Monday, November 16, 2009


I've been meaning to tell you this story for a couple of weeks now. Time has been one hindrance, as I've really wanted to do this post justice. It's an incredible account, still fresh on our hearts, but also so staggering, we still can't believe it happened.

I guess I'll start at the beginning. A very good place to start.

Since Danny and I turned 16 (me a month and a half before he did...cradle robber that I am!) we've been blessed to drive used cars. Not much has changed in the past eight years. For us, used cars mean cheaper insurance and freedom from a monthly payment. The only downside about driving older vehicles is they aren't as dependable as those that are brand spanking, just rolled off the lot with the new car smell to prove it are. The dependability of older vehicles is a huge concern when we're traveling eight plus hours to visit family in the homeland. We've spent many a road trip praying we'd make it to our destination.

A few months ago, we did not.

Since then we've made do with what we have. Cars paid in full, with cheap insurance. Cars that might need a couple cranks of the ignition to get them going. Cars without air conditioning, working doors and fickle wipers. Cars with mechanical issues and it's a gamble whether or not to get it fixed. What do you do when the repairs equal its value? Dan's finishing seminary on our disposable income, so his graduation day would mark the day we'd begin to save towards something new. With that day on the horizon, we've hesitated gutting the emergency fund to purchase something now. Instead we chose to pray that what we have, (and are very thankful for!) would hold out until Danny graduates.

Those prayers were answered.

But not how we expected.

A few weeks ago, Danny asked me to come to his morning program. Twice a week he meets with a group of men in our church for a Bible and discipleship training program. The men had requested for me to drop by at the end of this particular morning. Neither Danny or I knew why they had requested my presence, but we figured it had something to do with pastor appreciation month. My mom was in town for the weekend, so she stayed with Reese while I hustled up to church early that Friday morning.

When I arrived, I noticed some of the other wives were also present, as was our Senior Pastor. Hmmm. Something was up.

They called us up on stage and Jeremy, one of our closest friends and founder of the discipleship program took over. As he began to speak, Danny and I huddled together, aware of the room full of watchful eyes peering at us in anticipation. Neither one of us really likes that kind of attention (really!) and it took a turn for intense-ville when I realized we were being videotaped. Silently, I prayed that whatever was about to happen, Dan would remember to smile.

"Keep smiling Daniel. Smile like you mean it."

Too bad telepathy isn't one of our marital strong points.

Any pretense of holding it together flew out the window when Jeremy, so overcome with emotion, couldn't finish his speech. So much for smiling.

"Don't ugly cry Rachel. It's a room full of men. Emotional women scare them. Do. Not. Ugly. Cry."

Steve, another dear friend and founder of the program, prayed for us. While all eyes were closed, I seized the opportunity and wiped my nose in an attempt to destroy any evidence of the impending ugly cry. Then I remembered the video camera. Dang.

After we prayed, Joe and Wayne, two more leaders in our church came onto the stage carrying a beautiful gift bag. They explained we'd have to open it in front of the group. By this time, the video camera was still rolling and now digital cameras had popped up throughout the room. The expectancy was almost palpable. Their excitement was so contagious, if a paperclip had been in that bag, I would have embraced it as the greatest gift of my life.

It was not a paperclip.

After what seemed like an hour, Dan unwrapped a small box containing a key. Later he explained that at that point, he thought the church had purchased a new bus, and as the youth pastor, he was going to take it on its maiden voyage around the parking lot. When he opened the envelope (we're Hintons, we never open the envelope first!) he realized it wasn't a church bus. I asked him what was written on the paper because my body had gone into a state of shock and my eyeballs had lost the ability to see straight, much less read.

My eyeball condition had spread to Danny's mouth. He sputtered in fragments. New tires...a year's worth of insurance...working doors...functioning air conditioning...reliable wipers.

Paid. In. Full.

It's the closest I've ever come to passing out.

Before anyone could whip out the smelling salts, the entire group filed out of the building and to the curb to see our new (paid in full!) car for the first time. Danny and I were the last ones out and I'm not sure how we made it. When you're numb from the top of your ribs to the tips of your toes, it impedes your ability to walk.

I took one look at what was parked on the curb, buried my head in Danny's chest and bawled like a baby.

It wasn't just provision waiting for us outside. It was abundance.

I can't believe God would provide something like that for us. There are so many in far more need than we are.

I can't believe people would be so generous towards us. My mind flew to all the sacrifices families must have made to do this for us.

Who the heck are we??

Several weeks later, I still can't believe it. It's humbling to receive a gift like that. A handout. But God's in the business of handouts. It just so happens that in this case, he used a group of selfless, generous, compassionate people to dole out His blessing.

We are undeserving yet grateful.

After all, neither one of us is cool enough to drive a car like that.


  1. aww...come on. this post NEEDS a pic :)

  2. We have it on video but I can't locate the dvd right now...story of my life! :)

  3. A picture of the car at least!

  4. Oh my gosh what kind ??? Come on now a girl needs details!!!

    WOW praise GOD@@