Under cover of darkness the evil one comes. Doing the work of his evil father, he is: The Kidnapper.
Manual and Rosita Rodriguez had saved enough money to come to the resort on a family vacation. They were so excited to be there at last.
Manny, that’s what Rosita called her husband, worked with the street department in Anaconda, California. He had come with his family from Mexico when he was just five years old. Manny’s father worked hard to provide for his family and when he became an American citizen he was committed to raise his children to be good citizens, and they were.
The Rodriguez family had been raised in the Catholic tradition but through the kindness, love and compassion of their neighbor, they came to know Jesus personally and began attending the local Pentecostal church she attended, though neither of them took religion or God too seriously. They thought that going to church on Sunday was good enough, the rest of the week they pretty much did what they wanted to.
When Manny was twenty five years old he met Rosita. He went to a Fiesta with a friend and there she was. She was small with a slight build, her hair fell in waves over her shoulders and her dark eyes were rimmed with long lashes. She captured Manny’s heart. It was love at first sight for Manny. It took some doing to win Rosita’s heart, but eventually he did. They had been married now for ten years and had three children.
The oldest child, a girl they named Manuela, after her father, was nine. Their second child was a boy named Jorge, he was seven. The baby, Carmelita, was just three months old.
Life had its ups and downs for the Rodriguez family as it does for all of us.
Manny had worked as a grounds keeper for a wealthy family. It was a good job and he was able to provide nicely for his family. But the security that they had hoped for was not to be.
A property developer wanted the property to build a multi story apartment complex with shops on the lower level, as the area was expanding and he could see dollar signs in the future. The family was more than ready to let go of it because they were past retirement age and ready to move into something smaller.
After a six month struggle without work, Manny got a job with the Anaconda street maintenance department. Life went well in the ensuing years. They were able to save a little and had plans to buy a house the following year.
God had a plan for this family, it was a good plan, but the events that took place certainly didn’t make it look that way. Sometimes the plans He has for us look like defeat, but from His view He sees great victory. That is how He saw His son’s death and resurrection.
Arvad Cheminsky was a bell boy at the resort, though he was no longer a boy. He was born and raised in Moldova to a poor family, but he had grand dreams, dreams of lots of money He hated being poor and vowed the day would come when he would never be poor again. When he was sixteen he left home and went to Russia.
Times were tough and he found whatever work he could, sweeping floors, loading trucks and loading cargo on the docks. It was on the docks that he met Boraas Plenovich. Like himself Boraas was young and ambitious. They became friends. In time Boraas told Arvad that there was a lot of money to be made if he was interested. Boraas said he had connections.
Arvad was fond of a certain bar that was operated by a young couple. The wife was a sturdy, well built girl and the husband was a nice-looking man with a big mustache and a deep voice. They became friends. Boraas came with Arvad a few times and saw a money making scheme that would pay big. He suggested to Arvad that he ask the husband if his wife could accompany him to Thailand where they would meet up with a man who could provide an opening for a bar in the city of Pattaya, Thailand. He assured him that it was quite lucrative and would be a great investment. The husband gave his permission.
He never saw his wife again. He searched for years trying to find her or Arvad to no avail. After many years and lots of money and heartache, he learned that Arvad had sold her to human traffickers in Thailand.
Arvad and Boraas worked with the Russian mafia. Though they never met anyone higher than their local contact, they didn’t care, they didn’t want to know, as long as they got paid, and they got paid well for a good specimen. They made a lot of money and all they had to do was deliver the goods to their contact. It was a nice clean operation. They had what they wanted. There was no shortage of drink and women as long as the money flowed.
When the Rodriguez family checked in at the front desk, Arvad was there. He took their bags up to their rooms paying special attention to their conversation and observing the children carefully.
The two older children were slight in build like their mother. The contact wanted specimens that would last awhile, so Arvad always looked for ones that were more sturdy. In this case the baby was promising, besides the contact said that her contact wanted something different and this baby might just be the thing that would bring a higher price. He dallied, moving a chair here and some flowers over there, as the family excitedly examined their quarters.
The older children were excited to get into their swim suits and go to the pool. The woman wanted to get her baby to bed as she was fussy and tired. Arvad watched where she took the child and after receiving his tip he left. All he had to do now was watch for an opportunity.
His next assignment was the pool area. Fortunately for him, the Rodriguez family was at the pool. Manuela and Jorge were playing and splashing in the pool while Rosita held Carmelita and Manny took pictures.
