Well, I wanted to post this on New Years Day as it’s a New Years story, but both the 110 and the 240 went off at once and I lost all that I had typed up, so I finally have a pocket of time to do it again, so here goes!
Last year on January 1, I arrived in London on my way to Zambia. I had a good sized layover, so I had planned to get out into the city and go through Westminster Abbey and maybe (time permitting) check out a yarn shop before heading back to the airport and then on to Lusaka. I had a few pounds on me from a few summers ago when I took a travel study trip to England, so I was able to buy an all day tube pass for the correct zones. This left me with about £5, but as I had my debit card I planned to get some cash when I hit the city. In the airport there is a place where for £8 you can leave a bag for a few hours, so I dropped off my bulky laptop bag and headed out into London. When I arrived at Westminster, I started trying to pull out my cash so I could pay the entry fee for Westminster Abbey. To my surprise, no ATM I tried worked. I was starting to get worried—my card had always worked internationally before, and I wasn’t sure why it would be this time.
When it became clear that my cards were blocked, I found a phone booth and called my parents to see if they could sort it out. What I forgot was a) it was New Years Day so the bank was closed and b) my parents were driving back from Tennessee. I got through and explained my dilemma before running out of change, but of course there was nothing they could do to help me. Now, I knew I could get back to the airport just fine (though somehow I failed to communicate that to my poor mother), but I wasn’t sure how I was going to get my bag back. Not only did I have less than £5 now, but I had less than $2 on me because of all the craziness of leaving from Nashville. I wondered if the place would take a check, but figured it was unlikely. I didn’t know anyone in London, and the one place I could think of to go for help was closed. I spent a lot of time wandering around Westminster trying to find an internet café to see if there was anyone I could get a hold of, but had no luck.
Shortly before I would have to head back to the airport, I decided to try one more ATM, just to make sure my card was really frozen. As I was once again unsuccessful, I muttered, “Rats” or something along those lines and started to step away. A middle-aged gentleman had just stepped up to the ATM beside me, and when he heard me he said, “Sorry?” Almost without realizing it I was pouring my story out to this complete stranger with no real goal in mind, just the need to share with someone the frustration I had been going through all day. To my shock, the man looked at me, said, “Well, in the spirit of the season,” and handed me a £10 note. I stammered some thanks as he went off to continue his life, and then sent a heartfelt “THANK YOU” to heaven for the Lord’s provision. I was then able to redeem my laptop and make a quick phone call to my worried mother telling her it had all worked out and I was safely on the airport about to get on a plane for Zambia.
I will never forget those desperate hours in London trudging all over in the cold trying to figure out what to do. I’ll never forget that kind stranger who gave me a bill that covered my need even though I had not named a sum. And I’ll never forget how God showed me yet again that He meant for me to be going to Zambia to join His work there. How many people get to start their time on the mission field with a miracle?