Angel in the laundromat

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God answers prayers in an unexpected way.

by Patricia Mohr –

My beloved daughter-in-law (I called her my daughter-in-love) lost her battle against liver disease a few weeks ago. She suffered this illness as a result of being raised in a religious cult where she was spiritually, emotionally, physically and sexually abused in the name of God for the first 10 of her 36 years on earth.

The wonderful thing about being part of The Salvation Army family—I am the director of the Army’s West Women’s and Children’s Shelter in Portland, Oregon—is that the first thing I did when Rachel became gravely ill was call in prayer support. She had literally thousands of Salvationists (and others) praying for her and our family for the last six months of her life. Captain Camie Potter of Portland left her Bible in the car and took off her uniform to provide ‘pastoral’ visits so as not to re-traumatize Rachel, who still could not hear about God because of the prior abuse.

Rachel left her body and went home half an hour before a scheduled harvest of matching donor organs. Am I sad? Devastated, of course. Were there miracles in the midst of this tragedy? Many.

Unexpected “first aid”
Two days after her passing, my son was with our friend, Cheryl, in a Laundromat—he had no clean clothes at all. Upon entering the Laundromat, the grief struck him like a lightning bolt and he collapsed on a washing machine. A big, burly guy came up and said, “I know first aid. Can I help?”

Cheryl said, “Thank you but no, his wife died two days ago and he’s just grieving.” This stranger (I still don’t know his name) put his hand on my son’s shoulder and said, “I know where you’re standing, man. I just buried my mother after watching her die by inches for two years, and I was her sole caregiver.”

A few minutes later, my son suddenly stood up and went to this stranger and threw his arms around him. These two adult men stood in a Laundromat in San Francisco and hugged like brothers and cried like babies. Then they sat down and just talked—about films, animation, books they liked. The stranger told my son that he had just returned from a trip to the Southwest where he reminded himself that the planet had seen whole civilizations come and go, and his grief, too, would pass. He showed him two necklaces that he had bought to remind him, when he was back in the bustle of the city, that it would get better.

Then they just did their laundry. The stranger took his things out to his Mustang and suddenly turned around and re-entered the Laundromat, where he said to my son, “Stand up, man.” My son did what he was told; the stranger took off the necklaces and placed them around my son’s neck saying, “Touch these when it gets bad and know that it will get better.” Then he walked out and drove away.

We had all been praying for an 11th hour miracle and we got one. It wasn’t the new organs as we had hoped, but it was the miracle God had intended for Rachel—that she didn’t leave this earth without knowing unconditional love and support for the first time in her life. I think that was the miracle of this life for her. For my son, it was a guy in a Laundromat. He hasn’t taken the necklaces off since.

Thanks to all of you who lifted us up in prayer all those months. It is good to be part of a large “family” of loving people.

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