So, it’s 2:22am and I should be sleeping, but (obviously) I am not because I am too busy laying awake thinking about the whole TPEH formula and what an exciting position I am in right now because I have reached H. You see, I was praying about the remaining funds that need to come in before June 7th for the Kenya trip and I suddenly realized that 1 year ago this holiday weekend I was laying awake praying for the exact same amount, and I just started rejoicing about what God did and couldn’t get it out of my mind! For those of you who follow my blog or Facebook or Twitter posts regularly this may be a repeat, but I just couldn’t help sharing it again. The following is a compilation of several blogs written a year ago; it’s a bit long, but worth the read:
June 4, 2011 – Stranded in God’s Faithfulness
I am writing this from North Platte, NE, where my King has been doing amazing things. I left Billings Friday morning (May 27th) headed for the Our Generation Student Leadership camp in Dayton, TN and then to spend the month of June visiting churches in the area. The car ran great and I made it to Ogallala, NE that evening. It was a pretty wet night and so when I got up the next morning and found that my car was running a little rough it did not surprise me. It often does that in humid weather. I packed up my gear, tent and all, and headed down the road. I had gone only about an hour when it happened…
I was passing a semi, there was traffic behind me and in front me and suddenly my engine cut out, the check-engine light came on and that was it. By God’s grace I had enough speed to finish the pass and get off onto the shoulder of the road. And that was the end of my little car. Or so it seemed.
It appears that the timing belt went bad and took the water pump with it. The type of engine that is in my car has a tendency to be rather “done in” when this happens. But God has done some wonderful things. First, he got me off of the side of the road! My phone was not working too well, but I was able to get a hold of my parents who were able to look up a tow and mechanic. They came and got me. From there I called a friend who lives about 90 miles from North Platte, not knowing that my parents were calling local churches to try to find a place for me to stay. Due to the lack of cell service, things began to get a little confusing. A friend of my friend who has a cabin in the area and who was here for the weekend, came and picked me up at the Flying J where the mechanic had dropped me off. They took me home and I found myself in a very interesting situation. How is it that you break down on the side of the road and end up spending the day at the lake?! God is so good! The family that I stayed with in the afternoon was having a birthday party for their daughter and had many friends over, they were all very kind and welcoming and were a huge blessing!
Sometime in the afternoon, I was able to get in touch with one of the pastors that my Dad had been in touch with. He was on his way home from a trip and would be passing by the area, so his family came and picked me up and took me home with them. Pastor Butch Crawford and his wife Dawn have a wonderful family! It has been such a blessing to stay with them and their children. It was a blessing to be able to go with them to church at Heritage Baptist Church on Sunday as well as Wednesday evening.
One of the men in the church has been such a blessing. Using much of his holiday to help find a new engine or possible trade and purchase of a different vehicle. Monday afternoon I got a call from my parents that surprised me greatly. A friend had come by the house with a gift to help out with the situation. The Lord had laid it on this lady’s heart to give $2000 toward getting “unstranded” as my mom put it.
We began looking for another vehicle at that point because it seemed a better, potentially quicker option. But we just didn’t seem to find anything. We test drove a Nissan that a man had just done some work on and was looking to sell, but I was not comfortable with the nearly 242,000 miles that it had already turned. Wednesday morning my Dad called a local salvage yard and found out that they had an engine that would work for only $525! It turned out that the engine only had 88,000 miles on it and was only a year newer than mine. The mechanic with the Nissan was also available to start installing it yesterday afternoon!
God is so good! We have seen Him working step by step all week long. The Crawfords have been a huge blessing. When I think about all the things that could have happened on Saturday and all of the things that God did instead I just keep thinking, What a blessing to be “stranded” in God’s Faithfulness!
Lord willing, the car will be ready sometime Friday and I will be heading on to Tennessee. I am excited to see what He does on the remainder of the this trip.
“Faithful is He that calleth you, who also will do it!” I Thessalonians 5:24
PS BEFORE I GOT THIS POSTED WE FOUND OUT THE ENGINE WAS THE WRONG SIZE!!!!(a 2.4 instead of 2.0), but the Lord led the mechanic (whether he knows it was the Lord or not) to another engine that is a 2001, not sure how many miles yet. It was still in the car so they had to pull it yesterday (Thursday), so we are a little behind the schedule that we thought we were on. But the Lord is still faithful. He is, after all, the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End – He knows where I am, where I need to be AND WHEN!
