An Unexpected Encounter

Sometimes our Father unexpectedly intersects our lives to personally and directly speak with his weak, doubting, and insecure kids in a way that communicates to us, “Don’t be afraid”, “I know”, or “I am still with you.”  Remember Jesus, Nathanael and the fig tree in the 1st chapter of John’s book?  I was driving down the road two days ago on my way to a “mentoring” time at a friend’s house when I was excitedly waved over by a woman who I had worked with perhaps twice in one of our town’s six clinics more than a year ago when the town had lost all of its clinic docs.  She introduced herself (Aneilde) and began to speak to me excitedly about a “vision” she’d had about me and my family.  I was having some difficulty following her but I could make out that she was saying that in the dream I was praying about a major change in my life and that I was especially concerned for, and praying for, my kids and my family.  This caught my attention for reasons explained below.  She asked if I had kids and I told her that I did and she appeared relieved.  Though I was not following her well on the noisy road, I was interested in what I thought she was saying so I asked her to come to our house two days later to explain in more detail.  She was a young woman of about 30 and a member of another church in our town.  She was humble, uncertain, and appeared genuine.


She arrived at the appointed time and explained that this all had come to her while she was praying at midday about three weeks prior and that this had come to her in the clearest “vision” that she had ever had for another person.  She began to draw for me a picture of a simple river house in great detail (various trees and plants, sidewalk, porch, path, etc).  She said that at this house there was a large party taking place and I was isolated in a quiet room praying.  She said that I was speaking to God about a big change in my life and about concerns that I had about my kids and my family over the change.  She said she almost couldn’t believe it the other day when I told her that we were moving to Angola.  She asked where Angola was and when I told her, it registered that we were looking at a pretty big change in our lives.  She had tears in her smiling eyes as she explained further.  She said that in the vision God was saying to me that He was going before us and with us in this change and that there would be many difficulties ahead but that He would be with us.  She said that He especially wanted me to know that I did not need to worry about my kids and that they were especially precious to Him and that He would care for them.  She emphasized the significance of especially what God was sharing with me about my kids.  She said also that my wife had many concerns about the change but wasn’t voicing them.


She said that she immediately told a friend about her “vision” and that she didn’t know what to do with it, if it was from God, etc.  She didn’t know me, where I lived, etc.  She and her friend prayed and thought that God directed them to wait and that if she was to share it with me, we would cross paths, even though she thought it unlikely because she hadn’t seen me since she had briefly worked with me over a year ago.


What is even more remarkable about this is that during this time (three weeks prior) I had been on an extended fast, trying to get my heart in the right place for both my leaving our current Mission and for our upcoming move.  I had been wrestling with doubts and uncertainty about whether God was indeed directing our family to take on another big change.  I was truly concerned for Bets and the kids in what “I” was asking of them.  Interestingly, during the fast God had personally shared much with me about how to handle various aspects of our leaving and nothing about our move to Africa.  I had shared my frustration several times in our missionary small groups about my lack of hearing anything about Africa.  What Aneilde revealed about Bets was accurate as Bets has been quite upbeat about our coming major move and for several months had shared virtually nothing about her concerns.


I have received “words” in the past similar to this when the speaker knew something about my circumstances, but nothing in quite this way, from someone who knew little about me, in this kind of detail, with this kind of timing.  Though our communication isn’t what it will be one day, I am once again encouraged by the gracious God that I serve and the concern that He has for me and for each member of my family, as we imperfectly endeavor to follow His leading while looking through the familiar dim glass.  I am so glad that my Father wants to communicate with me and will find ways to do so, often in ways that I wouldn’t expect.


“I am with you always…”                                                                                                       2-16-2011


  1. Thanks for sharing this encouragement, Tim. There are always times when it is hard to remember that our God will indeed communicate clearly with us, and hearing about God’s loving reminders to others gives hope for our own situations…

    Remember, too, that many of us are praying with and for your family during this transition time…

    Love to all of you–

  2. Oh Tim, how wonderful our God is! He truly cares for His kids, doesn’t he? I’m very thankful about the way He spoke His reassurances to you. Recently He has done the same for me, and I need to write a blog about it as well. I think it’s so important to share these things, so that others are encouraged to listen for the Father’s voice.

    Love and miss you guys! Patty

  3. Our God is an awesome God, He reigns from heaven above with wisdom power and love, Our God is an awesome God.
    Praise the Lord for his sweet covering of you and your family. What a blessing, what a testimony.

  4. Tim,
    God is so good! I will continue to pray for you and Betsy and the kids as you prepare for your new mission. Thank you for sharing this awesome divine intervention! Kim wolford

  5. Tim what a wonderful God story! I love how much He cares about every aspect of our lives. That His timing is always right. Oh how He loves…..

  6. Tim,

    Once again I am so encouraged and lifted up by the words you share. God is with us.

    BTW God unexpectedly provided the RV we needed at a miracle price! The journey continues.


  7. Wow this really helps and amazing story too. My family has recently moved away from our church and we now go to the Ann arbor vineyard actully. Before we left people had visons of this maybe our first small move with a bigger on to come. Nowing god cares always get u though things.

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