We pause our regular programming to bring this special announcement…

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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15 thoughts on “We pause our regular programming to bring this special announcement…

  1. So cool that you found God at work in what would appear to be a crummy situation. Thanks for all the encouragement through sharing your experience.

  2. YES! This is the way the church should function and YAY GOD!!!!!!!! So encouraging to hear this story! Thanks for sharing!

  3. What an encouraging post, Jill. Just the reminders I needed this Monday morning…God IS alive and well…and at work among his people. Thank you for sharing!

  4. Wow! Isn’t God good! With a little change in perspective, we can clearly see God’s hand of provision and grace in our lives….thanks for reminding us!

  5. Jill, that is just awesome!!! God does amazing things, doesn’t He? Sometimes He allows things that aren’t so great to happen so that we can see Him in action.

  6. Ah! I live in Rolla!!! I wish I had known and you girls would’ve been MORE than welcome to stay at our house!! I’m glad that you were taken care of though!

  7. Jill,
    I had roughly the same thing happen on my way to Chattanooga back in May…God amazed me by sending those whom we were meeting 2 hours early so they could be there when we…ran out of gas 1 MILE from the exit! I had all 6 kids and was ready to get the stroller out and walk the rest of the way on I-24…little did I know, had our truck rolled any further we would have been in the middle of construction, with NO WHERE for the truck to park, there were concrete barriers on both sides! God was speaking, and I was listening, but I had to enlist the assistance of my sisters in Christ so I could get instructions, my frustrations had clouded His voice temporarily…I long for my children to not only ‘hear’ these stories but to live them out for themselves! Thank you so much,

  8. Jill,

    Thanks so much for sharing, and on behalf of the people in Joplin, thanks for caring about our community. I work at College Heights Christian Church and we have been amazed at how God has provided so much and at just the right time over the past 5 weeks. Rejoicing with you at how God has provided for you and Erica. Many blessings on the rest of your trip!

  9. Dear Jill,
    I hope you and Mark had a wonderful anniversary!! I thought of ya’ll and said a prayer!! I ended up spending the weekend with my son,his girlfriend,my grand-daughter,my brother his wife and 2 children at my sister’s lake!! Besides having the most wonderful time–I had such a feeling of peace and happiness–my sisters lake was probably Steve’s favorite place to be–I had lots of smiles!!! I am so proud of you and Erica-what wonderful hearts you two have!! I love it!! I am so amazed at how God just helped in every way–isn’t that just wonderful!! I hope you have a safe trip down here–wave at me when you drive thru Dallas!!!! Blessings, Barb Wall

  10. Wow! God is awesome! Thank you for sharing with us. I truly admire you girls for sacrificing your time for God’s work. Stay strong with the food venture. You won’t regret saying no to your cravings!

  11. Thank you for taking the “break” and sharing God’s amazing provision for you and Erica! What a joy to see that God is working everywhere! and in ways that are beyond our comprension. May God continue to grant you safety and rich blessing in your journey.

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