Tuesday, September 19, 2006

LOST BUT FOUND

Wanted to share with you a testimony of God’s hand at work in a way I cannot explain through human eyes.  I was in Cotonou the other day and someone had returned to me an envelope of $100 that I had loaned them.  My friend gave it to me while I was in the car driving, so I stuffed it into my left pocket.  Perhaps not good enough.  When we arrived at the place he wanted to go, I got out of my truck, went around to his side, said a few parting words, and left.  I was racing back to pick up Kelly to catch our 5p appointment with Maurice, our attorney.  I was mentally thinking through all that I needed to ask him and then pondered how much I would have to pay him for his consultation.  At a long stop light, I checked my wallet and had some money, but probably not enough.  So I reached into that left pocket to get the wadded envelope full of money….and….NO ENVELOPE!  Of course I panicked, looking all over the car as best I could before the light would turn green.  I never found anything, but proceeded to pick up Kelly and headed to the law office.  Fortunately, Kelly brought additional money and we were able to cover the cost of the appointment without issue.  On the way home, I was lamenting the loss of $100 and racking my brain as to what could have happened to it.  Since my friend had given me the envelope, I had not even got out of my car….oooppps….then I remembered the ONE time I had.  So now I had to think, “in a huge city of millions of people, if I had dropped a WHITE envelope on to RED BROWN dirt, what are the chances that it’d still be on the ground almost 2 hours later?”  But that voice of faith kept urging me to go back to the scene of the crime…uh….scene of the $100 blunder.  So I dropped Kelly off where we were staying, drove clear across town to where I had dropped off my friend.  Of course I was praying like crazy, but wrestling with the reality that likely I had to release that $100 back to the Lord!  “God,” I resolved, “if that money did get picked up, it’s just like YOU to know who could need it the most, so bless them Lord!”  Now, you’d think if I had come to such peaceful resolution, I would have turned back…but that was 100 big ones I lost and I wasn’t going to just turn away…I had to know!  As I pulled into this well-populated small dirt road in the middle of this huge city, my eyes were peeled!  I slow the truck to a turtle-like creep, intriguing all the bystanders as this crazy white guy is driving unhurriedly through their neighborhood, all the while staring intently at the ground as I drove by.  I approached the house where my friend was staying and I really started looking even though the sun was setting faster than normal (so it seemed!)  I was still peaceful, yet crying out, “Lord, it’s your money, and if it’s supposed to be in the hands of someone else, I’m OK with it, but if it’s supposed to be in MY hands, then open my eyes to that envelope!”  Now it had rained earlier in the day, the red dirt was transformed to mud with patches of mucky water puddles all over the place.  As I drew near to the site of the blunder, I was looking for anything that could be that envelope (on a side street where the world is a wastebasket so there was trash littered everywhere).  As my eyes canvassed the area, I caught glimpse of something that, at first, did indeed resemble a white envelope…but the problem was that it was sticking up out of one of mud puddles.  I pulled up gingerly to the puddle and much to the bewilderment of the many on-lookers, I opened up my driver’s side door.  As my hand reached down into the filth, I couldn’t believe it, but there was the white envelope that my friend had given me, ever-so-slightly raising it’s right corner from the sludge just enough to be recognized, still wadded up just as when I had received it…BUT, surely someone had already seen it, taken the money out, and tossed the envelope to the ground as trash.  So I gently peaked inside (again, mesmerizing the bystanders, wondering what this white guy is doing digging trash out of mud puddles!), and (as Tori shared later after her hearing of the story), I felt like Charlie in the Chocolate Factory peeling back just enough of the paper to see the golden ticket inside!  I certainly tried to keep my face collected so as not to rile up the neighborhood about some stranger finding $100 in THEIR street!, so I tenderly caressed the envelope, laying it gently on the dashboard as I quickly closed (and locked!) my door and drove away!  Once I cleared the vicinity, I’m certain my whole face lit up as if I had found the jackpot in the middle of the muddy back streets of this African capital city!  God is so good!!  A few days later, after giving testimony at church about it, my friend who had originally given me the money, said, “do you remember when God shut the mouth of the lions so they wouldn’t devour Daniel…well, this time, the Lord sent another angel to guard over that money until you could return for it.  God sent the angel immediately after it fell out of your pocket.  He stayed there for 2 hours with his hands covering that money, waiting for you to respond in faith.  That’s why you had that “feeling” in your stomach to go back.  That’s faith talking to you!”  Thank you God!


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Speaking of our attorney, we spent the day again in Cotonou today meeting with him to sign our first request to the courts regarding Lael’s adoption (see the Comments in the last post to understand more about what all is still left to do).  We are very impressed with him and feel certain he will be a strong advocate for us.  Later, we spent several hours at our doctor’s office trying to get general checkups for all 6 of us to satisfy the medical history requirements for our adoption agency in Texas (we are so thankful for all that Christian Homes & Family Services in Abilene is doing for us!!)  We still lack some information, so we’ll provide that to her next Tuesday when we go again.  


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We have some fun pictures from the day Ega signed his consent…but Blogger isn’t cooperating.  We’ll keep trying…..

-Randy

6 comments:

Kendra said...

I love it . . .great story. Thanks for sharing that testimony! I love how the Lord is so involved in the smallest of details, even in the mudpiles of the streets of Benin, and the whiteness of an envevlope in that mud, and the lifting of that envelope up through that red mud . . .he must have been having a great big smile fest Himself as you discovered it there! Fun . .

Donny said...

There's a reason that God had you on the front page of the Littlefield Leader-News when you were a toddler eating mud with your twin brother (oh, that's me!). He knew one day he'd return you to your affinity for mud !! :)

Love your story brother! Makes me think of the time I left my wallet on the tray at Wendy's back in 1992 on our late night dinner run. Then only to have the Manager call me back the next morning (after I called to check to see if they had seen it) and tell me I was the luckiest guy in the world b/c my wallet was right there on the top of the trash. Little did we know that the Angels love mud and Frostys too!! That God - he's a funny lost and found kinda guy!! (hope that was irreverent - baa baa!!)

msajeffrey said...

Like Kendra (and I always love to be like Kendra!!!) I love to think of the heavenly realms observing and cheering you on! I also am so blessed by your Aja friend describing your faith talking to you! Oh,I pray to be a better listener to my faith talking to me!!!

This story reminds me of the one that seems so long ago now of you all having the all important bag stolen out of your car in Cotonou shortly after you arrived...then getting it back with all the contents a week later! As we have often said you all can feel a lot of ways over there but you can never feel alone!

Thank you for the great testimony of our faithful God!

Jill said...

God specializes in finding the lost things, doesn't he? He sees the value even when it is covered in mud and unseen by many walking by.

May He use all of us to find those valuable precious souls who are hidden in the mud.

Thanks for sharing this story.

Love you guys,
Jill

Judy & Ronnie Vaughn said...

You can now add this story to your lists of truly amazing ways God has blessed you in Benin. We are still reeling from the blessing of American social workers coming to Benin at the right time and now this! God is good!

Like Suzy ( and I like to be like Suzy,too ), I found the Aja friend explaining to you the importance of following your faith a great testimony to you for I am assuming he got his faith from YOU.

So glad you share these wonderful stories. Tori is right on...a golden ticket!

Love,
Mom

R Debenport said...

thanks for the great story and life lesson. Sounds like your friend who explained the faith lesson is ready to take over for you guys when you leave. I love it when the "mission field" becomes the "missionaries." Peace.
Russ