another agent. We just need our boarding passes and we need to book it to the departure gate.

Here is my prayer, “God, we really could use someone with common sense at this point, Thanks.”

God provided an angel, and her name is Aleisha. Within minutes are bags were checked in and we had our new boarding passes. I explained to her that she really was an answer to my prayer because of the crazy journey thus far. She showed us a picture of Alex, her son who was killed this last June in a car accident. He was 18 at the time. Aleisha said, “I never bring a picture of Alex to work with me, but I knew that today I had to!” We were as much a blessing to her as she was to us.

That’s God!

Side note: The blessing of this encounter continues and to honour Alex and his memory, a young man here in Guatemala, Alejandro (Alexander) is being sponsored now. This also is made possible by Newmarket Alliance Church who have chosen to sponsor 10 of our youth starting November.

All glory goes to our Almighty God.

We are at the gate for the 11 am flight. In fact things went so smoothly I had time to wait 30 minutes in the Dunkin Donuts line up for coffee and a bagel. It was awesome, folks around me were getting frustrated and annoyed with having to wait, and of course me being me, says to the man in front of me, loud enough for others to hear, “One thing I’ve learned in life is that if you keep smiling, the feelings will eventually catch up.” Food for thought. He took a minute to digest it, and smiled. Must have been contagious as some of the others did as well.

Now we are boarded and Leslie is in Texas not able to communicate with us and get personal information to book an appt. for test #3. She tells the lab in Houston what we do in Guatemala and they are like, oh just bring them in. You don’t need an appointment.

3rd time testing is a charm. We are treated like royalty. (Except for the q-tip up the nose) Yet another blessing, the test, costing $150 each, was paid for by yet another Texan friend. (I am choosing to let him remain anonymous as I want his reward to be huge, after all, he is Texan)

2 hours later we have Negative test in hand, yet we can’t book a flight due to Government of Guatemala wanting another paper filled out 24 hours prior to arriving to Guatemala but you can’t fill the paper out until you have a Negative test.

Anyone else seeing circus hoops?

The blessing through all of this is we are with friends, more than friends, brother and sister in Christ. It doesn’t get much better than that! 

Actually it did and it does. We were able to spend time over lunch the following day, with 2 other brothers, Pastor Andrew and Pastor Randy.

We spent most of Tuesday and all of Wednesday with Jim & Leslie. We booked a flight to Guatemala from Houston for Thursday morning with time to spare, keeping our 72 hr time frame in mind. While checking in at the airport we heard talk of the Covid test and Guatemala so Grant inquired what the new restrictions were.

They were back to what we had been told prior to arriving in Toronto. 72 hr from date of results, not testing.

Who’s got a plan?

This journey to Guatemala was definitely an adventure and there are moments when it didn’t look good. We had to make a conscious choice to believe that God really does go before us and He really does have a plan and His plan far supersedes anything we could think or imagine. (Ephesians 3:20)

Jeremiah 29:11 says, “for I know the plans I have for you” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Friends keep trusting and stepping. Allow God to work in and through you.

His plan is the plan!


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