Yes, it’s Monday and that usually means Marriage Monday.  But yesterday was quite a day and we just had to share it with you.

Erica and I left Mark and the boys in Illinois to head to Ft. Hood, Texas to find her an apartment because her hubby is coming home from Iraq soon.  We made a decision to leave a day early to stop in Joplin, Missouri to assist with tornado clean-up and relief.  We loaded the donations so many wonderful friends help collect in the car and set off Sunday morning.  About three hours from Joplin we ran into car trouble along the interstate.

Sitting on the side of the road waiting for a tow.

We got a blanket out of the car and sat away from the interstate while calling for a tow.

We prayed.  And God started working.

Our auto insurance company gave us three places to call for a tow.  We made calls and they said they’d be there in 30 minutes.

Within 5 minutes a Missouri Road Rescue team pulled up to make sure we had a tow coming and to see if we needed water.

Within minutes of that a man pulled up on a side road.  He was the mechanic at the Tow and Auto Repair place that was coming to get us.  He wanted to find out what the trouble was to see if he might be able to fix it and get us on our way(yes, it was Sunday afternoon). Unfortunately it appears to be a transmission issue so there wasn’t going to be a quick (or inexpensive) fix.

In the meantime, I called the church in Joplin that we were planning to volunteer through. Adam, the young man who had been arranging our housing during our volunteer time, answered the phone.  I explained that we had run into car trouble and I asked if he had another group coming from the St. Louis area that we could maybe catch a ride with to Joplin where we could then rent a car for the remainder of our trip to Texas.  He said there was another group coming from West Virginia but he didn’t know where they were.  He said he’d make a couple of phone calls and get back to me.

Within minutes the tow truck arrived and Adam called me back.  He explained that his former pastor lived in the area where we were stranded and that he was on our way to get us.

Okay folks…so this is how the church is supposed to function.  But I’m still amazed at how God was working!

Within minutes of when we arrive at the Auto Repair place in the little town of Cuba, MO, Pastor Charlie Idleman arrives to greet Erica and I and take us to find a hotel in Rolla, MO, where we need to stay because there aren’t any car rental places open until Monday morning.  Of course, car repair, car rental, and a hotel expense were not a part of this trip’s budget.  But here we are…and Erica and I are discussing why Dave Ramsey says that you need a fully funded emergency fund! (If you’re not familiar with Dave’s Financial Peace course…check it out!  It’s fabulous!)

Pastor Idleman helps us unload the car which is not only our luggage and large cooler (in order to save money we planned to picnic all meals on the trip), but also four boxes of donations for the church in Joplin.

We thank the mechanic and the tow truck driver, and leave the car in their care…what else can you do when you are five hours from home and it’s 4:30 on a Sunday afternoon?

As we arrive at the hotel, my phone rang and it was from a couple in crisis that Mark and I have been mentoring.  I explain my predicament and tell them I’ll give them a call when we get settled in our room.

After getting settled, I make the mentoring call and help them sort through a situation they’ve been dealing with.  At the end of the call the husband said, “Jill, what hotel are you at?”  I told him.  He said, “Thank you for your help today.  In appreciation for your help, we’re taking care of your hotel expense tonight.”

You could have knocked me over with a feather.

Erica cried and we both thanked God for his incredible provision in the midst of a challenging day.

Tomorrow we’re renting a car and heading onto Joplin.

Initially I would describe Sunday as a disappointing day…but how can you say that when you’ve literally had a front row seat at watching God work?  It’s been an amazing day.

Oh and here’s one more thing…Erica and I decided that this trip was a no sugar trip.  She and I have been paying attention to what we’re putting into our body and how we use food for emotional purposes.  We brought Lysa Terkeurst’s Made To Crave book to keep scripture references in front of us for this no sugar trek.

The hotel where we stayed was next door to none other than Steak and Shake.  Both of us found that with the stressful situation we were longing for some cheese fries and a milkshake.  But we stood firm and ate our homemade avocado, tomato, and turkey on a whole wheat wrap along with fruit in our hotel room.

Thank you God for that victory!

Tomorrow I will bring you the reality of the Joplin tornado.  They need financial donations. Would you pray about giving a gift to help the thousands of families who literally have nothing left? I’ll give you more info tomorrow, but in the meantime, here’s the website of the church we’re working through: http://www.gracebaptistjoplin.com/

Sorry for the length of this post…but when God’s at work, you just gotta share!

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