On this day of most unexpected experiences, I got a somewhat cryptic message from someone unknown to me at a sister church. They had sponsored two young men associated with “sunpedal.” These men were going to be coming through our town tonight and she said if I wanted to meet them she could give them my phone number. I asked for more details. Were they hoping for a meal? Shelter? She said their church had paid for a night at the motel and fed them a meal.
To be truthful, I was tired and not inclined. But as I considered what to do, I got another text where she gave me their contact info. I overcame my hesitation and texted them. By the time I did, I discovered not only had they just arrived but they arrived hungry and stopped at a Chinese restaurant downtown. I received their text just as I was walking by that restaurant. I went in and visited with them, learned about the efforts of their organization to educate people about sustainable energy. They have been on a four- month journey riding their bikes across the United States seeking to encourage people along the way to support sustainable energy. They were delightful. I had consulted with mission committee and told them the church would pay for their night they had booked at Riverside Cabins. I offered them dinner later if they weren’t too tired.
I had only just returned to the church, when the phone rang from an area code outside Montana. On the other end of the line was a rather frantic mother. Her son Gavin had gone hunting in this region. He was caught unawares by the snow and the intense wind. His truck was stuck. His efforts to dig it out had been thwarted by the wind whipping the snow right back on his truck. He was trapped by five- foot snow drifts that needed to be plowed for him to get out. She didn’t know exactly where he was but knew it was in this area.
As luck would have it, we have a church member who has a tow truck and I called him. Before I could describe the dilemma, he told me he had already talked with this young man, He had pinpointed where Gavin was located, unfortunately 18 miles from any paved road and 15 miles from the forest service station. But the church member’s tow truck doesn’t have four- wheel drive. He had given Gavin the number of a towing company in another nearby town. I called Gavin to see what progress he had made. The other company had their truck in the shop for maintenance. I suggested he call the sheriff of the county where he is stranded. He said someone must have called search and rescue because the sheriff had called him. He supposed someone would come. He assured me he had extra clothes and food and water.
I told him I had promised his mother I would call her back, which I proceeded to do. She talked with me for some time in a manner I recognized. When I am under stress and there is some kind soul with a sympathetic ear, I just begin sharing all kinds of things about my life. I learned all about her work cleaning houses; how she considers it a ministry; how she has assisted clients to get into assisted living when they are no longer able to live in their homes. She told me about her son, how he is a skilled hunter but had never hunted in this area. She asked me to pray for him.
Ministry happens in most unexpected and unpredictable ways. I pray to always be open to the unexpected. And I pray for Gavin’s safety and rescue on this bitter cold and windy night.
Hope’s Café Bonus:
God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
3 though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging. Psalm 46:1-3 New International Version