Okay, people. Yahweh is most assuredly watching over us! I didn’t doubt that He was, but there is nothing quite so precious as when He makes it known! Check out how He showed us today…
After fighting a migraine Tuesday night and all day yesterday, I went to bed early hoping it would go away as I slept. In my hurting, I forgot to set an alarm…
In the bed next to me I found Hannah and Emily slept through their alarms and were still fast asleep…
Sleeping through all of the alarms left us very little time to get ready, eat breakfast, and catch the bus with the team, so Jordan suggested that we take our time and catch the 9:15 bus (instead of the 8:50 that the team takes). We gladly accepted his offer and the rest of the team headed to the bus stop.
Now, we bought 7-day bus passes last Friday and the bus driver gave us the resident discount (instead of the tourist price which is twice as much). We were very thankful, but were warned by Brielle (American missionary kid in Malta who has been living and serving with us… a precious new friend!) that it could cause us trouble if we encountered a ticket checker.
“Ticket checkers” are basically angry, mean men that work for Arriva, the bus company. They get on the buses randomly and check everyone’s ticket and grill the bus driver about who knows what. We haven’t been too concerned about them seeing as we’ve been riding the buses for over two weeks and we’ve never seen one.
Well, all that changed this morning.
We caught our first bus which takes us to the Marsa Park & Ride. This is where basically every bus in Malta connects. While Hannah, Emily and I were waiting at the Park & Ride for our second bus we saw angry, mean men in suits getting on and off every bus that stopped. Now would be a good time to imagine low, doomful music.
What’s worse than our resident priced tickets is what happened when Emily and Hannah taped their paper tickets to prevent tearing. Almost every bit of ink faded under the tape and you could only faintly see the valid date. We have had no issue for the last 4 days getting on and off buses several times a day. We knew that the ticket checkers, however, would not be so gracious. When our bus (which is a Mercedes Bens, by the way, but that’s not important…) pulled up we silently prayed that he just wouldn’t notice us or our problematic tickets.
The two angry, mean, ticket checker men got on the bus when it arrived. The first angry man went straight to the back of the bus to start checking tickets, while the other started checking the drivers credentials and what not.
The bus driver must have assumed that the angry, mean man would check our tickets because we walked right onto the bus. We walked to the back where there were 3 seats together (just beyond the angry, mean man). He stopped and looked at us with his angry, mean eyes, stepped aside, an motioned with his arms for us to walk past him.
That is, WITHOUT checking our tickets.
We sat down and looked at each other with wide eyes. “Holy cow, the team is not going to believe this!!” We were SO thankful.
We got to the camp and headed to the back room where the team was, as no students had yet arrived.
“We saw ticket checkers… Y’all aren’t gonna believe what happened.”
They all went silent and asked us to tell the story, which we recounted with a strong sense of victory in our voices.
They immediately smiled, looked at each other with confidence, and began to tell us their own experience with the angry, mean, ticket checking men.
Lauren had the same faded ticket problem from the tape, and the angry, mean man was NOT gracious at all. Apparently, he yelled, refused to believe it had a valid date, and gave her no option but to pay a fine and purchase a new ticket. He was so worked up about Lauren’s ticket that he ignored the resident priced tickets of the others. He charged them a fee of €10 and made her by a new 7-day pass (€12.50). The two of these charges together is roughly $45. All because of an angry, mean man… not because they did anything wrong!
They continued to tell us that they prayed for the angry, mean man to find joy. Knowing that Han and Em both had faded tickets, they knew that if we were also “caught” it would total charges of well over $100 (not the kinda cash we’ve got laying around by ANY means). So, they prayed also that we would simply be invisible to the angry, mean man.
Which is EXACTLY what God did!! The man motioned us to walk RIGHT passed him! Ah. So lovely.
I hope you’re encouraged by this teeny tiny story of God’s faithfulness. You need to know that God is good and His plan cannot be thwarted. You are absolutely incapable of messing up what He wants to do. Your willingness to be used for His kingdom (in ANY capacity) puts you in the perfect position for Him to accomplish wonderful things through you. Yes- fearful, broken you, with scars and painful memories and a thousand regrets. You are not too far from grace. You can be used.
Be willing. Be open. Be flexible. And know with absolute confidence that He has it worked out before you even discover there is a problem. Trust Him with your needs and watch Him do immeasurably more.
It’s truly the most wonderful thing.
I’m thankful still for your time and commitment. Please keep praying! Tomorrow is going to be a tough one as we say goodbye to our friends in the camp. Please pray for opportunities to verbalize the gospel and for boldness to take them.
I love you much,