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    Signs and Wonders

    A simple act of service turns into a revelation.

    By Howard Saylor

    January 25, 2021

    Available languages: Español

    • Liz in New Zealand

      Thank you for telling your experience of God. It is just what I needed on a day when I was feeling quite battered by a series of events. Our prayers for our son have been offered for over 20 years; but there's no sign he is turning back to the God he once knew. This is such an encouraging story, yet it also reminds me that many people had a part to play and to say Yes to the Lord.

    • Katrina

      Wow. Thank you for sharing - that was so encouraging and such a great reminder to obey those promptings and nudges, even if they don't seem to make sense.

    • Millie

      I love this story that God intervenes in everyday life.

    • Katherine Trotter

      What a wonderful encouraging story! May God bless you for sharing it.

    • Kristina Howell

      I am newly returned to my faith and desperately begging, pleading, and watching for God to lead me in the next steps and decisions. This is a sign ! Thank you 💖✝️

    • Jennifer

      Thank you for sharing.

    • Jeanne Netzer

      Very inspiring story! Would that we were all that sensitive to the Lord. He longs to use us and bless us. Thank you for writing out this episode from your life to encourage others to act on their faith. It’s so faith building and blesses the Lord! So great that so many in the author’s family were affected by this stop to help someone having a hard day.

    • Kathryn Poole

      Thank you

    • Albert Abel

      Praise God for the persistence He demonstrates in the loving of His people, to convince and woo them into closer relationship.

    • Ann Bornstein

      Thank you for sharing this profound experience of faith

    • Dave Wirick

      Than you for this witness. It really boosted my own prayer life, recharged it like a new battery. :-)

    • Barbara Lundberg

      Thank you. This is precious and beautiful and real. It’s like being given a cup of cold water in the desert. Thank you.

    • Josie

      Profound. Thanks for sharing this amazing story of faith and answered prayers.

    • Martha McDaniel Buckner

      This is a beautiful and encouraging story of faith. Thank you for sharing it.

    I am a pharmacist in a small town in Kentucky called Brodhead, and a lifelong member of the local Baptist church, where I have served as a deacon for several decades. My late father was my high school principal and my late mother was an English teacher and student counselor. My parents raised their three sons to understand that we needed faith, and that from that faith we would find ways to take action. My pharmacy work is one way the Lord allows me to help the people of our small community. This is a true story of an unexpected and inexplicable experience that would change my life and my faith forever.

    It was the sixth of August, 2003. I had just pulled into the driveway below my house and, as I started up the walk toward the door, I was overwhelmed by some of the things I’d been dealing with. We had a metal two-seat swing that hung from a large tree in our front yard. I stepped over to it, flopped down, looked skyward and exclaimed, “I really need to know that you are hearing my prayers, God!”

    At the time, my life seemed to be spiraling through a series of catastrophes. My mother was interned in a nursing home, having regressed through the stages of Alzheimer’s to the point where she was unable to communicate, recognize anyone, or even feed herself. My younger son had suffered a devastating ankle dislocation with multiple fractures during a high-school football game a year earlier, and now, as his junior season was starting, he was almost constantly dealing with severe pain. My older son, who was thirty years old and had battled an opioid addiction for years, was incarcerated on a drug charge, and I had made the difficult choice not to bail him out in order to teach him a lesson.

    “I don’t have to have my will done, I just need to know that you hear me.”

    I’d been trying earnestly to turn to God in prayer as my troubles mounted. By that point, however, instead of allowing God to work on his timetable, I was insisting that my prayers be answered immediately. “I don’t have to have my will done,” I said, “I just need to know that you hear me.” After a few silent minutes there on the swing in the darkness, I got up and went inside, embarrassed by my outburst and reasoning that I’d shown a lack of genuine faith.

    A few days later, on the following Sunday, I was driving home from church when it started to rain very hard. As I passed the high school on Highway 461, for some unexplainable reason I drove straight through the intersection with Old Brodhead Road and kept heading east toward the interstate. I mention this because I drive that route home from church every Sunday, and I always turn right at that particular intersection and head into Mount Vernon, because it’s the shortest way to my house. Yet, on that Sunday, I kept heading straight. Whether it was the rain, something I was thinking about, or just fate, I drove through the intersection and headed toward the next one, at a McDonald’s and a Rite Aid, where I turned right to head home.

