Sometimes God shows up in unexpected places and connects us to people we need to know. As I boarded a plane today for my annual trip to Carol Kent’s Speak Up Conference in Michigan, a special memory and “hope connection” came to mind.
A few years ago a friend and I were on an Arizona road trip heading to our favorite retreat center for a time of spiritual refreshment and friendship. We made an unexpected stop for a restroom break. On our way back to the car, I felt prompted to talk to an older woman and her friend. I discovered they were on a sightseeing trip from Michigan. To my surprise. I learned one woman lived in Grand Rapids Michigan, where I would be traveling later that year for Speak Up. What amazed me more was finding out she lived directly across the street from the campus where our conference would be held and frequently hosted missionaries and other guests. We exchanged contact information and started emailing one another. I invited her to come as my guest to the conference and to my delight she came. I introduced her as “Pit Stop Pat” and she became a regular supporter of the annual conference.
The next year, Pat opened her home to conference attendees who couldn’t afford the cost of a hotel. The following year she enlisted her neighbor to house people too. Pat usually attended my Hopelifter workshop and enjoyed when I told others about how God connected us. Besides housing conference attendees, she was passionate about those leaving prison to transition successfully. She had a heart for hurting people. She became a regular hopelifter to me and those who attended my workshop. She listened, spoke encouraging words and had a ready list of resources.
Although Pat is now at a rest stop in heaven, the impact she made in my life and others continues and so does her story. (I’ve included in my book, Hopelifter, on page 70.)
I will miss her at Speak Up this year, but she will be remembered as one of the miraculous connections that God orchestrated, joining me to someone I needed who needed also needed me.
God is a hope connector. When unexpected circumstances occur, be on the lookout for someone He may want you to meet. I look forward to hearing your story.