Let me share a few back to back urgent prayers to see if you think it was luck, (coincident) or answered prayer.
As our newly renovated sleeper bus left Yellowstone National Park and heading toward the magnificent Grand Tetons National Park, the bus suddenly stopped. When I checked the temperature gauge I realized the engine overheated. Oops. Driver error. When I “opened the hood” (the rear door of the bus) it was obvious that the major fan belt had fallen off and was badly frayed. I searched for replacement belt, something I normally always carry as a spare part, but we had none. Bigger Oops.
First prayer: Lord have mercy on us to allows this old worn belt to stretch around the pulley without snapping (breaking) and get the bus running to our destination for dinner and showers at the Tetons.
It worked! Lucky? Or answer to prayer?
But that was just the beginning because when we camped out that night under the stars, the big test would be to start the bus in the cold morning 39 degree air.
It worked again.
But we still needed a replacement belt. So while all the students and leaders took a hike to the invincible Inspiration Point, I stayed on the phone calling every auto store and repair center. None were available in nearby Jackson WY and the only one we could order was in Salt Lake UT, a 7 hour wilderness drive away. In other words, if that worn belt gave up before we got to Salt Lake, we’d really be in trouble. Phil, a volunteer leader who’s been on 10 previous Go West trips, prayed and then called our church in Atlanta to ask if they had any contacts in Salt Lake. Sure enough they suggested we call a friend of a friend who we then asked to drive to the auto store to buy the replacement fan belt and meet us at ……midnight when we expected to roll through. It’s great to know so many friends because of our friendship with our best friend, Jesus, who connects all who face Him on His Book.
So that was a major need met by prayer (or luck)…..but that’s not all.
The next night while we were camping on the bus with the engine running so we’d have cold AC in the Arizona desert near the Grand Canyon, the engine unexpectedly stopped running. What alerted me was when my alarm clock went off 2 hrs before I thought I had set it. I woke up thinking it was 4:30 AM and jumped into the driver’s seat to take off for a spectacular sunrise at the Grand Canyon.
Then I noticed it was only 2:30 AM so I rest my alarm and was almost back to sleep when I suddenly realized the bus wasn’t running (to keep the AC on). Like Santa, I jumped into the driver’s seat to restart my sleigh but the reindeer (engine) barely kicked. Not being a mechanic (nor was there one in this remote corner of AZ) I called upon the Lord (El Mechanic) for wisdom and felt it was ok to drive it into the National Park. As soon as I got in the parking lot, the engine died, but as the sun rose everyone not only got beautiful sunrise pictures, but also used the free shuttle bus 100 yards away while I tracked down a flat foot mechanic. While students were sightseeing, I watched mechanics test various systems and finally conclude the fuel pump was “kaput”/dead. As only El Mechanic could do, this tiny garage had 1 replacement pump on the shelf left over from when they operated the same type of Detroit Diesel engines a few years ago. Otherwise it would have taken 2-3 days to get one shipped.
Once installed, it was time to pick up our group, take sunset pictures and head home. There’s more to the story: remember the fan belt we pick up in Salt Lake—it was not a perfect fit and we were still in desperate need the right fan belt that had been held together by faith for 1000 miles. His assurance then as always: “Be Not A-frayed!” After calling every truck stop or repair center for those 1000 lonely miles, yes, that tiny shop at the Grand Canyon also had the perfect replacement belt!
Amazing answers to prayer….or was it just a coincidence?