One of the programs of Acts of Mercy in India is a music school and concert center that also provides significant funding for the school for indigent children and homes for widows. Electronic musical equipment is very expensive and of poor quality in India so John Christian, the head of Acts of Mercy, asked us to purchase an audio mixer and bring it on the plane, thereby greatly reducing the cost of tariffs, shipping, etc. What seemed to be a very simple request turned into a flurry of phone calls and emails which resulted in frustration and hopelessness to the point we almost gave up several times. As we were running out of time, the decision was made to postpone the purchase until we arrived in Houston (our departure city due to cheaper airfare to India) and so as a last ditch effort, my son-in-law, Blake, (who also plays guitar in a worship band) agreed to help us select and buy a different mixer on our very limited budget.
After a long drive across Houston, we arrived at Guitar Center to find swarms of customers waiting in line to be assisted by one of the 30 or so salespeople. We settled in for a long wait, especially challenging as 15-month-old grandson Colton was enthusiastically playing chase around the sound equipment between stints entertaining us on the keyboards. After about a half hour into his wait, Blake inexplicitly found himself focused on one particular salesman and so when another became available, he stepped back, letting others go ahead so he could wait specifically for this man. He wasn’t exactly sure why he had made the decision to wait, but he felt the strong tug that he should wait for this man. So, our wait continued. And continued.
When it finally became Blake’s turn for assistance, he explained that this particular piece of equipment was intended for use in the Vineyard Church in India. The salesman commented that he had a connection with the Vineyard Church in California and he, too, knew a man who runs a mission in India. The conversation continued and you can imagine our surprise when we learned that this man, Doc Greene, actually knew John Christian and attended church with him in California years ago! He moved to Houston only 2 months ago and as we began swap “do you know…?” stories, we found that we knew many of the same people in the U.S. who support Acts of Mercy in India. And, when he mentioned the name of an old friend who had moved from California to Colorado about 10 years ago, he told me he had completely lost touch with him. Wish I had taken a picture of his face when I pulled out my cell phone and dialed the number of this same friend of his – and also mine - from my years living in Colorado! Two old friends reconnected by cell phone, right there in the store. They swapped phone numbers and vowed to catch up later that evening. And thank you, Doc Greene, for the discounts that saved almost $100 for the children and widows in India!
How do “coincidences” like this happen? How was it that we flew from Houston, for the first time ever, and thereby requiring the mixer to be purchased there? How does it happen that this fellow moves from California and a short time later, connects with a woman from Dallas and her son-in-law who wander into a huge store filled with shoppers and salespeople? How did we stumble across this man in Houston, the 4th largest city in the US with a population of 2.5 million, on this particular day, on his particular shift? How is it Blake knew to wait for Doc? How is it people can still believe in coincidences after stories like this? I don’t. Not anymore. These stories have happened to me too many times. I’m not always sure WHY these things happen the way they do. But I am certain that God touches our lives in very special ways - for His own purpose - whenever and however He chooses. And sometimes, I think He winks at us as He does. Thank you, Lord, for this Special Touch Story – Number #1 for this journey, sure to be followed by many more.
Stay tuned for more Special Touch Stories in the next 4 weeks. I know there will be more and I’m smiling in anticipation.