It rarely rains in Spain’s Southern deep. But when it does, it can be a nail-biting time and could mean a flash flood is on its way!
It was mid January 1971 when we first arrived as missionaries in Southern Spain; and after leaving the lush green pastures of England it was more than a shock to arrive to such a barren and undeveloped wilderness. But even the poverty and wide open scruffy wilderness wasn’t the worst shock… it was the unrelenting heat! I never knew such intense heat existed! And there wasn’t one tree anywhere for shade.
So once we had finished building Centro Cristiano, I was determined to plant trees. But all we could find were tiny match-stick seedlings of pine trees. The earth was like solid rock and Chris had to use a pick axe to make even the tiniest of hole. After a hard days work planting the seedlings there were just two seedlings left but Chris had only dug one hole so I just popped the last two into the one hole, as we were both anxious to get inside out of the searing heat. But Chris objected saying that no-matter how small a seedling you never put two into one hole. But as the heat was on our side I got away with it and the two seedlings were left in the on hole.
But year after year, we watched those two seedlings fusing at the base and growing into a V shape tree with Chris keeping on reminding me how two trees should never be put into one hole! He was right, as it was obvious that one day half of the tree would need to be sawn off as they were both pushing out sideways against each other.
Years later while we were out-of-town, one of Spain’s frightening downpours occurred. When we got back home, it had been a flash flood. We were then told an incredible story… two German girls were driving down the only road that goes past Centro Cristiano. But they got caught up in the flash flood and their vehicle was being rapidly swept along by a raging torrent towards the sea. Suddenly, with the water building higher their car came to an abrupt halt and became wedged in the V shape of our now fully grown tree!! The girls were able to open the door of their vehicle and clamber out clinging onto the branches of our tree. Their vehicle dropped down with a thud and they watched in horror as it was a swept away like a toy car hurtling to utter destruction!
My two matchstick seedlings that I had planted twenty-five years earlier had saved two lives! The girls had been able to stay clinging onto that tree until the flash flood had passed through and until help came!
That was the end of mine and my husbands twenty-five year ongoing dialogue about how two trees shouldn’t be put into one hole.
My dear husband said, ‘Christine, perhaps it was the Lord after all how you insisted that those two seedlings would be fine in one hole.’ ‘Oh really Chris?’ I said.
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