    The rain had grown so strong that I could barely see. As I slowly passed McDonald’s, I made out the figure of a man walking in the rain, carrying a car battery on his shoulder and headed toward town. I drove past him, but I couldn’t ignore the thought that this stranded man, who probably had no idea where to buy a car battery in Mount Vernon, was going to have a very hard time finding a ride. After all, he was obviously a stranger, he’d been soaked through by the rain, and the fact that he appeared to be Hispanic would have deterred some people from picking him up. Then I realized that I might be one of those people. Quickly, I made a U-turn in a parking lot and headed back to McDonald’s. I turned around again and, pulling up beside the man, opened my passenger door and invited him inside.

    He was well built, about six feet tall, with striking features and thick black hair that, even rain-soaked, added to his appearance. He told me his car had stalled as he came down the hill, so he had veered right at the intersection and coasted into the McDonald’s parking lot. He’d removed his battery and begun walking, hoping to find an open garage or parts store where he could test his battery to determine whether it or his alternator was the problem.

    I was aware that a friend of mine, Wayne Taylor, who worked at the auto parts store on the hill heading out of the south side of town, had just started opening on Sundays due to some new competition. (In fact, that was the very first Sunday afternoon his store was set to be open.) I drove the man the three miles to the store. When we got there, Wayne offered to put the battery on the charger to find out if it would hold a charge. He explained that the recharge would take a little while, and the man asked me if, in the meantime, I could drive him back to McDonald’s so he could tell the people he was traveling with what was going on.

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    As we headed back into Mount Vernon curiosity overtook me and I asked the man, “Where are you from?”

    “I live in Atlanta,” he answered.

    Then I asked him, “What are you doing here?”

    “I brought an older lady from California here after I picked her up at the airport in Atlanta,” he said.

    “A lady from California flew to Atlanta so you could drive her to Kentucky?”

    “Yes,” he said.


    Looking directly at me as I drove, he said, “Do you believe in signs and wonders?”

    Although I was taken aback by his question, I answered with a simple “Yes.”

    As we drove along, he told me about a church in the middle of Los Angeles where, during a prayer service on the previous Wednesday night – the same night I had sat in my swing pleading with God for a sign that he was listening – this very spiritual older woman had been moved by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit, he said, had “put a fire on her back” and she had seen a vision of a black-haired woman sitting by a fountain praying for her sons. And even though the woman spoke no English, the Holy Spirit had made two words in English discernable to her as a part of her vision: “Kentucky” and “Dan.”

    The man explained that because this older lady was so revered within her church, the members of that poor congregation had decided to take up an offering in order to fly her and her husband to Atlanta if he – the man I’d picked up – would agree to drive them to Kentucky so the woman could complete her mission. Because he knew this woman and her closeness to God, the man had agreed that he and his wife would drive the woman and her husband to Kentucky, provided that he could make it back to Atlanta by Sunday night so he wouldn’t have to miss work.

    The man said that, as they’d planned, the old couple had arrived in Atlanta on Friday, and the four of them had gotten into his car and departed for Kentucky with only two words to guide them. Since one word was “Kentucky” and the other was “Dan,” they’d decided to drive to Danville, Kentucky. Arriving in Danville, they had gotten a motel room for the night before spending all day Saturday searching for the black-haired woman from the vision. They had searched through the streets of Danville, looked in places of business, and even driven through the suburbs, all to no avail.

    When they woke up on Sunday morning, he explained to the older woman that he had to get back to his job in Atlanta before his shift started that night. The four of them got in his car and started driving south toward I-75 to head back to Atlanta. When they noticed a Danville Avenue as they passed through the small town of Stanford, the group made one more search, but once again failed to spot the woman who had appeared in the vision.

    At that point, he said, he had set his thoughts on getting home to Atlanta. But as they were passing Mount Vernon, his car suddenly stalled and all he could do was coast to a stop in the McDonald’s parking lot. It was one o’clock on Sunday afternoon, he said, and he desperately needed to get home so he could clock in at work before midnight, but there he was, stuck in Mount Vernon, Kentucky, with a car that wouldn’t run. He’d tried to restart the car only to find that his battery was completely dead; not knowing what else to do, he’d unhooked the dead battery and began carrying it toward town. He had no idea if there was a garage nearby, or if it would be open, and on top of everything else it began to pour with rain.

