JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – About 20 years in the past, an American missionary in Honduras was snorkeling off the Caribbean island of Roatán about 40 miles off the mainland. He noticed one thing glittering on the ocean flooring and swam down to analyze.
Not lengthy earlier than that, Dwight Cenac had boarded a flight out of Jacksonville, Florida, headed for Los Angeles, the place he had a job because the villain in a Christian-themed movie set on this planet of avenue racing. “Jesus vs. drag racing,” he says, chuckling.
On the airplane, Cenac instantly seen one thing lacking: His class ring. It was just a little too massive, and he had all the time anxious about it slipping off his finger.
He appeared round his seat and up and down the aisle, rising more and more frantic. No signal of it. It was gone.
Cenac felt horrible. His mom had purchased it for him. It was adorned along with his commencement 12 months (2000) and the title of his college, which his dad and mom based — Seacoast Christian Academy in Jacksonville. His title, Dwight Cenac II, was engraved inside in tiny letters. There was no changing it.
Cenac, who was then pursuing a profession in performing, went on to Los Angeles to make the film, however the lack of the ring bothered him for years, he stated, like a pebble caught in his shoe.
Bounce forward to Dec. 21, 2020, simply earlier than Christmas. That is when Cenac, who’s now 38, received a message on Fb from a lady he did not know, Christina Estrada.
She requested if he was Dwight from Seacoast Christian Academy. Had he ever been to Roatán or maybe one of many close by islands, maybe 20 years in the past? Had he misplaced one thing worthwhile to him there?
He was mystified. He’d by no means been to Honduras. What may she be speaking about?
Then he thought: His dad and mom had been on mission journeys, together with Honduras. Maybe his father, who’s additionally named Dwight, had purchased one thing for himself along with his title inscribed on it and misplaced it.
He thought some extra: Estrada had requested if he was Dwight from Seacoast. Does it say Seacoast on it, he requested her. Sure, she replied.
“At that time it simply triggered in me — there’s just one factor that will have my title and Seacoast on it. That’s after I stated, ‘Is that this a commencement ring?’”
It was, and after a pair extra questions — Estrada needed to be completely certain the ring was going to the suitable particular person — it was on its technique to Cenac in Jacksonville. He needed to pay her for it, however she refused. That would not be proper, she instructed him.
Cenac just lately wrote in regards to the expertise on his Fb web page, telling how he by no means anticipated to see the ring once more and the way lucky he was that it had ended up with the Estrada household.
“We had an exquisite cry session,” he wrote.
The ring’s journey
Estrada’s husband, Matthew, was a missionary who had constructed church buildings in Honduras. After he discovered the ring within the water, he put it apart pondering he’d by no means discover the proprietor. That was years earlier than Fb, years earlier than Twitter.
The couple met in April 2018 and have been married shortly after. They stay in Georgia, south of Atlanta.
As Christmas approached, the Estradas considered promoting the ring to get extra presents for his or her youngsters. However then she received out her magnifying jewellery loupe — she had one as a result of she likes vintage jewellery — and received a great take a look at the inscription, which included the title Dwight Cenac II.
She knew she could not promote it, a minimum of not with out first searching for Cenac. “I’m a believer, so I simply felt the Lord urging me to seek out the rightful proprietor, that there could also be a narrative behind it,” she instructed the Florida Instances-Union, a part of the USA TODAY Community, final week.
She turned to Fb, nevertheless it took her some effort and time to seek out Cenac. His account, he stated, had been eradicated by the corporate within the runup to the election because it cracked down on any websites it thought is perhaps pretend.
He had solely simply managed to get a brand new account reactivated when Estrada’s message got here by.
“Making Dwight’s Christmas made my Christmas much more vital than any presents I may have put beneath the tree,” Estrada stated. “It was simply a variety of enjoyable to be a part of that.”
Cenac ponders all it took for the ring to get again to him, all of the unlikely steps the ring took on its journey, the way it ended up within the ocean within the Caribbean, getting discovered to getting residence.
He’ll by no means know for certain why all that occurred the best way it did, and he is OK with that.
“Me, personally, I feel this was a message from God,” he stated.
‘There is a story’
After Cenac received the package deal containing the ring, he let it sit unopened for months. He could not fairly get himself to look inside. Was it too good to be true, he thought?
“There’s a loopy a part of my mind that’s saying, possibly it’s an enormous joke, a prank,” he stated. “However who would know to make that prank?”
He knew that wasn’t probably, so he considered maybe opening it earlier than the congregation on the church his mom, Connie, pastors.
“There’s a narrative right here,” he stated. “There’s a message right here. There could also be any person on the market whose at that time of their life the place they should hear this.”
Nonetheless, he left the envelope sealed, week after week. Till final Monday.
That is when he lastly opened it and noticed the previous class ring, trying like new. Wow, he stated to himself — I by no means thought I’d see you once more.
“I put it on,” Cenac stated. “It is comfortable, nevertheless it matches.”
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