Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Cinco de Mayo

Well, I must say that I will never remember Cinco de Mayo (May 5th) the same way again. When I used to hear someone say or refer to Cinco de Mayo I used to think of the 5K race that I ran with my Mom when I was about 11 years old. I ran and I won first place for my age group. That was a great day! Don't get me wrong...I will always hold onto that memory but right now there is another memory that will come with it. It is the reason for this blog entry and for requesting your prayers.

On Cinco de Mayo 2008 (yesterday) we were robbed. Yes, you read that correctly. It happened at about 2:30am and yes, we were at home when it happened. Don't worry! We are all safe and they didn't touch a hair on any of our heads. Thank you again Lord Jesus! Here is the story... *Warning* it may be a little long!

We were sleeping soundly. Greg had returned home from his men's Encuentro Con Dios (encounter with God) weekend. He returned Sunday evening and we got home about 8:00pm and he was able to tell me how much God touched his life and the lives of others. Awesome! We retired a little earlier than usual because Greg had a long weekend and was very tired. Anyway, about 2:30 I, Melynda, heard someone come into my room. I slightly lifted my head off the pillow to look to see who it was. Then I saw someone hurriedly walking out of my room bent over. I thought that it was Matthew because it was someone the same build, no shirt on, and no shoes on. I thought that maybe he did not feel good so that is why he was walking bent over. I didn't say anything but I laid there and thought,"Why did he come in our room when he has a bathroom?" Then I remembered that the puppies were sleeping in his bathroom so it would be easier for him to come in our room than to try to round up all the puppies in the dark, especially if he was not feeling good. After just a few seconds I heard the jingling of keys and I thought, "Why would he need keys in the middle of the night?" So I thought maybe I should go check on him. I decided to wait a minute or two to see if he called out to us and about that time I saw the same person enter our bedroom a second time. As soon as he walked past our bed and over to my desk I sat up and said,"Matt! What are you doing?" That startled the intruder who jumped and grabbed our new laptop and ran out of our room. As he was grabbing the laptop and running I yelled to Greg,"He is stealing our laptop!" At which Greg went from sleeping soundly to standing upright and yelling at the top of his lungs in a language I have never heard! It was not English and it was not Spanish. =)

Greg went toward our kids rooms'and I went toward the stairs where the thief had run.
I went running downstairs and when I got to the bottom of the steps I realized that the front door was open and my keys were hanging in the inside lock. I ran out of the house and down the side walkway until I felt the Holy Spirit say, "STOP!" I stopped and stood there staring into the backyard waiting to see if I saw someone jump over the back wall. After no more than a minute I turned to go back to the front door.

By the time I got inside the kids and Greg were all downstairs and turning lights on everywhere. Brittany suggested we call Euri Cabral - that is the Dominican family we have become really close to. She called him and woke him and Cheizi up. While she talked to Cheizi her dad, Euri, was calling the police.

Meanwhile I am walking around the house with Greg trying to figure out where they got in. I went into the back kitchen and the door was open and I saw a tool sitting on the short wall that I knew was not ours (I am the tool person in our family). I called to Greg and as he was coming I also realized that they had moved my laundry basket and the rolling cooler was missing. I asked Greg if he had opened the door for Gracie, our Miniature Schnauzer, to go out and he said no. I found that puzzling. I continued to look around and a few moments later Brittany went to the same door and noticed that the bars that guard the door were bent. We all went to look and realized that the thief had used a car jack to pry open the bars.

