Here is a copy of the email Mrs. Courter sent out yesterday with an account of what exactly happened.
Dear Praying friends and family,
Today has been an eventful day, to say the least! It began as typical Thursday morning with the 4 older kids going across the street to the church
for morning prayer @ 5:00. Jessica, Rebekah and I usually meet with
Lawanda and Jenifer to walk at 6:00am. Anthony has started taking a morning walk since we've been down here. He generally picks a different child each morning, this morning it was Jessica's turn. Well, the weather report said that it was supposed to rain all day. The morning definitely looked like it could downpour any moment. The ladies altered their route to keep on the main road to keep near all the store overhangs in case the rain cut loose. Anthony, too had decided to take a "short cut" due to the rain. It turns out that they were in such conversation that he missed his planned cut off ( a choice that he has greatly regretted J).
Anyway, it seems that we have been scouted for some time, at least long enough for the wrong people to realize that the adults all left early in the morning for walks. While we were gone, Aaron was quasi-napping in a hammock we put up on the porch the day before and Daniel was reading his Bible on the porch. Two adolescents crooks were up on the porch before they knew anything about it. One had a gun and approached Daniel, motioning him to keep seated and quiet. The other one walked into the house (all my little boys were sleeping on the living room floor) and started grabbing things (there was a small table right by the front door where I generally do all my computer work. Daniel stood up and the first boy started to shoot. Daniel deflected the gun and it discharged (Daniel thought it was a blank). The shot evidently scared the second one and he ran off with what he had in his hands -- Aaron's laptop computer. They both took off running. Daniel ran after them. As they were running, the two kids switched the gun and the computer. Daniel caught up with the one with the computer and grabbed him and spun him around. Meanwhile the second one, now having the gun, tried to shoot Daniel . The gun clicked 3 times (no shots). Daniel punched the one with the computer in the face (Daniel's hands are still swollen and sore from the "lemon juice" burns, so it was quite painful..) When he went to punch him again, the kid went to block the punch and dropped the computer.
Meanwhile, "gunboy", frustrated at the gun not shooting, shot again. It discharged this time, hurting no one. The blocks here are very long, probably equal to 4-5 "US city blocks". The two assailants ran to the end of the block and ran around the corner to the right. Daniel picked up the computer and went back home.
The girls, with our alternate route, were passing the end of our street just a minute or two after all this happened. We saw Mr. Duarte come running out in the street, and other gathering and figured something might be amiss, so we turned to see what was going on. Mr. Duarte had Lawanda run up and call the police. They have a policeman in the congregation, so she called him, too.
Meanwhile, Anthony and Jessica came around the corner. The same corner that the crooks had gone around just minutes earlier. (I knew his usual walking route and was wishing we had cell phones so I could have called him J). Our policeman friend came right over within minutes and took off in his car around the corner to see if he could find anything. 20 or so minutes later the police arrived. They listed to Daniel's story and told him that they recommend to anyone in that type of situation to not resist, but do nothing.
He said "I admire your courage, but your life is not worth a computer!" He told us that we had to report the police downtown.
Up to this point, Daniel was still convinced the gun contained blanks. Upon closer observation, there is a hole in the ceiling of the porch..
The bullet hole to the right.
When neighbors heard the gunshots, they came out to see what was going on.
Many of our neighbors are concerned about us. Some felt they knew who the kids were because they have seen them walking by here quite a bit lately. A couple offered to help with the wall today, while we had to make our appointments. From what we are learning, gunshots were commonly heard on this street before the church moved here. Most of the neighbors appreciate the safer streets they feel the church has helped bring in.
After all the "excitement" died down, Anthony gathered all our family in to pray together. We thanked the Lord for sparing Daniel and for his protection over us all. Daniel broke down a little at the end of the prayer ( we were all quite teary-eyed) as it was finally dawning on him the severity of the situation and the Lord's protection of us all. We had to cancel our language lesson for the day (usually 7:30-8:30) as we needed to get to town ASAP to fit everything into the day.
I already had a sonogram scheduled @10:30 and my first doctor's appointment @ 2:00pm. Our plans were to take all the Duarte and Courter girls (we already has special permission to let everyone into the sonogram - they were
incredibly excited!!). Our morning "event" altered plans for the day.
