by Dale Reeves
Last week I had a fantastic time with some senior adults from Christ’s Church, attending Woodland Lakes Seniors’ Day. Each year this Christian camp sponsors a day in the spring and a day in the fall in which seniors travel to their location just outside of Amelia, OH. They enjoy some great fellowship, an uplifting and challenging message, some Southern gospel and praise worship, and a wonderful lunch, before they head home for their afternoon naps.
Last Tuesday twenty-three of us set out early in the morning for the camp, riding in two of our church buses. Mark Healy drove one bus, and I drove the other. . . . Then, it happened. . . .
We had just turned off I-71 onto I-275 East when I noticed the “check engine light” come on as we were heading up the ramp. Then I started reading messages just above the steering wheel . . . “Engine overheated. Running on low engine power. Turn off A/C.” I checked out the gauge that would indicate an overheated radiator, but the needle was all the way to the left. But, I noticed the bus starting to slow down. I pulled into the right lane, decreasing our speed, while watching the other Christ’s Church bus move on ahead.
After a few phone calls to our facilities guy at church, Gary Riffle, and to our small groups director, David Buckley, I called Mark Healy to let him know why we were way behind them. The bus continued to slow down to about 45 mph on the interstate. As cars and trucks whizzed by me, I started looking for a full-service gas station to pull into. Then the indicator on the hot/cold gauge jumped all the way to the right in the RED ZONE. The ten folks that were in my bus knew something was up, and it got very quiet. And, no, contrary to some of the rumors that I’ve heard through the years, it had nothing to do with my driving! No doubt the senior saints in my bus were praying! News flash: full-service stations are hard to find these days! In my mind an image appeared of a bus pulled off the side of the road with smoke and fire coming out of the hood, while senior adults were trying to get off the bus with a few canes and a walker. I DID NOT want that to be us!!
Eventually I pulled off the route 32/Eastgate exit and found a Car-X , where my new best friend Dave agreed to take a look under the hood. While a few of my passengers got off the bus and visited the bathroom facilities, Dave and his cohort poured a whole gallon of coolant in the radiator, but they discovered there were some other issues with the vehicle. We decided to leave the bus there to have it repaired, while Mark dropped off his crew at the camp (about fifteen minutes away), then came back to rescue us. We had a great lunch and time of fellowship, and one of our church staff, Gary Riffle, drove out to the camp to pick us up and return us to Mason.
A Few Takeaways
In case you’re wondering how the bus repair turned out, Dave the mechanic discovered a hole in the radiator line and a bad thermostat, which they repaired the next day. Gary drove out to Car-X the next day and retrieved the church bus. But the day was about more than that. It was about the fact that . . .
THERE ARE STILL GOOD PEOPLE IN THE WORLD
- In today’s world we hear all kinds of bad news in the media every day, but on days like this sometimes we get to meet people like Dave the mechanic. He wouldn’t take any money for his time or the coolant he put in the bus, not knowing if the repair would be done there or not. In that moment, I needed someone with the skill and willingness to help us in our plight, and God provided Dave.
- The reaction of our senior saints was awesome. While sitting in the parking lot at Car-X, waiting for our pickup, I apologized to them for being late to the event, telling them we might not get to sit up front where we usually do. They said almost in unison, “That’s OK, we’ll just sit at other tables and get to meet people from other churches that we don’t know!” When we arrived fashionably late at the camp, the seniors from our other bus had looked out for us by saving seats for us near the front. In case you don’t know it, we are blessed with some wonderful senior saints in our church. You should take the time to get to know them.
- Our church is blessed with a great staff and some amazing “Difference Makers.” Gary Riffle and David Buckley are two great guys who contribute so much to the life and health of our church. They stepped in and helped meet the need. This was the first time Mark and Rachel Healy had attended this event with our group. As Rachel said to me on the bus on the way to camp, “I guess we were supposed to come today!” Yes, Rachel, absolutely! Thank you for being part of God’s provision that day.
Not only did Jesus take the wheel for us that day, he provided just what we needed when we needed it! By the way, if you’re a senior adult and want to attend this event with us next spring, you can save the date: April 23, 2024. I’ll be speaking at that event next spring with music by the group Fresh Spirit , and it promises to be another great day—hopefully with no issues on the road!
He is Jehovah Jireh!
“Abraham named the place Yahweh-Yireh (which means ‘the Lord will provide’)” (Genesis 22:14, NLT).