(Have you figured out the TPEH formula yet?)
June 8, 2011 – Vehicle Update
THE SECOND ENGINE DIDN’T FIT EITHER!!!! We have reached a deciding point. Sunday night and Monday morning, I prayed that the Lord would “guide us with His eye” (Psalm 32:8) as we looked at the car [a used car at a dealership] Monday morning and made the decision whether or not to buy or rebuild.
It is in moments like those that followed that we are reminded that God truly has a sense of humor! All we had to do was see the car to know what decision to make. It was rather “worn”.
So, the mechanic has set to work rebuilding the original engine and we have set about waiting. But it is good to know that we at last have a definite direction.
Another huge blessing was that when we returned the second motor they refunded us completely and did not even charge the 25% restocking fee!
Thank you all for praying. God is working!
BUT THAT WASN”T THE END!!!!! (TPEH part 2 was just beginning)
August 10, 2011 – Stuck in all the right places.
Wow, I don’t even know where to begin! The last update/blog that I sent out was in early June, written from North Platte, NE as I awaited the repair of my vehicle. So much has happened since then…
The vehicle was ready by early afternoon, June 11th, two weeks to the day from the time it broke down. The bill was $1300. When I left Montana, I had enough in my “pocket” to pay for Camp, buy gas, stay a couple of nights in campgrounds along the way and maybe to eat. So, God broke my car, fixed it AND provided the money for groceries!
The mechanic said that the car was idling rough, but that he thought it was just a plugged fuel injector. He had put cleaner in the tank and expected that to take care of the issue. If it didn’t, he said we could change out the injector when I came back through at the end of the month. (The windshield was somehow broken while in his shop, so we had made arrangements for him to replace it when I came back through.) Eager to get underway, I headed out around four o’clock that afternoon and made it to St. Joseph, MO. I dropped in at a small church on the edge of Kansas City the next morning and then headed to St. Louis for the evening service at Grace Baptist Church.
GBC, St. Louis is almost like a second home. It was such a blessing to get caught up with “family” there. I had no idea how far that blessing would extend later! Before I left town the next morning, we set up a meeting to present the ministry to the Fatherless on June 29th. This locked in my new timeframe. Although by this point I had already missed the Student Leadership Camp, I still had the remainder of the month of June to visit as many churches as possible. My original plan had been to squeeze as much into those four weeks as possible. I was now down to two weeks.
The car continued to idle rough as I made my way from St. Louis to Cleveland, TN. In fact, I prayed my way through every stoplight, “Please, don’t let it die. Please, don’t let it die.” The closer I came to Cleveland and the more I got into the mountains, the more I was convinced that the problem was a lot bigger than a clogged fuel injector.
My first day in Cleveland was spent regrouping and trying to put together a plan for the rest of the time there. The following day, Wednesday, I set out trying to meet as many pastors as possible. I stopped in at several churches and had very good conversations with a couple of pastors. It was an encouraging day. I also had my first taste of real traffic. (This Montana girl learned a lot of new driving skills in June!)
That weekend, I charted a map that allowed me to visit four churches in Alabama and Georgia, including three of the Sangs’ supporting churches, as well as to visit with friends in the Atlanta area that I have not seen for several years…
On Wednesday of the following week, I headed down to visit as many churches in the Chattanooga area as possible, including another one of the Sangs’ supporting churches. The Lord had a great blessing and surprise in store there. No one was at the first church that I stopped at, so I left a packet at the door and went on to the next place. I think I probably blushed as I pulled into the parking lot of Hillside Baptist Church and saw that they were starting their missions conference that night. I felt like I was about to “crash” the party and for a brief moment thought of pulling right back out of the parking lot. But I was reminded that the Lord knew I was going to be there then; I had trusted Him to lead me and this was where He had brought me. I needed to be about His business. So, sheepishly, I went inside to introduce myself as a missionary, just not the one they were expecting!
To my surprise, the pastor not only invited me to come back and attend the service that evening, he also invited me to have lunch with the ladies who had been decorating for the conference. We had a lovely time of fellowship. I went back out from there, stopped by the rest of the churches on my list and returned for the evening service. What a blessing! After the service the pastor’s wife invited me to come back Thursday evening. The next evening the pastor not only invited me back Friday evening, but also asked me to set up my display. Saturday evening I joined them for a fellowship time and then for the services on Sunday morning. Sunday evening, the pastor asked me to share my testimony and I was able to briefly share about the need to reach the Fatherless with the gospel of Christ.