We decided to try to squeeze the police stop in before my appointments. That stop required adding Daniel and Jedediah to our traveling. They were to take a bus back home after everything was finished at the police station.
At the Police station, Daniel gave his "testimony" of what happened and Lawanda interpreted. By the time they were finished it was 10:15.
Waiting at the police station.
The police really wanted him to look at some photos and identify the assailants.
I guess that has to be done before a judge, Lawanda would have to be there to interpret - we didn't have time to do all that. So we left Daniel and Jedidiah at the bus pickup across the street from the station and went to my sonogram. Daniel is supposed to go back to the police station first thing in the morning to do that part. Please pray for him that he will have clarity of mind to be able to pick them out should he see the pictures!
The rest of the day was starkly different from the morning J.
Waiting for the sonogram!
The sonogram went fine, of course.
Squeals of delight rang throughout the doctor's office as it was announced that it is a girl J. My later doctor's visit gave a tentative date for the C-section of the 25th or 26th. The doctor's English is excellent. When I asked about the possibility of a V-back she said "no way! Not after 3 c-sections." I had already resigned to going with whatever the doctor said on the subject.. She did, however, have a different philosophy of things than in the states.. The date she picked is only 1 week instead of 2 weeks ahead of my "due date". As we get closer, she will keep watching on progress. If nothing is "happening" she may even let me go into April (my "track record" with my regular deliveries was to be 2-3 weeks late). She said that she that "God know best when the baby is ready." I appreciate that!
Part of our shopping was to pick up some gingham and polka dotted fabric for smocking projects. Jessica and Rebekah have been teaching Duarte girls how to smock. Other ladies in the church want to learn. So we picked up a meter of several different materials (the ladies are to purchase them from us for 4 reals a piece) to save everyone from having to get downtown to get supplies. We plan on doing that on Tuesday afternoons after the ladies' Bible study.
The girls also managed to find a place that had pink ribbon and another that had pink balloons. When we stopped at their post office (last stop before home) the girls tied pink ribbons/streamers all over the car. I had to laugh they are beside themselves with excitement over this baby, especially now that they know it is a girl!! We drove almost all the way home and pulled off just a couple blocks before our road so that the girls could tie on the pink balloons. Then we drove a back way home and came up the road honking. You would have thought we were coming home with baby in hand!!!
Several of the ladies from church were out front of their houses talking.
They cheered and laughed as we drove by. Almost everyone who "guessed/predicted" was saying it would be a girl.
By the time we got home, the wall was 2/3 built. Before I left I requested that it not be a solid wall as I wanted to be able to see my kids playing in the street. That sounds funny, but all the kids play in the street, it is the only room they have.. I had Lincoln stand in the middle of the road (which is slightly lower than our yard), Lawanda sit in a chair on our porch, and I held a hoe handle level to see where she could still see him.
We measured from that height and gave the men the measurement. The metal bars are from a heap left in the back yard. Antonio worked to weld and straighten them back out. We will have to order a gate tomorrow. They are all made upon order, so it will take a few days before we are totally "secure".
After we got back I asked Daniel "How are you doing?" A very somber young man said, "It's just different. Before, I could work hard; I knew what I had to do; it was fun. Now, I feel I have to keep an eye on everything and everyone. It makes you suspect everyone!" I think he just grew up quite a bit today; I'm just thankful he is alive to do it!!!
Safety - we are confident "they" are watching. Our internet business requires that we have computers. There are other things that would draw them as well. Pray for the children, a "hostage" situation is not out of the question.
Kids' burns - they looked much better this morning, but the boys look a little worse tonight, they were out some in the sun mixing concrete, morar, etc.
Michelle's pregnancy - my biggest problem has been and is swollen feet.
The doctor says its' just the heat. Prescription: no salt or processed foods, keep your feet up as much as possible
Love to all,
Michelle for the family
Still praising God for His care! We have a busy day today... Daniel has the picture viewing this morning and then we are taking Mr. Courter and closing the deal on their car.
Have a blessed day!
~Jenifer for all of us