When we first entered our new country in December of 1979, the plan was to stay in a big city with a worker from Word of Life named Howie. He’d sent us instructions to get to his place, but we did not understand some points, like, “turn left at the bufe.” I had no idea what a bufe was. Now I know that it’s a little kiosk that sells newspapers and snacks. It did not surprise me that we quickly got lost after we left the freeway to enter the city of 9 million.
I stopped and asked directions several times, showing the locals the address Howie had given us. We seemed to be going in the right direction, as the people always pointed us further on. Later, however, we learned that this is what the locals do when they don’t know where the place is—they say “Go further on!”
Finally we were directed down a narrow, cobble stoned street that got steeper and steeper. It finally came out into an area filled with little car repair shops. I saw one with a sign for Volkswagen repairs, so I stopped there to ask for directions, thinking that someone might speak German.
The owner didn’t speak any German, but knew a little English. He looked at the address and began to give me directions: “This way, turn left at third street, then go five blocks, turn right at….” My head was not absorbing these directions. But just then a customer came to the mechanic, looked over his shoulder at the address and made a comment in the local language.
The mechanic smiled and said, “This man’s car is done. He is going to this place, follow him.”
Now think about the elements of this event: to find the one repair place where someone spoke some English—a rare thing we found out; and to arrive at just the right time when a customer was getting ready to leave and would be going from there right to our destination; then to have the customer take the initiative to come over and see what was happening and then offer to lead us to our friend’s home! This was definitely God’s direction and protection! A four-star God sighting! God sets us free from our ignorance and helplessness.
We never would have found Howie’s place by following anyone’s directions. The route was very complicated, but our “angel” knew the way and we stuck to him like glue. When we arrived at the right spot—in front of the factory Howie had mentioned–there was no sign of Howie’s apartment building.
A woman threw open the window of an apartment and called out something in French. Our “angel” replied and the woman pointed to a building a bit further on, our destination. We thanked everyone profusely, being so glad to be “found” again!