It was Father’s Day morning and I preached at Merlo Cathedral of Faith. It is a relatively new church plant. The sanctuary is L shaped so the photo shows only part of the congregation.
Someone, who has a burden for the lost, had gone over near the train station to invite people who may have been living on the street and had brought three of them to the church service... including the lady in the wheel-chair.
Before my preaching Pastor Eduardo Kaschewski gave a short, but clear salvation message especially for the new visitors and prayed with them. I believe the lady in a wheel-chair and her two friends were among those that took their first steps toward the Lord.
Jesus loves little children. Me too!
We enjoyed a blessed service with special emphasis on the family!
At the final invitation I called for each father to bring their wife and children to the front for prayer. What a beautiful sight!
Then Pastor Eduardo led the congregation in a special prayer of blessing and protection for me. The Argentine people are so thoughtful and loving!
At the close of the service so many people swarmed me for prayer, hugs, photos or just to talk… that I never got to greet the new people. I looked for them, but they had already left when I finally broke free.
When I drove away… I had only gone a few blocks when I passed them pushing the lady in the wheelchair down the street. In one of my typical impulsive moves, I parked in front of them, left the car running and jumped out to run back and give them each a hug and the typical kiss on the cheek. They showed great appreciation…
But when I went back to my car I found that I was locked out. The automatic anti-theft locks had set and all doors and all windows were tightly shut.
I stood there stunned. It was Sunday, Father’s Day, the first day that Argentina was playing in the World Soccer Cup. Everyone would be glued to their TVs. No Argentine lock-smith would come even if I knew one to call. It’s winter time in Argentina, I had left my jacket inside the car and I was sweaty and cold from preaching. Now what? I used to have a second electronic key, but had lost it somewhere a year ago. (Since then I have found it... Praise the Lord!)
A couple of brothers from the church happened to be walking that way and seeing my predicament went looking for help on foot. They brought me two nice police women in a patrol car. Obviously they were as helpless as I was. Somebody called the pastor who called a mechanic who came with others. Now here was my car, engine running, surrounded with men and women all trying to figure out how to break in. I said to someone, “All we need is a good car thief!” Now that’s an oxymoron if I ever heard one. Somebody got a coat hanger and tried to snag the push-button lock, but this push button is deliberately designed to resist this method. No hope! The police ladies apparently called for a backup and two patrolmen soon arrived on the scene. Now there were two patrol cars, lights flashing… a growing crowd, neighbors looking on and even trying to help… but no solution.
I was praying in a whisper, but inside I was yelling, “Help me Jesus! This could take so long I might not be able to get to my afternoon service in another city!”
Suddenly it dawned on me that because the switch was on and the engine running, the electric windows would work if we just had a way to push the button just inside the door. So the guys worked the hanger wire down to where the window button was, but it was too flimsy to push it. Then I noticed that a big police officer was unscrewing my antenna from the roof of my car. He brought it around and with the help of about three men they worked the antenna through the upper rubber lining around the door while forcing the door out a little with their fingers at the same time. After about 4 tries the policeman finally pushed the right button and rolled the window down! Everybody celebrated with a shout. And I yelled really loud… (down inside), “Thank you, Jesus!” This policeman had found the perfect tool right on top of my car! I asked him, “How did you think of this?” He answered, “I have been a cop for a long time and I’ve learned all the tricks of the car thieves.” I shook his hand and thanked him, but after he left I wished I had thought to put at least a 100 peso tip in his hand (about $10 US)… but it was too late.
Well, I was wishing for a “good car thief”… and the Lord did me one notch better… a cop that knew all the car-thieves' tricks!