by Dave Short
(Editor’s note: This is the 6th in a 9-part series on Finding Our Gospel Voice in a Changing Culture.)
My family and I were on assignment in Southeast Asia, assisting and training local churches on how to run the Alpha course in the campus and youth context. In the initial weeks, we were spending quite a bit of time searching for a home church. One eventful Sunday God would unfold an amazing story that would forever change my daughter, Blessing, and I.
On this particular Sunday, Jenna, my older daughter, wasn’t feeling well, so my wife, Valerie, decided to stay home with her. Blessing and I set out to visit a church on our own. But first, we had to secure a taxi cab driver that not only understood us, but also knew how to get to that specific church. The driver we acquired assured us that he understood where the church was and that he could easily deliver us to our destination.
However, his internal GPS was not very accurate, and he began to drive us far beyond the directions on our map. When I questioned him about it, he pulled off the highway and pointed to a set of office buildings. He said to Blessing and I, “Here it is. Here it is.” I tried to explain that this wasn’t anywhere near our intended destination, but he became very upset with me and told me to get out. He left Blessing and I in the middle of a vacant office complex with no means of getting back to our home.
As Blessing and I were trying to formulate our next steps, I noticed a lone car sitting in front of one of the buildings with what seemed to be a person sitting inside. I told Blessing, “Let’s go up to that car and see if they can help us.” When I approached the car, I could see that it was a woman with a couple small children. I cautiously walked up to the car, and she rolled down her window ever so slightly.
Understandably, she was a bit reluctant to talk with me, a complete stranger. About the time I began to explain to her our dilemma, a man came rushing out to the car. The man was her husband and pointedly asked me what I doing. After being able to explain our situation, the husband and wife seemed relieved and genuinely eager to help us find the church. Blessing and I knew we were not alone. We squeezed into their car, and we were off. While looking for the church, we talked about many things and found out they had heard of Alpha.
The very next weekend I was out of the country, and Valerie had made arrangements for her and the girls to visit another church. The staff at the church was very kind and asked some church members to pick them up. However, that Sunday morning, Blessing started throwing up within an hour of being picked up. Valerie contacted the couple to explain the situation. The wife, whom we had never met, asked if Valerie had a daughter named Blessing. Valerie was quite surprised at her question and asked her how she knew. The woman replied she had a Muslim friend who had recently met an American with a daughter named Blessing. She and her husband wondered if we might be the ones.
When Valerie told me this story, I racked my brain trying to remember when just my daughter and I had met and talked with a Muslim woman. Neither one of us could recall an instance.
It was a completely unsolved mystery until a few weeks later when Valerie and I were attending an Alpha gathering at a local hotel in Kuala Lumpur. As we stepped out of the elevator the first couple we introduced ourselves to just so happened to be the couple who had attempted to pick Valerie up and had asked if our daughter’s name was Blessing.
My frustration of not knowing whom the Muslim woman was that Blessing and I had met was soon resolved when the couple explained that her friend recalled meeting an American who had been abandoned by a taxi driver. The wife related that she had been meeting privately with this Muslim woman, sharing the scriptures with her, and had discussed Alpha with her just before our “chance” encounter. That was the reason why our rescuers had heard of Alpha. It was more than a coincidence. It played a significant role in this Muslim woman eventually coming to faith.
My entire family was in awe of how the Holy Spirit uses anything and everything to accomplish His will.
We are never alone, and we will never look at being “lost” the same way again.
You are never alone. Remember that. The Holy Spirit just might be doing something very significant and very special.