The White Elephant was up early Thursday morning and ready to go. Loaded down with seven passengers, luggage, bedding, pillows, etc., she headed obediently for my hometown of Greenville, SC.
The kids (Joe on down) are all participating in a Children's Ministry here in Greenville this weekend, and the older ones had a teacher training meeting scheduled with Ashlyn (the Director of the Children's Program) for early Thursday afternoon. After getting into town, we stopped for a quick visit with my parents, and then we headed to the camp location. On the way, I had to stop at an "all-you-can-eat buffet" so The White Elephant could fill up her bottomless pit! ;) However, after "eating her fill," The White Elephant did not have the energy to resume the journey. :( She sat there lifeless, unable to start her engine. Our hearts sank.
Fortunately, we have AAA membership, so I called their Roadside Service number and settled in to wait for help to arrive. However, a man in the QT station, just happened to overhear me talking to the children about our dilemma and offered to give the White Elephant a jump start with his Ford 150, which was obviously a "cousin" of the White Elephant!! ;) He was able to jump start the White Elephant . . . but it was not enough to keep her running. He began to take some voltage readings and soon diagnosed the problem as the alternator. :( So, he suggested a trustworthy mechanic about 4 miles down the road, and offered to follow me there to make sure I made it and didn't break down on the road! (Can you believe this??) However, we just couldn't keep the White Elephant running long enough to make it down the road. :(
At this point, the AAA guys arrived, and took over, so the super nice man who was trying to help me went on his way. Fortunately, I remembered to get his contact information first!
AAA did their thing and reached the same conclusion that the man who was helping me had -- the White Elephant needed a new alternator. However, since we couldn't keep her engine running, we would need a tow truck. (a BIG tow truck, I might add!) So, I had to wait another 45 minutes for the tow truck to arrive. During that time, Ashlyn borrowed a larger vehicle and came to where we were and picked up the kids and all of their camp stuff and took them back to camp with her. That was one problem solved! Then, my Dad came to wait with me and follow the White Elephant to the mechanic. (Thank goodness for cell phones!!)
I'm not sure if the White Elephant enjoyed her ride on a tow truck or not -- but I took pictures to capture the moment! :)
I instructed the tow truck driver to take the White Elephant to the mechanic that the helpful man had recommended. I didn't know what else to do or where else to go, and since he seemed so knowledgeable and helpful, I trusted his recommendation. When we got to the garage, it began to dawn on me how much God had gone before me to prepare the way. My Dad was with me, and we were both so impressed by this mechanic and his demeanor! He had a Bible and Christian books nestled among the customary magazines for his customers to read while they waited. He also had this motto displayed -- "Where integrity and pride in workmanship are still available." Wow! He went out of his way to help me, giving the White Elephant priority over other vehicles waiting in his bay. He also explained carefully what needed to be done, what my options were, and when he recommended that the battery needed replaced in addition to the alternator, he offered to do it "at cost" to help me out. He even gave me his "church member discount!" Can you believe what royal treatment I received as a "daughter of the King?" It was truly a blessing!!
I can tell you that the whole ordeal was stressful and not any fun, but I felt the peace that only God can give when He is working all of the circumstances out for good and giving us the grace to trust Him! Life is not easy, with its abundance of trials and tribulations. We all live in a fallen world where people get sick and vehicles break down, but when we walk with God, He goes before us to prepare the way! We can see His love and watch care even in the midst of trials! That's why we are instructed to give Him thanks in all things!
Look at all that I have to be thankful for:
- God kept the van running all the way from Georgia! The alternator/battery could have run out of juice and left me stranded along the interstate with a van full of kids and no one to call for help! Instead, He kept it running until we got to our destination, where I have contacts and help was just a phone call away.
- God allowed us to break down at an ideal location. We couldn't have been stranded at a safer spot than in a nice, new QT station in a safe part of town! There was a bathroom and plenty of cold drinks a few feet away!
- God prepared a "Good Samaritan" and ordered his steps so he would be there to help me! (Would you believe that nice man even called me later in the evening to make sure I had gotten the van to the garage and was getting it taken care of?!?)
- God provided a skillful, considerate, generous Christian mechanic to take care of the White Elephant with the utmost care, and even put it in his heart to give me an incredible deal!! (My Dad claims I "stole" that battery from him!!) WOW!
Do you have a story of a time when God supernaturally cared for you, protected you and/or provided for you? I'd love to hear it!
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