Bringing a pitcher of lemonade over to their table he heard Manny suggest to Rosita that they put the children to bed after supper and when they were asleep they could go for a stroll in the gardens. It sounded so romantic and it had been a long time since they had time alone together, and in such a beautiful setting. Though she had some hesitation about leaving the children alone, Rosita consented.
They walked in the flower lined garden, stopped to admire a beautiful orchid growing on a tree, and sat down on a bench. The night air was beginning to cool off from the heat of the day. The sky turned a beautiful orange, then pink leading into shades of night gray. They reluctantly returned to their rooms as the sun was beginning to set.
Rosita went into the room where Manuela and Jorge were sleeping. She paused a moment to reflect on what a wonderful day it had been. Going into their room to the crib where she had laid Carmelita, she was horrified to find that she was not there. She screamed. Manny came running into the room to see what had happened. Their baby was gone.
Arvad saw that the Rodriguez’s had gone out of the room. What wonderful timing! He alerted his contact to be ready as he would hand off the baby to her. She posted a watch on the Rodriguez’s to make sure they were not surprised before they snatched the child.
Carefully letting himself into the room with the master key that he had stolen, he went to the room where the baby was. Picking her up he placed a rag soaked in a drug solution over her nose and mouth to keep her sedated so she wouldn’t cry.
Opening the door to the adjoining room where his contact waited, he gave her the baby, she would take it to the next contact. Arvad would get paid handsomely for this one, he was sure of that. She was plump with rosy cheeks, someone would pay big for her.
Every step along the way was carefully planned. There were no clues left behind, no trace of anything for the police to go by. The kidnapping made the papers and the news media was all over the resort. Arvad hung around long enough to not arouse suspicion when he left. He went back to Russia with a lot of money in his pocket.
Devastation is the best word to describe the Rodriguez family. Manny blamed himself, Rosita blamed Manny and herself. The children were inconsolable. The request for prayer went throughout the world. The only hope was a miracle. Manny and Rosita turned to God with all of their hearts, begging for the return of their daughter.
Pattaya, Thailand, a man walked into a cleaning establishment. He asked about their laundry and cleaning facility and mentioned that he had some needs and wondered if they knew where these needs could be met. Eyeing him carefully, the owner asked if he had any preference for his needs to be met and when he said that he didn’t the owner lead him into a back room.
“I have something very special for you.” He said. “I am sure your needs will be taken care of.” They agreed on a price; it was paid and the shopkeeper opened the door to a dimly lit room. Entering the room the man saw a baby. His stomach turned. He thanked the shopkeeper and closed the door.
When he was brought into the back room, he noticed a door with an exit sign. Scooping up the baby in his arms, he carefully opened the door a crack to make sure no one was outside. The coast was clear, running as fast as he could out the door and down the street, he came to the place where his friend was waiting for him.
The newspapers and TV carried a picture of three month old Carmelita Rodriguez as she was returned to her family with the caption: “God does a Miracle, baby returned to her parents!”
When I was in Chicago a few years ago, I was at the Union train station waiting for my train to come. I was totally unaware that bus stations and train stations are used by pimps and prostitutes to get easy money. They prey upon unsuspecting, gullible people. No doubt they saw me as their “pigeon”. I have learned since then that these places are favorites for pimps to pick up girls fresh from the country who appear lost or lonely.
I had purchased some lunch and was sitting in a designated eating area. A girl, solidly built, loud and coarse, sat down at a table next to me. She began to speak into her phone to her father. She was telling him that she wanted to come home but that a guy was watching her and she was scared. She asked him to wire her some money she could catch a bus home. I felt so sorry for her. I walked past her and put $20.00 into her hand. She immediately got up and took off, very quickly followed by a black man.
I had been had!
I wrote this story today to make people aware of what is going on in the seamy world of human trafficking. I don’t know a lot about it, but I do know some. The story about the baby and the bar owner are true stories that I embellished with my imagination.
Parents and caregivers to pray for protection for the children in your care. Educate yourself in the ways of those who deal in human souls for profit.
My sister left her two little girls by a jewelry counter in Walmart several years ago. She told them to stay there, that she would be right back. A man approached them, getting close he punched the older one in the stomach so she couldn’t cry out. He began to take them toward the door as my sister came around the corner and saw him. She yelled so loudly he got scared, dropped the girls and ran from the building. Many years earlier I had a vision in which I saw that attempt and prayed for them. God was merciful. We cannot be too careful. There are predators who think nothing of taking your precious treasures. Be alert and aware.
It is written:
“Whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.” Matthew 18:6
“It is not the will of your Father which is in Heaven that one of these little ones should perish.