She was so eager and ready to make a real change in her life since she had just trusted Christ as her Savior the Sunday before. She was just like a child retelling stories to us from the Bible. It was truly amazing to see how God was working in her heart and life. On the ride up she began to profess her heart and how she wanted to see her family saved. She also spoke of all the people that had hurt her in the past and how she wanted them to know Jesus. WOW! Like Mark said, "this is what it is all about". When you are in a car with someone for 14 plus hours you can learn alot about them. The whole trip she read her Bible and asked questions. She also spoke about getting her life back together so that she could be with her kids. See, she was pregnant and married at the age of 13. Her new husband was 18 at the time. You can imagine how her life went from there. She never really had a stable home and role model to look up too. Her mom was addicted to drugs and well, I never heard her say anything about her dad. She was married with kids, no home, evicted from place to place and lost. Then her and her husband split up and she started dating another guy that beat on her. That brings us to today. She is 22, pregnant with her 6 baby. Three are in children's homes and 1 she lost in a miscarriage and 1 she gave up for adoption and now 1 on the way. Here was a girl who needed help and wanted help.
We stopped for the night in Georgia and to be honest, I was afraid that she might run, just given her past. But to my surprise, I woke the next morning to see her still sleeping peacefully. She woke up and got ready and was so excited about her new life getting ready to begin. A friend of mine had written some Bible verses on note cards for us so that when we needed a "Spiritual Pick-Me-Up" we could pull one out. They were so helpful for us that I thought I would pass on the idea. I began to search my Bible for verses that would be encouraging to her on this new venture. I normally can not read and write in the car without getting sick but the Lord gave me the ability to do so for the next 45 minutes or so. By the time I had finished the note cards and written her a letter we were not to far from our destination. We were so happy to be in North Carolina that we just had to stop and eat at Bojangles.(MAN was it GOOD!).(lol)
We arrived at the gate and drove through to meet with the head of the ladies home. Boy, the burden that was on my heart was heavy just like I were dropping off one of my own children. She began to cry and we tried to console her as she pushed back the tears. Mark had brought her bags in and a number for her and said, "we are praying for you and love you". She broke in the elevator on her way up to her room. "Miranda", I said; You can do this only one year and it will be done and you will be back with your kids." She said that she knew and she could do it. We prayed together for God to give her strength and encouragement. When I left her she was sitting on her bed with her Bible. You see she never really had a childhood and all she wanted was for someone to hold her hand and tell her yes and no about every situation in life. Unfortunately, she is 22 and an adult now and she has to make decisions on her own. So,.....that day we left Miranda to start her new life.
We were so excited to be in N.C. and no-one knew we were there. So you can imagine as we drove from house to house giving our surprises. Everyone was so excited. We saw a ton of people including Mark's buddies from the fire station. It was nice to see so many friends and family. We stayed the night at Mark's sisters house in Fuquay and we were going to the beach in the morning.
The next morning we woke to take a short 2 hour drive to see Mark's parents and other sister at the beach. While driving the short drive....lol...I was chatting with my momma about the things that had happened the day before and she was eager to start praying and writing Miranda at the home. Then, I will never forget what happened next. We were about 25 minutes from his parents house and my phone rang for a call waiting call. I ignored the first one because I did not recognize the number. Then it rang again. I said, "Momma hold on I need to take this call." On the other line was a voice from the Mission. "Yes", is this Amy Coats. I replied, "yes it is". We just wanted to let you know that Miranda has decided to leave. Of coarse my voice shouted out ......"WHAT?" "Can I talk to her?" They tried to catch her but she was already gone. Mark's heart and mine just sunk. We were so upset that she had ran off that we missed our exit. We have been driving that way forever and knew where it was but in the mayhem of things we passed right by it. What can you do with someone who does not want to follow through on what you know is best for them. You PRAY that God will lead them back home.