After the service, they asked the missionaries to go to the back of the auditorium so that people could slip love offerings into their pockets. To my surprise, they included me. When I got home that evening, I could not believe the gift that they had given. I counted it four times before realizing that I had come up with the same amount each time. Between the love offering that they had slipped into my purse that night and gifts that two individuals had given throughout the week, the love offering came to $770! Praise the Lord! I had no idea how soon this would be needed…
I was also finding more and more out about my “rough idling” car. By this point, I was convinced that the problem was not the fuel injector, but the mechanic continued to assure me by phone that changing the injector would fix it. I had Brother Brown drive the car and he smilingly told me, “I would think twice before buying that car!” He was certain that one of the cylinders was dead. Still, the mechanic in North Platte would not waiver on his diagnosis. He would just plan on having the parts there to put in the new fuel injector when I came back through.
I am so grateful for the Browns. Their love for the Lord and their burden for missions and missionaries is a huge encouragement. I found it hard to say my goodbyes in Tennessee. As I headed back to St. Louis, I discovered that even when going slightly downhill in the mountains I was having trouble maintaining 50 mph. By the Lord’s grace, I made it all the way.
Wednesday evening I presented the needs of the Fatherless at GBC. After the service, two of the young men in the church looked at my car. They confirmed that it was not the fuel injector. I had, not one, but two cylinders that were not working. Just think, by this point, I had driven 2,000 miles on half an engine! God is so good. I am convinced that it was only by His grace that I made it that far.
Paul Spilger, the pastor’s son, works in an auto repair shop. We took the car in the next day and began the wait for the diagnosis…
By Fourth of July weekend, we had learned that the original repair had not been what we had been led to believe. The engine head had never been machined as we were told it had been, instead it had been sanded. Yes, you read that right. Sanded. The shop in St. Louis sent it out to be machined properly and estimated that the bill would be another $1200. My heart sank. That first day, and at moments throughout the next three weeks, I saw very clearly how much easier it is to have a good attitude when you are simply dealing with mechanical failure, than when you are dealing with “mechanic”-al failure. But God is faithful and He is able to give peace, and the ability to forgive, in the midst of storms. After several conversations with the mechanic in North Platte, it became evident that he had no intention of claiming any responsibility for the botched repair. At this point, we had to just trust that it was between him and God.
As for the engine, well, there was just no hope for it. The machine shop in St. Louis had to take so much off of the engine head to smooth it out that when they brought it back it would no longer fit. By this point, I was beginning to wonder if I would have to just leave the car there and fly home, but God had a plan. As all of this was going on and I was wondering how I was going to pay the bill that promised to be anywhere from $1200-2400, I received a phone call from North Platte, NE. It was then that Mrs. Crawford told me with great excitement that a family in their church had a vehicle that they wanted to give to me! I was shocked. I can put it no other way. I was simply shocked.
This was a huge blessing, but I still faced the problem of the bill at the repair shop. Even if I had a vehicle, I needed to have the money to make the drive home. I can just see God smiling and saying, “Don’t worry, I’ve got it all figured out.” Because He truly did! One of the men who was working on the car had an engine head at home that would fit. He brought it in and said he only expected to be paid for it if the mechanic in North Platte took some responsibility and helped with the bill. Otherwise, it was a gift. The man who owned the shop also gave us a 10% discount on all of the labor, which I have been told he never does. To make a long story short, when it was all said and done, the bill came out to $881. The love offerings at Hillside Baptist and Grace Baptist in St. Louis, nearly covered the entire bill! Hudson Taylor once said, “God’s work, done in God’s way, will never lack God’s supply, and he would sooner do it before hand as after!” How true that is!
And so it is, that I was able to pay the bill and come home with a new-to-me 2001 Suzuki Swift with only 25,000 miles on it! The Breeze, broken windshield and all, is still in St. Louis. My parents are scheduled to be in Grace Baptist’s missions conference in September. Our current plan is to drive the Breeze home from the conference, stop in North Platte to pick up the replacement windshield and bring it back to Montana to sell it, but we will see what the Lord does. It may be that He has another plan for it…God is so good! Thank you to all who were praying!
Tribulation works Patience. Patience works Experience. Experience works Hope! So one year later, I am full of HOPE! What a mighty God we serve!
To find out more about the Kenya 2012 trip please visit http://www.forbidthemnot.com and click on the Kenya Countdown and Kenya Kits pages, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call at 406-208-7332