Back on the 14th of March, I was asked to take one of the students from the Sunnydale group to town with me along with one of the teachers as I purchased the needed things for the group for that day and the next.
I had finished my to-do list and was going to find the two ladies. I saw them coming my direction and told them I was done. I then asked if they were ready to go. We were just about "on-time" if we left just then, to get things back for final lunch preparation.
They told me that they were headed to the police station. I then saw the Conference Pastoral Director and the local pastor.
The story was as follows.
After purchasing some shoes, and placing the remaining cash in the other pocket of her bag, the student and teacher walked to get one more purchase. They had "bumped" into a few locals on the way. When she was ready to pay, her money was gone. There wasn't a lot of money there, but her passport was in the same wallet.
Now this was a HUGE concern. The group was flying out on Sunday. It was now Friday afternoon!
Now see how good God is. This took all of us by surprise, but NOT GOD!
We walked to the police station with the two pastors.
We prayed again. I asked God to bring glory to Himself through all this and to help the student to have peace. Understandably, she was quite upset at this time. God immediately answered that prayer and she had God's peace through the rest of ordeal.
I called the group's leader. He told me to get the number for the US Embassy and for us to ask what we should do. We notified the girl's father who was also part of the group. I started asking for the phone number for the embassy. The police station said they didn't have it. I sent a message to my director. He called me back and asked what was going on. He said, "DON'T CALL THE EMBASSY!" He said that they would immediately cancel the passport and if it was recovered, she still would not be able to leave the country. We both agreed that the thief was after money, not the passport, and perhaps it was in a ditch somewhere close-by.
I called the others back to warn about calling the embassy. I was too late. I was told that the embassy had already been called. I kept asking questions, like, "Did you give them her name or passport number?" God is so GOOD! The answers were negative! The embassy said they would not do anything to help until Monday. They didn't even ask for a name!
Reports were filled out. We met with the ward's leader (who happened also to be a member of the local church and friends with the pastors.) We asked if word could be passed around that we would offer a reward for the passport. They agreed.
To shorten the story a bit - the passport was turned in for the reward within a few hours.
NOW SOME OF GOD'S GRACE AND PROVISION THROUGH IT ALL:
#1 There was very little money left in the wallet
#2 As soon as the ladies had prayed after realizing the loss, they looked up and the two pastors they had been working with for the last two weeks were right there in the market (by another miracle. The local church and conference had purchased thank you gifts for the group and had mixed the number of men and women. They were back in the market to make the correction. If the mistake had not been made - they would not have been there to help us!)
#3 The embassy would not help with the passport, so it didn't get cancelled.
#4 The local authority for that area was a member of the church
#5 The passport was returned for a fraction of the cost to replace it
#6 We got the passport back before sundown so we could all sleep well and truly enjoy God's Sabbath.
God is so good, all the time. Nothing takes Him by surprise and He has His way of escape prepared in every difficulty.
I hope that this incident will continue to bring God glory, but helping us remember how much He loves and cares for us. As we depend on Him, He will guide us through the most trying of difficulties. So a tragedy was turned into a triumph!
Praise the Lord for His love and watch-care! He had everyone in place to bring about victory. Even mistakes can be a way to do something marvelous down the road.