I have known Misha for several years and every time I sit across from her, I am amazed by her passion and her desire and sensitivity to live life guided by God in every decision and move she makes. She truly sees God as personal, alive and speaking and she invites everyone around her to look for Him. Misha shares this story of how she has seen God first hand lead her very purposely. Read part one…. – Willow
I woke up one Friday and before I had even opened my eyes I heard a voice whisper: Tomorrow morning you are going to wake up in a different country. I squinted at the brightness coming through my blinds. It was a sunny morning in the Sangre de Cristo mountains and I could hear my roommate stirring in her room next door.
I was working with Youth with a Mission – or YWAM as it’s called – an interdenominational, non-profit missionary organization that trains 25,000 volunteers each year to serve around the world. I lived on a rustic ranch in Southern Colorado and I was helping to lead a six-month school full of young people enthusiastic about volunteering for others. But as far as I knew we had no plans to be going overseas any time this weekend.
I sat up in bed and had the distinct sense I should start packing. It was such a strong feeling that I actually started doing it. But packing for where? And for what? The only thing that came to my mind as I got up and stumbled around trying to think straight, was that one of my dearest friends had just had a baby. She lived in Vancouver, British Columbia and the more I put clothes in my duffel, the more I felt maybe I was supposed to go see her.
In fact, as my bag slowly filled, I had a distinct sense that I should go call our travel agent about tickets to Vancouver. But why would I suddenly be flying out to see her at such short notice? I didn’t know exactly what was going on and I felt pretty embarrassed by it all as my roommate came out and saw me packing.
I went down the hill on the ranch property where I lived and tried to scootch into the office without anyone noticing what I was doing. “Tim?” I asked quietly, calling the travel agent that we did a lot of bookings with, “I know this is a little last minute but I am wondering about any tickets to Vancouver, Canada … Do you know of any that could get me there by tomorrow morning?” I heard him typing away on his computer, and as far as I could tell no one in the office was overhearing my conversation.
“That’s weird,” I heard him mumble, he pecked and muttered some more. “Actually I would’ve laughed at you if I wasn’t looking right at this,” he said, “but there is some availability on a flight out of Colorado Springs super early tomorrow morning. I didn’t think there would be! You’re in luck!” I gulped and didn’t know exactly what to say. Ask him how much the ticket is, I felt the soft voice inside of me again.
“Well that’s the amazing thing,” Tim said back to me, “it’s a crazy price of around $413. It’s so reasonable I can hardly believe it.” This time I really swallowed hard. I knew enough about airline tickets to know this was amazing, but I also knew I had next to nothing in my bank account. Where was I supposed to get $400, and for that matter, why was I even booking an airline ticket to go on a trip I had no idea I was planning to go on?
I asked Tim to give me a little bit of time and I’d get back to him. “Sure,” he said, “but hurry. This is a great deal!” By now I had most definitely attracted some attention in the office and I had more than a few co-workers watching me curiously as I hung up. I felt all their eyes on me. “Going somewhere?” one friend asked. I looked around to find every one, at every desk, turned toward me.
“I’m not actually sure,” I said self-consciously and I slowly began to tell them what I had felt as I had woken up less than an hour before. To my complete shock a friend at the desk next to me handed me some cash. “I think it’s exciting,” she said, “Go find out why God told you that!” And the very folks I was afraid of letting down by jetting off, all nodded their heads around the room and offered to pray for me. I called my girlfriend in Canada and told her I was on the way.
By this time I was truly nervous. I had semi-hoped someone would challenge me on the lunacy of this little idea. I knew I could go and not be irresponsible. I knew I had the weekend off. But it just seemed so far-fetched and crazy! I had gone to bed the night before preparing to spend the weekend with our students and woken up suddenly planning to pack my bags on a trip I’d not even thought about until now.
