The Dean received this email from a student at the end of two weeks of intensive classes:
“I serve at a very small rural church south of Wichita, Kansas. My church’s budget has suffered greatly over the last two years, forcing us to cut my compensation and benefits to bare minimum levels. Despite these cuts, my wife and I felt led to increase our missions giving to lighten the blow on the missionaries we support. We sold our two cars to buy a single minivan to be used in our ministry at the church until it could afford to buy its own. That little van travelled 30,000 miles since we bought it in June of last year, taking us all over the country on vacations and trips to the seminary, including a jaunt up and – thankfully – down Pike’s Peak in Colorado. I share this to provide the context for what happened this week.
“On our trip to the August intensives, our wheels began making a sound as if something was caught in them. I didn’t notice anything when we stopped to refuel, so we continued on our journey resolving to get it looked at when we returned home. While at the seminary, I drove missionary Jim Eckhardt to a restaurant we were meeting at after the day’s class. He said the sound was a brake problem that really needed to be looked at before I did any more significant driving. Over dinner, Jim mentioned it to Joshua Bowlin, another missionary in our cohort who had joined us for dinner. Joshua offered to help me replace my brakes at his parents’ garage near the campus. I just needed to pick up the parts on the way over and he would change them for free.
“When Joshua removed my front wheel, he called me over to view the condition of my front passenger brake. It was not only worn, it was destroyed. Half of the rotor was completely missing, the rotor disk was broken off of its own center, the pads were worn to the screws, and the caliper was irreparably frozen. He told me that God must surely have protected my family all this way because it would be impossible for that brake to contribute anything to the vehicle. The severe damage turned a 30 minute project into a 3 hour project on a night in which there were assignments due and studying to be done.
“I can’t help but be thankful for the multi-faceted blessing from the Lord. I’m grateful for God truly providing ‘travelling mercies’ over so many miles and very perilous situations – especially driving on Pike’s Peak! I’m grateful for Joshua Bowlin freely offering his time and labor in the August heat without complaint during a week of intensive course work. And I’m grateful for the bigger picture here. Months ago, when my wife and I obeyed a nudge for sacrificial missions giving, we had no idea that God would use two missionaries to bring such a timely blessing.
“The story has one more twist. During the next week, I came into class and found a handwritten note in an envelope addressed to me with enough money to cover the cost of the brakes! It read:
‘God has touched the hearts of your cohort to share this gift with you. We hope it helps with the extra expenditures you’ve acquired this week. God Bless!’
“Let me just respond by saying ‘Praise God!’ for my cohort. Lifelong relationships continue to be developed and God’s blessing has no difficulty being shared.”