From Richard Carrera to David & Becky Gates

Hi Mommy and Daddy,

You won’t believe the troubles and blessings we have had getting Arturo and Tania tickets to travel! Monday morning I bought the tickets for them to travel Wednesday at 2:00 am. When we got to the airport they told us the tickets were cancelled. I tried paying for them again and couldn’t charge the card because the money was on hold for the cancelled tickets. So, we had to go back home and try again the next day.

I don’t know if you know about the drug addict lady that Tania met at the Abasto. Anyway, she was trying to help this homeless lady and buy some clothes for her. Since she was leaving so soon, she made arrangements for Elsie and I to find the lady and give her the clothes she bought. That very day (Wednesday) Elsie came to the TV station with Alcides and to meet Tania, but they had already left to pay their penalties at the immigration office. Well, I left with Alcides and Elsie to meet Tania and Arturo downtown so she could help us find the lady. Just before meeting Tania and Arturo, all the engine lights came on and the steering locked up with Alcides. We pulled aside into a safe place to check the engine. It so happened the crankshaft pulley wobbled out and threw out all the engine belts. It was my worst nightmare especially being at the airport all night and not getting sufficient rest.

Finally the mechanic came in his old beat up car with all his tools in a bucket. Without discussing price he started pulling the whole front of the engine down at the side of the road where we had pulled over. I have never seen anything like this. I asked him how much he would charge for his work, and with his head down in the engine and his rear up in the air he said, “I am not finished yet, I will tell you later.”

Well, Tania and Arturo finally came and we decided to leave Alcides and the mechanic and go find the lady at the Abasto. When we got there we could not find her. We were all very disappointed. Then suddenly Tania saw her coming from a distance with another drug addict friend. Tania ran across the road to meet Carla and then brought her to us. She said that very day her uncle was coming to take her to La Paz. She told her uncle that some missionaries were willing to help her and she was not willing to go with him to La Paz. The uncle did not believe her and kept insisting that she should go with him. She told us if she could leave the streets right then she was willing to do it. She said she had been praying and praying that God would deliver her from her life of addiction and she believed God would help her. I asked Elsie if she had a contact for any drug rehabilitation center and praise the Lord she did. We called the rehab center and they told us they would do an interview with her right away. You should have seen the joy on Carla’s face. We told her to pack her things right away and let us go with her.

It did not take long to pack her little backpack and out popped Carla from the tunnel with big smiles. As we were organizing the taxi for Elsie and Carla, a few of the market vendors came across and gave her their good-bye hugs. Just then her uncle was coming to meet her, saw all the commotion and decided to see what was going on. We explained to him our plans and he was very happy that we were helping her. Then a lady came across and asked who we were. When we told her we were Seventh-day Adventists you should have seen the expression on her face! She was mad! She told Elsie where she could find a rehab center near Santa Cruz, and not only that, she got into the car and was ready to show them the directions. Right there I saw the Devil working. I went across to the car window and told Elsie, “please tell that lady to get out of the car right now”. Elsie told her and she got out, headed the other direction and never even looked back at us. Then the uncle got into the car and left with Elsie. The rehab center we took Carla to is in Catoca, one hour away. Praise the Lord they took her in! The uncle volunteered to pay the institution $100.00 per month until she is better.

Carla has 5 children and they all live with her parents, who are doctors, in La Paz. She wants to have a stable home for her children someday. It seems to me that Carla came from a wealthy home. Her husband got her into drugs and they are going through divorce. Carla had been doing drugs for 16 years and the last time she took Cocaine was that very morning. I told Carla if she does well, I will try her out at one of our ministries helping people. Maybe Guayara or the George’s nursing home. I told her if she does well at those places, we will put her to work at the Channel. She said that would be a dream come true because she knows the channel. I like her play on words. She said, “Imagine leaving the Canal to work for Canal 24.” We had a good laugh. Her desire is to become a missionary.

Early Thursday morning we went to the airport again and this time the payment for the ticket went through. Tania and Arturo got all the way to immigration and there was another problem. When they went downtown to pay the immigration penalties, they did not put the stickers on the receipt. Unfortunately, the airport immigration told them they would have to go back and fix the problem with the immigration downtown. Praise the Lord I was still in the lobby, so I took them home again. That was two nights with hardly any sleep.

That very day they went back to fix the problem and we decided to make a trip to visit to Carla in Catoca. Carla was so happy to see them again before they left. We sat and had a very nice talk with her and about her life. She told us that she was not only on drugs, but she experimented with witchcraft. She shared some stories that brought chills to our body. We asked her if she had any materials that are Satanic and she said yes. She gave us her chains, bracelets and a witchcraft book on vampires she was reading written by a Jehovahs Witness. We took it all and threw it away.

Thursday night I got my vehicle back from the mechanic and it was a job well done for $200.00. I took Tania and Arturo for the third time to the airport for their 2:00 am flight and praise the Lord everything went well and they are now on their way to Mexico. It was three hard days but it was all worth it. We certainly saw a battle between good and evil for this drug addicted lady. We realized God cancelled all the flights in His wisdom to save Carla’s soul and the Devil did everything he could to stop us by shutting down my engine.

Anyway, this is kind of long but I wanted to share this lovely experience with you both while it is still fresh and while I still feel like a crushed potato.  🙂

Please give our love to everyone and enjoy adventure.




P.s. Here are some of the photos we took of Carla before she left the Abasto. There is a photo of her with her boss and supervisor before she got on the streets.



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