Throughout the course of the morning the story of my crazy phone call began to spread through the dining hall and to our students and staff. To my complete surprise by lunchtime I had been given over $400 to buy the ticket Travel Agent Tim had told me about. Shaking my head over and over, I went back to the office and called to book the ticket. “Oh no,” Tim said when I told him I wanted to buy it, “I think I forgot to tell you – if you didn’t get back to me by noon the ticket went up by over $200.” My mouth dropped open.
Well, that settled it! I didn’t have to go? Maybe God was just seeing if I was willing to go? Maybe I was a little overzealous? But, admittedly relieved, I hung up the phone and shook my head to my now very invested co-workers. “The price went up, ” I explained, “I don’t have enough for the ticket anymore.” And just like that a couple other friends handed me the balance and picked up the phone for me and put it in my hand. I called Tim back, bought the ticket and arranged to stay that night at a friend’s house in the city. It appeared I was going.
There are a lot of things I don’t know about God, but one thing I did know that evening was that if He was going to this much trouble to make this trip happen, He probably had a purpose in it. And to be honest, that alone made me nervous. What was He up to? And why involve someone as frightened as me?
I made it to Canada safely – waking up on the flight in a different country exactly like God had said – and I had a beautiful time with my girlfriend Knowing what I know about God, that honestly would have been enough reason for Him to orchestrate the whole spontaneous trip. But all weekend long I had the nagging feeling that there was more.
Another friend who lived in Vancouver had offered to drive me back down to Seattle to catch my flight home. We chit-chatted a bit on the way to the border but as we were driving along my friend got more and more worried. “Mish,” she said, “this stop-and-go traffic is much worse than I expected. I may not have enough petrol. I have to be back at work by a certain time and I may not be able to get you all the way to the airport!”
By this time we had pulled up to the big Peace Arch border between Canada and Washington State and the lines were extremely long. Everywhere we looked, on every side, there were long stretches of people idling in their cars as frustrated as could be. As I looked around us I again heard that distinct whisper inside of me: There is a red car that is going to take you to the airport.
I looked at my friend’s car to double-check. Definitely not red. My heart sunk. I was not liking this trip after all. I was in long lines, at a big border, feeling like God had just told me that a different colored car than the one I was in was going to take me to the airport. Did He need reminding that His words sounded crazy and even potentially dangerous?
I looked behind us and all around us and noticed some sweet, elderly couples in red sedans. Oh, I thought, Okay. Maybe I needed to be really brave and ask these elderly couples if they were headed to SeaTac International Airport?
As I was debating both my sanity and my ride, the lines sped up and we were suddenly through the border and headed down the I-5 on the way to Seattle. No sooner had I taken a huge sigh of relief then the little VW bug we were in started coughing and sputtering and my it came to a complete stop on the side of the road. We were officially stuck.
Feeling broke, foolish and like a great inconvenience to my sweet friend I started praying hard… and paying attention to the color of every car that passed us on the highway. Green, blue, white, tan. So far, so safe. Then I heard the sound of a car pulling up behind us and I could vaguely see two young guys in the front seat.
The car was definitely and distinctly red.
As my friend and I looked at each other wide-eyed, the two young men got out of the car in tank tops and covered in tattoos. “God,” I thought fiercely, “it is very clear that this is satan’s red car and I would appreciate it very much if you would deal with it right now. And please,” I added a little less bossy, “can we not die?”
The boys were smiling as they sauntered over. “Hey ladies,” they called out, “looks like you ran out of gas. Can we be of any help?” My friend and I looked at each other alarm bells going off everywhere in our heads. “Hey,” they stopped and called out from behind our car, “we don’t want to make you nervous. We have a gas can in our car. Can we go get you some and bring it back for you?” I raised my eyebrows. Polite satan’s red car?
We thanked them (with our doors still locked) and said that would actually be very helpful and as they headed back to their car one of the guys called back “By the way,” he said, “we’re headed down to the airport if either of you need a ride?”
part two to come next…