Wednesday, April 19, 2006

The Adventure Begins

Sorry about not posting for a while. Well not too sorry. I have a good excuse.

It all begins about 6 weeks ago. Sarah was up at the Nehemiah house for the weekend and we went over to the downtown public library because I had a paper to write for my church planting class. This paper had to be on a historical missions movement, not necessarily Christian, the goal was to just evaulate historical missions methods. So I did some digging around and found out that the library had a copy of Noticias De Californias a collection of old letters and writings of some of the early padres that founded the first missions in Baja California. While searching through this book I came across a copy of this letter:

Now, I dont read Spanish but I did notice that it was written in 1755. This peaked Sarah and my's interest so I made a photocopy of it to have someone translate it for me. After about a week I got it back from a friend with this translation:

(this manuscript was found wedged in the binding of the original document, but was not included in the final facsimile as it is unclear whether Venegas intended it to be in the final document. In addition, it’s authenticity is greatly in question both by scholars and Venegas himself. We include it here as an insert however for research purposes)

Andres Marcos Burriel, holy father and humble chronicler of the work of our Lord and holy mother through the labor of the apostles of the most honorable Society of Jesus in New Spain, on the seventh day of the month of December, the year of our Lord 1755:

With much prayer and troubled spirit I have decided to include this testimony copied in my own hand, of Father Jaime Bravo, honorable founder of Misión de Nuestra Señora del Pilar de La Paz and director of finances for the California missions 1730-1744. My hesitation comes from the absence of knowledge concerning whether this testimony is indeed written by Father Bravo himself, for his holy soul has passed on to be with our exalted Lord Jesus and Sacred Mother. In addition, the worthy father Miguel Venegas, original compiler of these accounts, has himself passed into eternal communion with the holy saints. Without these vital sources, it is impossible to authenticate this testimony. My only source is he who brought this letter to my possession, Joel Sanchez, brother assistant to Father Bravo during the Indian Revolt. He assures me of it’s validity, claiming even to have assisted Father Bravo in the endeavor. I leave the decision to include this in the final compliation in your hands, Father Pedro Altamirano, admirable Procurator General for the Society of Jesus in New Spain.

In the Service of our Lord,

Father Andres Marcos Burriel

October 17, The year of our Lord, 1734.

The rebellion of the savages continues, threatening to plunge the light back into darkness. The missions of Santiago, San Jose del Cabo, Santa Rosa de Todos Santos and the beloved Pilar de La Paz have all suffered heavy attacks from the murderous gentile Indians. As Chief Financier of all Missions in California, I have decided to take action to secure the relics and treasury housed in the Mission of Our Lady of Loreto Concho from the seemingly imminent assault. With the assistance of J. Sanchez, I have concealed the sacred artifacts on the island of Coronado, over the shoulder of the southern oyster of the black pearl. This information will be entrusted to my superiors, Juan Bautista Escalante of Nacosari, brother assistant Joel Sanchez, and myself. May God defend the righteous.

I attest to the truth and accuracy of this testimony, before our Holy Mother and glorious Christ

Father Jaime Bravo, Director of Fincances for the California Missions of the Society of Jesus at Loreto.

Needless to say, Sarah and I both were intrigued about this letter so we began researching it. I was pretty busy with school and ministry so Sarah kind of took over the research. She found that Jaime Bravo was a real person, there was an Indian rebellion at that time, and other interesting details that seemed to support the veracity of the letter. In the meantime, a group of 8 of us were planning a spring break camping trip to Utah. When that fell through, Sarah suggested that we drive to Loreto in Baja California Sur, which apparently was beautiful and try to pick up on the trail of the letter. After some convincing all 8 of us agreed to go and preparations were made. Everyone drove down to my parents house on monday night and we loaded up the supplies. After a delicious Italian meal cooked by Mama Freiberg, and a little screening of Indiana Jones to get us in the mood, Sarah gave a short presentation on where we were going and all about the letter.

So Tuesday mornings we packed into two cars and began our 16 hour drive south. Other than the beautiful flora and fauna (I've always wanted to use that in a sentence) the drive was fairly uneventful, except for one of the girls driving the car off the road and getting stuck in the sand, if it wasnt for the help of about 10 mexicans we would have been stuck for a long time.

It got dark before we could get to Loreto so we found a beach near Mulege and woke up to this:

Once everyone was up, we got back in the cars and headed into Loreto. After some breakfast we split up into two teams: one to find the mission and one to try and secure a boat to take us out to the island of Coronado.

After circling the coast, we settled at a beautiful beach. We hung out here the rest of the day, snorkeling, swimming, finding dead things on the beach (moray eels and severed shark heads), reading, sleeping, doing a photo shoot, and having a time of Bible study and worship.

After a night lit by the brightest full moon I've ever seen, we woke up and decided to hike south along the coast to see if we could find anything oyster-like. After about 30 minutes of hiking Sarah spotted a small cave about half way up a cliff face (she totally missed the oyster like rock on the coast below it). I got up to it first with Sarah close behind. In the dim flashlight I could see what seemed to be a small rope of some sort coming from a pile of rocks. I was too big to crawl back into the whole however so I waited for Sarah to get up there. She shimmied into the hole and pulled on the string. To our amazement a burlap bundle was attached to it. Trying not to freak out we brought the package down from the cliff. We cut through the old rope, began to unwrap the burlap, found another cloth, unwrapped it and found a beautiful wooden box, inlaid with the emblem of a violin. With wide eyes we opened the lid...and music started, both figurativly and literally. It was a music box and inside it contained only one item. A ring. I took the ring, got on my knees and looked Sarah in the eyes. "Sarah, there are so many reasons why I love you, but the most important reason is that we are both in love with the same person, our Lord Jesus Christ. Will you marry me?" After a few, very long seconds of silence, she blurted out, "are you serious!?" After assuring her I was she burst into tears and said yes.

As you probably have guessed by now, the whole treasure hunt thing was made up. I totally surprised her.

Special thanks to Brad, Juliet, Kornut, Marybeth, Derek, and Jeanet for being such a huge part of our adventure!

and so the adventure begins. Sarah and I hope that our commitment to following, worshiping, loving, and serving the Lord will be only strenghtened and further enabled by our union. Our love for each other will depend on our love for our Lord, which thankfully depends on our Lord's love for us.

The wedding is July 22nd. Let me know if you want an invitation

by God's grace, for God's glory,


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beck said...

*grinning ear to ear*
(I'm the becky whose family gave you a ride north that one time...)

jeremy said...

HOLY CRAP!!! That is the best story I have ever heard! I am motivated, but to what you may ask?

scott zeller said...

wow. you're an inspiration to us all. congrats man... see you in KY.


ajlin said...


andrew said...

wow, bro. It will be hard to top you!