God's plan is so much better then ours, don't you think?
Last weekend my sister, Meg, and I took a trip to Portland. Really, it was for no other reason then to connect and love on each other.
As most of you already know, I'm headed off to West Point in a little less then a month. This summer is going to be intense as I go through basic training and move towards cadet life at the academy.
My sister wanted to take me somewhere for us to connect. We threw around some ideas, but none of them seemed to fit the grid for a place to both have fun, and connect with my sister. Finally, I landed on Portland.
I think my sister thought it was a pretty odd place for me to suggest, seeing as other ideas had been Lagoon and Silverwood (both theme parks.) Why Portland? Why not? I'd heard from several people that Portland is the cat's pajamas, and I simply had to go there and see what's up. As my sis had been there before, I figured she could lead the expedition, not to mention the fact that she is great with directions (not a strong point for me.) Still, she felt more comfortable with having my GPS enabled iPhone with us.
My sister made the plans early on (about a month ago) and we were looking forward to the trip with anticipation, and rightly so! After all, where two or more Mansfield's (or Roe's) are gathered, there incredible fun can be found.
Last Saturday at 6am the trip began. We arrived in Portland at 6am, due to the hour flight and time change that worked in our favor. Here are the highlights of the trip, and how Papa really showed up:
Click here to read the rest.
"Alright, wanna get your phone out Luey?"
My sister was referring to our navigation device that I typically have attached to my hip. Feeling at the case on my side, my eyes suddenly went wide and my mind was filled with a singular thought, which escaped through my lips:
Meg looked me in the eyes, saw their transformation into saucers, and asked,
"You have your phone, right?"
Looking down at my empty case I responded,
"Um. No...I must have left it on the Max!"
Right at that instant, the train's doors shut behind us, and it took off for the next stop. Thinking quickly my sister said,
"Here, drop your bags. Run after it!"
"Ok!" I responded, without thinking twice.
Dropping my backpack and book bag, I took off sprinting after the Max train. When I saw the next stop ahead, and noticed that I was quickly catching up to the slow-moving train, relief swept through my body. When the doors opened at the next stop, I ran full speed through them, screeching to a halt once inside. Going back to our former seats, my heart suddenly dropped. iPhone? iPhone? No iPhone. A man wearing camo pants noticed me frantically looking.
"You lose your phone?"
"Yeah, my iPhone. Crap! It has to be around here!"
"You want to use mine to call it?"
"That would be awesome man! Thank you so much!"
Grabbing his Blackberry with a little too much eagerness, I punched in my home phone number. Crap! My adrenaline was clearly affecting my fingers and thoughts. Erasing the incorrect number, I put in the right one and hit the green send button. Ring. Ring. Ring. Looking around where my sister and I had sat laughing just 10 minutes ago, I saw and heard no phone. Ring. Ring. Seeing the next stop coming up, I never even got to my voicemail.
"Thanks anyways man, I really appreciate your help. I gotta get off here." I said, handing the Blackberry back to its camo-clad owner.
"No problem." he responded.
The doors opened, and I hopped off, running full speed back to my waiting, probably worried, sister. When I got there, she was on the phone, trying to call it.
"Is it in my bag?" I asked.
"No, I've looked everywhere. It's not on the Max?"
"No. I looked all around! It was NOT on there."
"Do you think somebody could have stolen it?"
"Man, they must have. There's nothing else I can think of! They must have been good! I didn't feel a thing."
"Yeah. I'm so sorry Colin!"
"Crap! Me too."
After standing in silence for a bit, my sister added,
"Well, let's not let this ruin our trip."
"Yeah, I totally agree. This just sucks so bad!"
For the next 10 minutes my sister and I attempted to find out where we were using only the crappy directions to our hotel and the public transportation map. We were getting nowhere fast, and it was getting closer and closer to our scheduled breakfast with my sister's friend. Finally, I suggested we stop and pray. I was still shaking from adrenaline and that crappy feeling from losing something, especially in light of the fact that I just replaced my iPhone the week before. My mind was not on helping my sister find our hotel, and I knew one way or the other we needed God's help. Praying for peace, and that we would have a great rest of the trip, I threw in a little sentence about the miraculous return of my iPhone.
Not 10 minutes later my sister's phone started going off. She quickly dropped her backpack, dug through it for her cell, and read the caller's name aloud.
"Colin! It's from your phone!"
I listened to a hopeful one sided conversation as my sister's face turned from anticipation to relief.
"Thank you so much! Yeah, we'll meet you there!" She said before hitting the end button.
"That guy in the camo on the train found your phone! He's at the end of the blue line, and he says he'll wait for us there!"
"Yes! This is amazing" I exclaimed.
We both started laughing. We knew God had answered our prayer in the most amazing way possible. We hugged each other then sent a prayer of thanks to God, and I'm sure he was laughing along with us with a big grin on his face.
If that wasn't awesome enough, when we got to the end of the blue line, we couldn't find our camo friend anywhere. A Max official saw us looking around and asked,
"Are you looking for someone?"
"Yeah, we have somebody waiting for us somewhere around here." I responded.
"Did you lose something?" Asked the man in uniform.
"Yeah, my iPhone! Did he give it to you?"
The man pulled my phone out of his pocked.
"What's your name?" he asked.
"Colin Mansfield." I responded, stepping towards the man.
"Here you go." He said, handing the phone to me.
I immediately called camo man, and thanked him over and over. I learned his name is Damian and that he is visiting a graduating friend, coming all the way from Hawaii.
"Well thank you so much! By the way, where the heck did you find my phone? I couldn't see it anywhere!" I asked.
"Actually, I didn't find it. Some homeless guy came up to me and he handed me the phone. He said he tried to talk to you, but he seemed pretty shy. I called the most recent number, figuring it was your friend (referring to Meg.)"
"Wow, really? That's crazy!"
"Yeah, that's what I thought."
"Well thank you so much Damian, this is incredible."
And thus our trip began: losing my phone on the public transportation train, having a homeless guy find it who gave it to a stranger, who in turn returned it to me. You can't make this stuff up.
Does God care that much about my iPhone? I'm not sure. What I do know is that He cares for me and my sister, and He answered our prayer of desperation in a matter of minutes.
Our trip didn't slow down. Meg and I met some wonderful people on the Max later that day, Tidus and Heidi. After I struck up a conversation about Tidus' killer dreads, we started making small talk. Come to find out, Tidus had just come back from a YWAM DTS earlier that year. And of all the places YWAM sends youth, Tidus had just come back from Townsville, Australia: the very place my sister had done her DTS when she was 18! She and Tidus discussed specific places they had both visited, and even knew some of the same people! We found out that Tidus and Heidi were native Portlanders, and that they were going to the Saturday Market, the same place we were headed to! We decided to team up for the day and hang out. Through a random meeting on the Portland public transportation God birthed a friendship with strangers!
These are but two stories from my Meg's and my amazing trip to Portland. We got the chance to really connect, and to see some amazing places. We made new friends, and some truly unforgettable memories. Our plane got canceled, and we got another unexpected day together. We got to talk and laugh.
I gave God an inch to work on this trip, and he gave me back a mile. He gave me more then I ever bargained for, and I am so blown away. My sister and I made our plan, and Papa turned it into something incredible.
God's plan is so much better then ours, don't you think?