Greg soon realized that his wallet, keys, and watch were gone. He had put them on my vanity, which is not where he normally laid them. I went upstairs and immediately called to cancel the 2 debit cards he had in his wallet. Greg said that they, the thieves, were going to be very disappointed because he did not have any money in his wallet. *Note - this is part of the Praise report to come out of this.* Greg began to tell us the story about when they took up an offering during his men's weekend and he was praying about how much to give and he felt that God was telling him to give it all. He said he hesitated and said,"God are you sure you want me to give it all? How about half so that I still have money for bills and such?" He said he felt that God said, "Give it all." So he gave it all. I am glad. I would much rather God have my money than a thief! =)

Just before the police arrived we were walking around trying to figure out how to secure the car and house since they stole Greg's keys which had a key to the front gate, keys to the house, and the only keys we have to the car. We thought about taking the battery out of the car so they could not steal it if they came back but we remembered that we could not open the car without the key because of the alarm. A minute or two later we decided to stand outside the front door and watch for the police and that is when the second Praise came into play. Matt found the keys to the car and Greg's watch. Evidently they had sat them on the ledge on the front porch and when they had to leave running because we woke up and were yelling they ran by trying to scoop them up but the keys and watch fell out of their hands. Yeah God! They did not have keys to our car, house, or front gate!

A few minutes later the police arrived. That is when a few of the pieces of the puzzle started to come together. As we walked around the house and told the police the story we found the car jack that the intruders used to pry the bars open. we also found the cooler that we thought had been stolen. They had moved it to a set of steps leading to a room on the backside of the house. They had laid it caddie-corner on the steps and used it to boost themselves up onto Brittany's balcony which is why Gracie, who Brittany had closed up in her room, was growling around 11:30 that night. Brittany had thought maybe she heard or smelled a rat so she just closed the windows and got ready for bed. Evidently, when they climbed up and saw that there was a dog in that room they decided to avoid it. Again, a praise because normally Gracie roams the house at night but that night God knew that Gracie needed to stay in b=Brittany's room to protect her from the intruders coming in.

Two of the policemen stayed and kept guard over our house while Greg and Brittany went down to the police station to file the report they actually stayed and guarded the house until 7:00am.

As the light of the sun began to shine the Light of God's Son and His protection also began to shine. Let me explain...Our neighbor came over to check on us and as he was talking he saw something out of the corner of his eye. When they went to inspect they realized it was Greg's wallet. So, after everything, the thieves only got our new laptop. As you noticed I have said"they" that is because we believe - and so do the police - that there were two the guy who came upstairs is the one who fit through the bars, looked around downstairs until he found my keys and opened the front door for his accomplice. The accomplice thought that my Bible cover was a pocketbook so he had taken it over to the door where he could see it in the light and had gone through it looking for money. What a way to find the Word of God huh? Hahaha! We also figured out that they had climbed up on another balcony, but realized it would be too hard to get in that way so they dropped the car jack (yeah, that would be a second car jack) down to the ground. We also discovered a machete (in case you don't know that is a really long and sharp knife that is used to cut down bushes, thick brush, etc) in the front yard. They could have used this on us but didn't. The police told us that there are usually two or more and that more times than not one or both are armed (yeah, with a gun). They police believe that the guy that was downstairs was probably armed since the one that came upstairs was not (remember he was barefoot and had no shirt on).

As you can see God's hand of protection was all around us. Things could have been really bad but none of us were hurt or even touched. We have already joked as a family that maybe, when Greg was yelling, he was actually saying their names and that the enemy in them was scared because it was as if God was calling out to them through Greg.

Needless to say, it has been hard to sleep at night but we will get there. We were surrounded by friends all day yesterday and many more who called to check on us throughout the day yesterday and today. We are so grateful for God's protection and we have already, as a family, begun to pray for those who broke into our home. We are praying for their salvation. Yes, we are putting into practice the verse that says to pray for your enemies. It was hard a t first but within hours of the break in we began to pray for them. "Father forgive them for they know not what they do."

To end all of this we would ask that you pray for us to once again sleep in peace, for continued protection, and that the enemy would not be able to stand against us or cause us to become bitter towards the Dominican people. The enemy wants us to give up, leave and go back to the States so...we are going to do just the opposite! we are going to stay and pray even more for this country and the people within it! The enemy will not win through the Burge family! We will stand and watch the Lord for the battle is HIS! And through him we have the VICTORY!

I want to leave you with this thought....
Friends who surround you with love and prayer in a crisis...PRICELESS!

Lots of Love,
Melynda and the rest of the Burge clan =)

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