On Assignment - Salvation Army Canada


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  • Jan16Thu

    On Assignment

    The woman was wandering the streets of Kingston, alone and confused. What could we do to help? January 16, 2014 by Ron Wong
    Filed Under:
    Faith & Friends
    Toward the end of 2004, my wife and I felt like long-distance runners gasping toward the finish line. As official members of The Salvation Army in Kingston, Ont., Christmas had been a whirligig of activities such as manning the Salvation Army kettles, band engagements, church activities and visitations. We were looking forward to a few days of downtime before the beginning of the new year.

    In my occupation as an account manager with a manufacturer, one of my Quebec customers was on the verge of a shutdown due to a shortage of product. I decided to run it up to Montreal myself on my day off so that they could make their production deadline. To keep me company, my wife, Fran, joined me.

    Arriving back home in Kingston after an exhausting eight-hour round trip, we decided to retire early when the phone rang.

    “Mom? Dad? Can you babysit the kids tonight while we go out with some friends for supper?” our son asked us.

    Grandparents never turn down babysitting requests so, as tired as we were, we arranged to meet them at a downtown restaurant and pick up the grandkids.

    Tasked to Serve
    We arrived 20 minutes before the rendezvous. Across the street, Fran noticed an elderly woman with a bewildered look on her face, wandering back and forth in front of the restaurant.

    My concerned wife went to investigate while I kept watch for our family. Fran found out that the woman was looking for her car. From her disjointed replies, Fran realized that the woman was suffering from some form of dementia. She had driven from her home some 30 kilometres away to the downtown area, but she couldn't remember why and she couldn't even tell us what make of car she had, let alone where it was. Her key chain gave us no hint as to the car model.

    Princess Street was lined with dozens of vehicles for several city blocks. Despite driving her up and down, she couldn't identify her vehicle.

    How can we help this woman? we wondered. Suddenly, we had an idea. We retraced our steps, only this time we used the car remote to see if we could activate the lights. After combing the main street without success we tried the side streets and finally found the right car.

    Happy and relieved, the woman assured us that she would be able to make her way home and, by later dialing the telephone number we'd found in her purse, we were able to confirm with her worried family that she had indeed returned home safely.

    Have you ever had the impression that God had a specific task for you to do at a specific time and place? Although exhausted by the long car ride and four hours of babysitting, we arrived home happy and energized, knowing we had accomplished our God-given task.

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