Monday, July 21, 2008

Stranded in Peoria - Part 1

Dear Family and Friends,

I will first share with you our prayer request for tomorrow and then share the amazing way that God has already worked in this situation. Our request is for God’s provision tomorrow morning as our van broke down on the highway while we were driving through Peoria, IL. We are uncertain how badly our van is damaged and how much it will cost to fix it. Our van is old with well over 100 thousand miles on it so we pray that the cost to fix it does not outweigh it’s value. We are also asking you to pray for the rest of our trip home to be uneventful. Thank you for your prayers. I’ve listed more detailed prayer requests and praises at the end of the email. Below, is the story of how our loving God took care of us tonight.
God’s Amazing Protection and Provision

We drove to Indianapolis to visit some friends on our way back to Iowa. At a restaurant, we hit a very deep pot hole that was filled with water making it’s depth very deceiving. Our van landed hard, but our engine seemed to be fine at that time. We drove the next two hours to our friends’ house. We left their house this afternoon and then a few miles before getting to Peoria, we heard a whistling sound in the engine. We decided to pull off onto an exit when we reached Peoria, and just as we were pulling off, the check engine light went on as did an alarm, the temperature gauge registered “H”, and smoke started billowing out of the front of the car. It was 7: 30 pm on a Sunday night and we knew that we would find no businesses open at this time to fix it. We let the engine cool off a little and headed toward a gas station. On the way there, I prayed with my family, “God, would you put people in our path who would help us.” We made it to the gas station and the attendant gave us directions to the nearest hotel. After putting some coolant in the van, we attempted to get to the hotel. We did not get very far before the bells and whistles and smoke started in again. So, we pulled onto a side road to let the engine cool down again. Dan then happened to notice that there was a Garage across the street and we all walked to the Garage together to see if there was a mechanic available to help us. The kids were chattering away about the grasshoppers and bugs that were in the grass, and just as Dan was knocking on the window of the building to see if he could get someone’s attention, a man appeared from next door. We told him our story, and he said that he is friends with the mechanic and that he would be available in the morning. We thanked him and started walking toward a small motel close by with hopes that we could stay there. Just as we learned that there was no vacancy, the man that we talked with earlier came riding up on a four wheeler and asked if we would like him to look at the van. We said that we would and followed him there. He said that it most likely is our water pump and suggested that we drive the van across the road to the Garage which we did. He then offered to drive us to a hotel. While we were driving to the hotel, I said to the man, “We prayed that God would provide someone to help us. You are an answer to our prayers.” He said that the reason he came out to investigate was because he had heard the voices of our kids. He said that kids have been vandalizing the Garage, so he was checking to see whether this was what was happening.

Throughout the night, we talked with the kids about how we are on an adventure and that we do not know what will happen - but God does. Dan is an incredible leader as he stayed calm and smiled reassuringly at us - his every movement and response to us communicated peace. I too, felt at peace and thought about how living surrendered to God in these circumstances is one of the amazing benefits of knowing Christ personally. Later, while we were in our hotel room, I talked with the kids about how when we follow a calling, we can expect life to get harder because there is a spiritual battle that is involved. I asked them if they have noticed this. They listed several things that have happened lately – our broken down van tonight; our back panel van window blew up one night in our garage; it was fixed, but then came loose and started flapping back and forth while I was driving down the highway at 70 miles an hour with the kids in the back; our neighbors let us know that we have Japanese beetles feasting on our trees while we have been gone; my rib incident – in addition to Dad’s and my sister’s health issues, the flood, etc. It has been interesting too how several of these events were paired with the news that another church or individual was financially supporting us – it is why we compare this process to a roller coaster. I asked the kids what they thought God was teaching us through this and Will said without hesitation, “He is teaching us how to trust Him more so that we will trust Him when we move to Nicaragua.” We then started to pray and they both thanked God for the man that helped us and for keeping us safe. We reviewed all of the ways that God protected and provided for us tonight. Below are the ways that we are praising Him and some things that we are asking Him to provide. Thank you for reading this story of God’s glory. It is such a comfort to know you are riding the roller coaster with us by praying for us. Thank you so much.

1) For the timing of when the van broke down. We could have broke down in the midst of a stretch with no cities which is more common than not in IL and IA. We also could have broke down when it was dark.
2) For how our van overheated for the second time across from a garage; for the man (Joel) who noticed us and went out of his way to help us; for a nice hotel to stay in.
3) We also had not yet eaten supper and the hotel is located within walking distance to a few restaurants. We walked safely to and from the restaurants tonight in spite of many police and emergency vehicles driving back and forth, indicating to us that this may be an area of town that may not be completely safe.

1) For an affordable repair and for wisdom to make decisions in regard to the repair.
2) For a safe trip the rest of the way home.
3) For the peace that we experienced tonight to continue in our hearts and minds.