You’re stranded in a foreign city for a day with no money and no friends. Where do you go; what do you do?
Jerry was young, twenty-two years old, and afraid. His twenty-five year old Volkswagen slowed even though he was able to rev the engine. He was in the middle of Mexico on a blistering day. He was blonde in a country full of black hair.
He left the highway rather than stay on it. He turned where he saw a road sign that directed him to a town five kilometers away.
Two years earlier he became part of a new religion, at least for him and his family it was new. He became a Jehovah’s Witnesses to the chagrin of his entire family. He dropped from college. His parents were bitter. He stopped associating and carousing with his old friends. In fact, his parents asked him to leave the home as long as he was a Jehovah’s Witness and wasn’t perusing a degree in college.
He shared an apartment with two other male Jehovah’s Witnesses until a year ago. They moved to a small town in Mexico on the Pacific Ocean. Jerry was driving there to visit them. It would have made more sense to fly, but he wanted to see the country; sort of a one man road trip. He looked forward to seeing them again and secretly held out the hope they might invite him to live with them in Mexico.
As he and the car limped along a badly paved road to the town on the road sign he recalled stories he heard about people whose car broke down. They were beaten, robbed, and he even heard stories of people killed. He prayed to make it to the town and to safety.
He thought that if something happened to him it would surely reflect badly about his faith in the minds of his family and friends. “I must put my trust in Jehovah,” he muttered.
At last he found himself in the middle of a small town. It seemed like the car’s last breath brought him to this spot. He tried speaking to a few people to ask if they knew of an auto repair shop. No one understood English and everybody looked at him strangely and suspiciously. He had never felt so alone and alienated in his life. It was much worse than the times he’d show up at home when the family got together and they treated him as if an outsider because he changed religion.
He remembered what an older Jehovah’s Witness told him before the trip. “No matter where you are in the world, as a Jehovah’s Witness, you will always have brothers and sisters. You are never a stranger in a foreign land. You are never alone.” He then quoted from the gospel of Mark chapter ten, “’Truly I say to YOU men, No one has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for my sake and for the sake of the good news who will not get a hundredfold.’” Than the old friend offered a piece of advice, “If you ever find yourself lost or need help just hold up a Watchtower and Awake magazine so everybody can see; your brothers and sisters will find you.”
He believed that and now tested.
Jerry pulled the magazines from the passenger seat of his car and held them high over his head. A couple of minutes later a man came to him and started speaking excitedly in Spanish. He urged Jerry to follow him. They walked to a small house not far away. It was the house of the man’s brother.
The man who brought him to the house was not a Jehovah’s Witness, but his brother was. He was also a mechanic.
Jerry spent the night. The man repaired the car. (The best Volkswagen mechanics in the world live in Mexico.)
Jerry eventually made it to visit his friends. After a couple of hours of getting reacquainted, updating on old friends, and sharing stories he called his parents to let them know he arrived safely. “Dad, you’re not going to believe what happened on the way here, but…”
Jerry eventually moved to Mexico at his friends’ urging. A couple of years later his parents decided to take a road trip to visit him. Jerry sent them a Watchtower and Awake magazine with a note that read, “Just in case, it’s better than triple A.”
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