“Let’s go on a drive and get out of the city,” Joseph said one Sabbath afternoon as we enjoyed Sabbath lunch.
“Sure,” I said, “that sounds like fun. Let me clear the table and get the kids ready to go.”
Soon we were all piled into our little vehicle with the kids sandwiched between Grandma and me. Once we left the busy highway and construction trucks, the roads were mostly dirt, and rice fields stretched out between communities. We stopped to go for a walk in a recently-harvested rice field as the sun was setting.
That is when we realized we would have a long, cold ride home. The sun had set, which meant it was cooling off quickly, and our three-wheeled vehicle had open sides. It was well after sundown when we passed through a community. We stopped to see if we could buy a blanket. The first shop didn’t have one. The owner of the second shop informed us that all shops that sold blankets were closed because it was after dark. “Are you sure there isn’t anything available?” I asked again. “My kids are really cold!”
The shop owner called his wife over. “These kids are really cold. Could we sell them that new rug you just got? It would keep the kids warm. Suzy,” he turned to his 10-year-old daughter, “you know that blanket you have? Could you share it with their little girl?” Soon he and his daughter sped away on their motorbike to gather warmth for us.
Soon a handful of people from the community gathered around, wanting to know what was going on. A grandmother was very concerned for my mother’s health. “Please, you can come sleep at my house. It isn’t dusty there,” she told me. Then, turning to my mom, “You can sleep at my place. I’ll have my friend drop you off in the morning.”
Soon Suzy and the shop owner returned with blankets. We happily paid for them and had a warm return ride. But it wasn’t just our bodies that were warmed. Our hearts were also warned by these strangers’ kindness and consideration of our needs. I thank God for this lovely family and their neighbors who went out of their way to help us, and I pray that we will meet them again.