I grew up here in Servant Branch and went to the University of Minnesota for a couple of years. Now I’m taking some time off and doing mission work–for the past year and a half, plus.
This story is about a hitchhiking trip. Around September, Peter Coleman, Rus Lyons and I were in Dale, Indiana. It has been a pretty long day of mission work, and we get to the end of the day, about 6 o’clock, and we’re still looking for a place to stay. So we sit down on a curb underneath the water tower. It’s getting dark, so we decide that we need to start knocking on doors and finding a place to stay. So we’re walking across the street and there’s this guy at the second house we walk by. It’s a small house with kind of a carport connected to the house. We see this guy in the back yard and he’s working on a deck or something, and so we figure, let’s go talk to this guy.
We walk up and say, “We’re Christian missionaries and we’d like to beg some food and shelter from you.” He’s in his 30s, a pretty burly guy, and he looks surprised, but he doesn’t miss a beat. He goes inside and talks to his wife and they come out and say, “I don’t know if we can put you up. We got some kids here and we’re kind of full, but if you want to stay we’ll cook you some dinner.”
And we say, “That would be great. We’d love that.”
So, while his wife—Julie, we’ll call her—is making dinner, we go out in the back, and it turns out this guy Matt is working on his deck in his back yard that’s he’s putting a hot tub on. So we feel like this is exactly what we want to do, after a day walking around talking to folks. Give us a hammer, you know, that’s great! It takes a little convincing before he actually believes that this is what we want to do. So we spend awhile working on the deck, and then we go inside for pancakes and cookies and bananas.
While we’re eating, Julie and Matt are conferencing, and when we’re done eating they say, “We were thinking about it and we’d like to offer you a place to stay.” And Julie says, “I just . . . we got kids and I want to make sure that you’re not psycho-killers. Do you have someone we can call, so we know that you are who you say you are?” So we give them Nick Holovaty’s number and Matt calls Nick and they decide we’re okay.
So after dinner we went out in the back and helped Matt. When we got there, he had holes in the ground. That’s all he had for this deck he was building, and we showed up and we got the whole thing framed out by about midnight that night. Then we went inside because we had wanted to talk to them both about the Holy Spirit, and also we wanted to pray for Julie because she told us she has heart arrhythmia. So we ended up meeting about midnight in the front room of their house and we prayed for Julie for this heart arrhythmia. And as we’re praying, she says, “I am getting lightheaded. I need to sit down.” So she sits down.
We kind of leave it at that. We don’t know if anything actually happened, and we explain to them about the Holy Spirit and tell them some stories, and Matt hasn’t been prayed with for the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and Julie has. And Matt totally wants the Holy Spirit, so we all pray for him, and after that, Julie says, “You know my heart . . . it’s beating steady right now.” We say, “Well, praise God. That’s a healing, you know. The Lord healed your heart of the arrhythmia.” And her heart is still better. We went back several months later and she doesn’t have problems with it. Glory to God. Thank you, Lord.
The next morning we get up and talk to Matt, and at Julie’s prompting he says, “You know, I got to tell you guys, the other day I asked the Lord three times for a blessing, and it was the first time I had ever asked God to send me a blessing. Things had been going really rough, and I prayed to the Lord three times, ‘Lord, send me a blessing, send me a blessing, send me a blessing.’ And at the end of the day you guys showed up. I had been trying to get my friends to help me with this deck, but it was like pulling teeth . . . and now we’re halfway done. . . so thank you, Lord.”
Thanks, Peter. By the way, the deck is now done . . . and I got to meet Matt. He said, “You know, I was the guy who called you, Nick. I just wasn’t the type of guy to have strangers over and stay in my house.” Then he told us a story about how he was driving late on Christmas Eve, and he saw a car spin out in front of him on the snow. He said, “You know, I’m not proud of it, but, before, I would have just passed by, but I stopped and helped her, and she was okay.” So he stayed and two other men stopped and pulled the car out of the ditch, and he helped this girl, and he said, “I’ve been changing since you guys showed up. Things are changing around here.” Praise God.