    “I was getting frustrated,” he admitted. As he walked through the rain, he’d been praying for his faith not to waver, but he was beginning to have doubts about their mission. “I prayed to God to just show me a sign,” he said. “I prayed for God to please show me he’s listening to my prayers.” Just then, I had pulled up beside him and offered to drive him to the parts store. He saw my act of kindness and the fact that the store was open as God’s way of showing that he was indeed listening.

    As we drove through Mount Vernon, I changed course unexpectedly. Instead of proceeding through town to McDonald’s, I turned left at the Snack Shack restaurant and headed toward my home.

    “Why do you turn here?” he asked.

    “Probably because I’m crazy,” I remember saying, “but I need to stop at my house.”

    I went into our house and found my wife in the kitchen. I asked her to come with me. She got into the back seat, a little confused, and the three of us headed to McDonald’s. When we got there, we found the man’s wife and the older couple waiting in the broken-down car. I watched a tender smile grow on the older woman’s face as she realized that her young friend from Atlanta was sitting next to me and that someone had shown him kindness. A moment later, her smile turned into a gasp. She pressed one hand against her heart and raised the other toward heaven. Her friend who had left carrying a dead car battery had not only returned with help but had brought with him the woman with black hair from her vision.

    My mind was spinning as the younger man translated this. My wife and I decided to take the others back to our house where, although they insisted they weren’t hungry, my wife began to cook something for them. Meanwhile, I took my new young friend back to the parts store to check on his battery which, it turned out, was not the source of his car troubles. He needed a new alternator, so we used the recharged battery to drive his car up to the parts store, where Wayne loaned him the tools needed to install the new alternator. After the car was fixed, we drove back to my house and found the woman from California still looking out our large plate-glass windows at the pool and the fountain that she had seen in her vision.

    She pressed one hand against her heart and raised the other toward heaven.

    After we’d talked a few minutes, I took her to the jail because she wanted to meet with my older son. Her husband came along to serve as translator. Because Sunday was the regular visiting day at the jail, the visitation room was fairly crowded with people standing and talking through telephone handsets to loved ones who looked back at them from behind plexiglass. The three of us – the lady, her husband, and I – stood huddled together in the small space opposite my son, who glanced at me with a look of genuine confusion.

    After I’d explained what little I could, I gave the handset to the older gentleman so he could relay his wife’s words. As she spoke, I remember how everyone in that room, both visitors and prisoners, shifted their focus from their own conversations to the lady. With my son – and practically everyone else – listening closely, she told him about the week’s events, about her vision, and about how she had come to be there in that room to speak with him. She looked directly at him as she spoke, saying that God had sent her to tell him that he must take responsibility for his own life and also allow God to direct his path. She did not promise anything, but she prayed for him intensely and put the responsibility for making a change in his life squarely on him. She also assured him that, if he made the right decisions, God would do his part and open doors for him.

    My son has been clean for fifteen years now, living in total abstinence of drugs and alcohol. God took away his compulsion and gave him positive things to focus on. He now has a job he enjoys, a wonderful wife, and a beautiful daughter.

    After we left the jail, we went back to my house. My younger son had come home by then. The lady had us make a circle around him and pray. She seemed to understand that sometimes pain is something we have to endure, but that if we look to God for strength, he will help us to endure it. For the next two years, my son did have to overcome a great deal of pain, but he never missed another game and had a fulfilling high school football career. He now works in the federal prison system, and he and his wife have blessed us with twin grandsons and a granddaughter.

    And what about Dan? My wife had long had concerns about the eternal security of her late father, whose name was Dan. When the woman from California told her the name Dan had come to her in the vision, my wife took that as God’s way of assuring her that her father’s profession of faith, made on his deathbed at eighty-eight years of age, was genuine.

    When the older couple returned to their home in California, she told her congregation the news of what had transpired. As a result, she said, a wonderful spirit of revival had filled their hearts and caused many people to put their faith in Jesus Christ.

    What occurs to me now is not only the blessing of all this and the realization that I would have missed every bit of it if I hadn’t followed God’s lead and turned around to help a man on the street in the rain; I’ve also come to wonder about just how many other times in my life I have ignored the Holy Spirit’s guidance and kept on driving when I was supposed to have stopped.

    In the years since this experience, I haven’t told very many people this story. However, I now feel I need to put it in writing to encourage other people who might be dealing with a similar situation, in which they need to know that, even though they might not see the immediate results they want, God is listening to their prayers.

    Contributed By

    Howard Saylor is a pharmacist in Brodhead, Kentucky.

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