Mark ended up making a stop at a BP Gas station that we would have never stopped at, after that, and you will never believe what happened next. Again, the Lord has perfect timing. I tried to be cheery and greet the people sitting on the front stoop of the store with a southern hello and smile. Then, I went in with Taylor to the restroom. When we came out those folks asked where we were from and what we were doing up here. I told them about us training as missionaries to go to Honduras. The lady asked "Are you a Christian?" I replied with a "Yes Mam". She said well what kind are you? You know sometimes people get so caught up in a name that they forget what being a Christian really means. So my answer to her was simply this....."Mam, I am just a sinner that Jesus saved by HIS Grace". Oh the spark of questions that flew from that point. I told Taylor to run go get my Bible out of the van. The Holy Spirit has a way of working and opening up doors, so for the next 10-15 minutes or so, with the help of The Lord, and my Bible I was able to share with these people the love of Jesus Christ. One of the men must have been "Judas".....I say that because he did everything he could to distract the other two from the truths of God's word. However, they sat on the edge of their chairs and continued to ask questions. You know when the Holy Spirit moves you can tell especially in the life of the unsaved.
The story to tell would go on and on about the things the lady had asked. I asked them if they were to die today did they know where they would go? The one man Mr. Bob( this is his real name) said that he knew that Jesus was in fact in his life but he also knew that Jesus was not happy with the life he was living. He said that he wanted to change and hoped that his wife (Ms. Lynette) would trust Christ as her Savior. She was a hard cookie. Saying that there was no such place as hell or Heaven and that when people die they are either buried in the ground or cremated. I told her with tears in my eyes, "Ms. Lynette, I am sorry that you believe that way but I have to tell you the truth. The truth is that there is a real Heaven and there is a real Hell and when you die you are going to one of those places. Then, I looked into her eyes, and told her that unless she trusted Jesus as her Savior, she would in fact wake up in Hell. The tears started to swell up in her eyes. I could feel that God was in fact moving there. I gave her verse after verse of the Romans Road and John 3:16. Both Mr. Bob and Ms. Lynette were in tears that Saturday. I would like to be able to tell you that Ms. Lynette trusted Christ as her Savior that day but with me she did not. I do believe however, that the seed was either planted or watered that day.
WOW! I was able to share the Gospel on the front porch of a gas station. That was something that I have never done before, but again God was in it all the way. I did invite them to church the next morning and even got their address and phone number. We tried to pick them up but we could not get a hold of them. Please pray for all three people plus Miranda. We were however, able to leave the information with Pastor Mark Foster of Liberty Baptist Church in Hampsted NC so that he can follow up on them and get them into church. By the way they are a great church where they are seeing souls saved and baptized and teaching them how the Bible says that they should live.(just in case you need a church when you go on vacation).
We attended the service at Liberty and then we drove off to see all of our friends at Hilltop, which is our home church. It was so awesome to be there for the kick-off of their revival services. It was also such a wonderful feeling to be welcomed by friends, some with tears and lots of hugs just as if we had never left. That night we chatted with friends and family like we had been gone for years, and it felt good to be back HOME.
We stayed the night again at Wendy's house and woke up early Monday morning to start our long drive home. I would like to say that this is where my story ends but .......it is not. We drove until we heard a loud BOOM and the car start to shake. We were just outside of Timmonsville, S.C. The back van tire had a bad spot in it and blew out. Hold on there is more, not only did it blow out but it bent up some hoses and pipes under the van causing two pipes to get holes in them that were part of the radiator. Anti-freeze was leaking all over the ground. Again, if that was not enough the devil threw in that there was no spare tire on the van along with no lug wrench and it started to rain. LOL......ok being stuck on the side of the road for 4 hours with three kids is no fun. However, thank the Lord for His servants and having a portable DVD player in the van. A man by the name of Mr. Ward was kind enough to leave his home and come help us by going to buy a tire and bringing it back to us. He also brought the tools that we needed and stayed until we were able to get off and running again. Mark was so cold and wet that his hands shook trying to put the lugs back on. But in all things you give Glory to God and thank Him for what he has blessed you with because it could have been worse. So, 1,741 miles later we are back at our home in Tampa. I hope that this did not bore you and that you were able to follow the words of just a simple southern girl. But I do want to ask that again you pray for the people that were in this blog. (Miranda, Ms. Lynette, Mr. Bob, Don(my Judas) and Mr. Ward.
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: