Everyone had heard bits and pieces of what had happened, but Wes wanted to tell the story while they ate. That Sunday, Nana Ahlseen decided to bring dinner, choosing a recipe in honor of the country where Wes was born. Kimmy took a bite and asked, “What are we eating? I can see beef, onions, tomatoes and boy is it spicy! The best part of this dish is that it is mixed up with French fries!”
“It’s Lomo Saltado, one of the best-known dishes from Peru,” Nana said.
“It’s almost as good as when I got to eat it during our trip,” commented Wes. “l always loved it when we would go out to eat at El Serrano in Lancaster. I never thought eating the food in Peru would be even better. Who knew that a trip I was so nervous about, could turn out so great! Mom and Dad, you always told me I was adopted when I was 18 months old, but I don’t remember anything from when I was a baby in Peru.”
Mom asked, “Wes, what did I always tell you about your mother in Peru?”
“She loved me so much she wanted me to have a better life. Mom, what kind of love did you call it?”
“Unconditional love, just like Jesus loves us.” Mom smiled broadly. “Who imagined that we would get the chance to go back to Peru and meet Wes’ relatives? God moved so many people to make it all possible. Manuel, the owner of El Serrano, was making improvements to the restaurant and brought in a carpenter from Peru. Manuel wanted him to meet Wes, so we took Wes and his birth certificate over to the restaurant. Come to find out that the carpenter had been in Wes’ hometown of Limabamba and knew his birth family. The carpenter was returning to Peru so I sent a letter and pictures with him for Wes’ birth mother. We then found out that his birth mother wanted to see Wes. That’s why we decided we would go to Peru.
“Wes, do you remember the most important part of this story? When we told Manuel about our travel plans. Manuel asked, ‘How did we get to this point? You had no contact with Wes’ birth family and now you are planning a trip to Peru?’ Wes, how did I answer him?”
SOMEBODY WAS PRAYING
“Mom, you said that you thought somebody was praying and somebody had questions.”
“That’s right. And everyone thought that was a crazy idea, didn’t they?” Mom smiled. “So, Wes, you tell the rest of the story.”
MEETING THE FAMILY
“So, we took a long airplane ride from New Jersey to Lima, Peru. It was so hot! Hey guys, did you know that Lima is a desert? We got there and then went to the hostel, that’s like a hotel here in America. We were eating breakfast the next morning when we heard, ‘Would George or Deb come down to the desk? Manuel is here.’ We didn’t know anyone in Peru. Mom went down and there was Manuel from El Serrano. He decided he just needed to see the end of our story. He was so excited. We all left for the park where we were to meet my birth family.
“We waited a little bit. I think we were afraid that nobody was going to show up. Finally, here came my uncle, aunt, cousins and my birth mother. I was a little afraid, everybody was crying. What if they wanted me to stay here? My birth mother’s name is Teofina. She was talking Spanish and Manuel was telling us she said, ‘l gave you away so that you could have a better life.’ That was weird. That’s what you always told me Mom.
“Then we all went back to where we were staying, and my Peru mom wanted me to sit with her on the same chair. I called her “mom” ‘cause I didn’t know what else to call her. Mom, you asked me about that, remember? And I said, ‘Teofina is my birth mom, but you are my favorite mom.
HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?
“That night we went to my uncle’s house for supper. He asked, ‘How did this happen? How did we all get together?’ Mom told him exactly what she said back in the restaurant: ‘Somebody was praying and somebody wanted answers.’ Mom, you tell them what my uncle said.”
“With tears streaming down his face, he said, ‘l have prayed for 13 years that this boy would come back to us. We wanted to make sure that he was a son and not a servant.’
SOMEBODY WAS PRAYING
“Mom said loud really loud, ‘l knew somebody was praying!’”
All the kids looked at each other. Kimmy said, “How come everybody’s crying? It was a really cool adventure!”
Dad spoke up. “Matthew 21:22 says, ‘If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask in prayer.’ But I think, kids, the one mistake we make is when we decide how and when our prayers should be answered. Wes’ uncle prayed for 13 years, and he got an amazing answer. He got to see Wes with his own eyes! That was probably more than he even prayed for.
“Let’s pray. Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for giving us the opportunity to visit Wes’ family, and Lord, it was so exciting to be a part of a plan to answer his uncle’s prayer. From getting to know Manuel, to the carpenter coming from Peru, to the carpenter carrying a letter back to Wes’ mom and then the meeting in the park. It was not only an adventure, but what an example of answered prayer. Thank you, Lord.”
“Pass me the box of tissues, please.” Mom sobbed as she then passed around the precious photo of Wes and his birth mom.
“Mom, are you okay?”
“Just happy tears, Wes.”
Grandma Alseen went to the kitchen and brought out her latest cooking experiment. “Hope everyone has room for dessert. We are having Picarones. They’re sweet, sticky dripping doughnuts topped with honey, cinnamon, and orange.”
Jake said, “Wow, with food like this, maybe we should all go back to Peru.”
And all the family said, “Amen!”
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION:
- What prayers were answered in this story?
- How many years had Wes’ uncle prayed for Wes?
- What is “unconditional love”?
- Who has shown you that type of love?
Suggestion for Prayer: someone thank God for 10 different things or people