A couple of weeks ago I attended Lotusphere in Orlando, and then flew back to California to work with a client for a couple of days before heading home to New Zealand. While working with the client in California, I had the opportunity to be a part of God’s moment for someone else. The story goes like this …
A young lady at our church spent the last semester of her three year undergraduate degree studying at a university in Canada. At the conclusion of the semester, and on the way back to New Zealand, she visited Disneyland. While there she lost her wallet – with USD$270 cash, her New Zealand drivers license, VISA card, bank cards … everything. However, her passport was not with her wallet, and thanks to the gracious behavior of some Americans, was able to get back to her hotel, then to LAX, and get back to New Zealand. When she got back to New Zealand, she received an email from a family in California, saying they had found her wallet and wanted to return it. The US cash caused a problem though, because New Zealand Customs would not accept an inbound package with US cash. So they were at a stalemate. This happened just a few days before I was in California.
On the Friday morning in California, I received an email from the young lady telling the story above, giving me the contact details for the family, and asking if there was anything I could do. She only found out that I was in California because her Mum had rang my wife that morning, inviting us both to the young lady’s 21st birthday party that night. When Katrina declined noting that I was in America, the mother paused for a moment and then asked where I was. And so was set in motion the email message to me – although both knew it was a long shot.
So back to the email message. It was about 11.06am when I got the email, and it included the cell phone number for the person. The area code started with 626 … and I was in the 626 area code. I was using a T-Mobile US SIM card, given to me by another church member, who had just come back from the US. So it was easy for me to ring the cell phone. I did so, explained the situation, but given some dynamics around their movements that day, it was unlikely it would work. But the man said he would contact his wife (who had the wallet), and see what could be done. In the meantime I emailed the young lady, asking her to contact the family, and confirm that I wasn’t a thief. She did.
Fast forward an hour and a half, and it’s 12.50pm. I’m standing the lobby speaking with some of the people from the client’s organization, and remember that my phone is on silent. Without taking my eyes off the people I’m speaking with, I take out my phone and turn it to ring mode. Wow, what do you know … the lady with the wallet was calling at that very moment. We spoke, and she said that she couldn’t be where I was until 6.30pm – but I had to leave at 4.10pm to head to LAX for my own international flight. It was looking like a no-deal.
A bit later – she rang again with an update. Her husband was going to finish work early, get the wallet, and bring it to me just after 3pm. And he did … and he gave it to me … and I asked one of the client’s staff to open the wallet and count the money … and then put it in my bag to carry back to New Zealand. That was at 3.40pm California time on Friday – or 12.40pm New Zealand time on Saturday. After flying back to Auckland, then to Christchurch … I had the opportunity to walk in at the beginning of church on Sunday morning … and at 10.35am hand the young lady her wallet.
Only God could make all that work. Note:
– The cell phone area code was the same as where I was.
– I’d never been to that part of California before.
– The young lady’s Mum just happened to call my wife with a birthday invitation.
– I had a US cell phone number. It would have been more difficult for the family to communicate with me if I had my usual New Zealand number.
– An honest US family with good hearts found the wallet, and were willing to make sacrifices to restore it to its rightful owner.
Here’s the story from the young lady’s Mum (in an email to me):
Just wanted to thank you sooooo much for delivering Bek’s wallet to her safe and sound!!! Oh my what a miracle to say the least. You’ve been such a blessing, in the right place at the right time. You would have heard I phoned Katrina early Saturday morning to invite you all to Bek’s belated 21st celebration that evening. I realise it was late notice but that was the last weekend both Sarah and Bek would be together as it was just before Sarah departs for Dannevirke (Bek is going with her just for the trip). Anyway to cut a long story short when speaking to Katrina I asked her if you were home and she said that YOU WERE IN LOS ANGELES!!!!! My ears pricked up when I heard that and I explained to her what had happened re Bek’s wallet!!
We picked Bek up from the airport on Wednesday morning and on arrival home she checked her emails at 1pm to find a message from a guy who had found her wallet at Disney!!!! The next problem we had was getting it returned to her in New Zealand!! I’d phoned New Zealand Post, Travel Ex, National Bank, Fed Ex, New Zealand Customs, to ascertain the fastest, safest way to return it, and we were still trying to fathom out which would be the best way!! THEN my phone call to Katrina, and Bek’s contact with you was another option! It wasn’t until after everyone had gone home on Saturday evening and Bek was about to hop into bed that she came to me with her laptop and showed me the message from you!! REBEKAH, I HAVE GOT YOUR WALLET!!!! It brought tears to my eyes. Praise God, for He is able to do far more abundantly above all that we ask, or think, or dream of. I must admit, Michael, my faith was not very big when Bek initially emailed, skyped and facebooked us on the day she mentioned she’d lost her wallet at Disney. I thought oh my, losing it in Los Angeles of all places, and at Disney at that!!!
It was unbelievable when you rushed in on Sunday morning, spoke to Bek and gave her the wallet. As you know Pastor Paul was at the door when you and Bek were talking and heard you telling Bek that she must get up and share in the service about this miracle. Paul actually called Rebekah up just before his sermon, and it tied in so perfectly with what he was preaching on. Psalm 23 – The Lord is my Shepherd etc. etc. I was speaking to folk after the service and one lady, (who happened to be Paul’s mother-in-law) said Bek’s story brought her to tears.
So Michael, a huge thank you to you for the part you have played in this miracle. I would love to hear the full story (when you have a spare moment) as to how you managed to get the wallet in your possession in time before leaving LAX bound for ChCh, New Zealand. Praise His holy name.
With love and appreciation in Him
I had the opportunity to play a small part. Praise God for His amazing coordination … in a way that only God can do.