Friday, September 08, 2006

City of Brotherly Love

This week's challenge is titled Angels Among Us. I believe we all have the potential to be angels for and in behalf of our Heavenly Father. I believe strongly that through us, he does his work on this earth. Here is my story of four such angels who were ready, willing and able to go above and beyond the call of duty:

In 1996, Michael was accepted into a Masters of Biomedical Science program at PCOM in Philadelphia. We received notice of his acceptance at the end of July. He was to start classes on the 26th of August! We didn't really have the time, nor did we have the money for either of us to make the trip to Philly to find a place to live before moving out there.

So, we packed our two kids and as many of the necessities of life as we could into our little red Honda Civic and accompanying roof carrier and set off for Philadelphia. After 30 hours of driving, we entered that great city. But where was it? It wasn't like the West, where you could see a Motel 6 or Super 8 off every exit. In fact, we couldn't even tell we were in the city at all, there were so many trees. We had no idea where we were going, where we were going to stay and the day just kept getting worse.

I was driving and I decided to get off at a certain exit, so we could try and find a motel. We figured we had enough money to stay a few nights and we would be able to find an apartment or something to rent near the school. Suddenly, we found ourselves in a very scary neighborhood, going the wrong way down a one-way street (oh-so very common in Philadelphia.) After some big tears of frustration on my part (I had never driven in a big city before) Michael got out of the car right in the middle of the street and took over driving (I do have an excuse as I was several months pregnant at the time!)

He figured his way out of the neighborhood (which we later learned was one of the more dangerous parts of Philly) and navigated his way to the medical school. There were several hotels near the school, but they were NICE hotels, charging several hundred dollars a night more than we could afford. It was getting dark and the kids were tired and hungry, tired of being in the car for two whole days.

I pulled out the phone number of a family and told Michael we should call them. Our bishop in Canada had phoned the bishop in Philadelphia, and he had given us the name and number of this couple. The man was a medical student at the school Michael would be attending. That's all we knew. They were members of our church and he went to PCOM. So we found a payphone in the parking lot of ACME and called Brian and Patrice Clements. They immediately invited us to their house, never having even met us and had us stay with them for a few nights. They fed us, they housed us, they helped us find a place to live. They became some of our dearest friends ever and still are.

But the story doesn't end there, and our lives were touched by even more angels. The house that we found to rent wouldn't be available for a month. We couldn't really stay with Brian and Patrice that long, even though they offered. They had two children as well, and there just wasn't enough room for all eight of us. But they had some friends (also members of our church) who had a house nearby. These friends were out in Utah, visiting family, until mid-September, when Wharton's PhD program would start again. Brian called and Taylor and Janet Randall immediately agreed that we could stay in their house until our housing was available.

We were going to move into this family's house, with all their stuff there. They don't know us from Adam, and yet, they were totally willing to let us to stay in their home. And Janet and Taylor also became the dearest of friends. Lifelong, best-of-the-best, angels-in-disguise, friends.

Matthew 25:37-40
37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
39 Or when saw we thee asick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have adone it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.