My son called yesterday to wish me a Happy Mother's day, and he told us this amazing story of how God supplied a need in his life.
A few months ago Nathan and his family had to return to the states for a short furlough in order to renew visas, and it was a sudden, unplanned return so I am sure a lot of resources were spent buying airline tickets, unexpected travel expenses, etc. Upon their return in New York, they were able to drive the minivan they had left at his in-laws before they left for Mozambique two years ago. If any of you know anything about missionaries, they put LOTS of miles on their vehicles during deputation, so even though it was a fairly decent van, it had gotten to the point where the transmission was shot, and it would not go into fourth gear--meaning it couldn't go faster than 50 mph, and made a funny whining noise.
It wasn't exactly the kind of vehicle you would want to take on long distance trips, but since they would only be in the states for a few months, they really didn't want to make a huge investment in a newer vehicle. They had been driving it for the past couple months, even making a trip to Chicago--but at any point it could go out on them. Emily's dad is a mechanic, so they were going to try and replace the transmission, and even with him doing the labor it would cost about $1500 to replace. Nathan was planning a two month road trip with the entire family, visiting their supporting churches from Ohio to Miami, Florida, and as far west as Missouri, then back up to New York again. They are leaving this weekend--so something had to be done.
Earlier in the week Nathan was driving down the road close to where they are living, when a man in a van was behind him, honking and trying to get Nathan's attention. Nathan couldn't figure out what he wanted--at first he thought maybe he was mad at him, some sort of road rage, or that he thought Nathan had hit him--so Nathan just kept on driving knowing that he hadn't done anything wrong. He was a little concerned, especially in this day of drive by shootings, etc. In Mozambique to pull over on the side of the road would probably cost your life, and even in America you would think twice but the man was relentless, and wouldn't let up. Finally Nathan pulled into a gas station, parking by the front door--he figured at least he would have a lot of people around him for help. The man jumped out of his van and approached Nathan.
As it turned out, the man noticed Nathan was driving the exact same model van he had. He was getting ready to turn it in to the junk yard because the engine was bad, but wanted to know if Nathan needed any parts or transmission before he did so. What do you know, the transmission of this man's van was still in working condition, so Nathan ended up buying it for $175, and the man threw in a travel rack for free, which will be a great place for luggage.
The man pulled out the transmission for Nathan, and with the help of his father-in-law they installed it into his van-- and it WORKS!! Nathan is so pleased that his van can now go into fourth gear, drive on the highway at 65 mph, and no noise!
When Nathan told me the story, I was amazed. How would this man just happen to see Nathan at that time and place, have the same exact make and model, and even think to ask Nathan if he needed a transmission or other parts? Of course, at first it probably seemed a little scary, but God does work in mysterious ways. He is so amazing, He knows just what we need!