Pat’s Chat (September 9)

I am struggling to keep upright and walking. With the arthritis in my knees, I think I may need knee surgery in the not-too-distant future. I have been so blessed, though, to be sort of agile for an old woman up until a year or two ago. Now, as I reach my 90th year in January of 2024, I am beginning to feel “old” and “tired” so my Chat’s will probably change. I love doing them, so I may skip sometimes or bore you to death at other times.

I want to tell you a couple of true stories. I love true stories like Death Valley Days. My first story, though, is about Aunt Hazel (McNemar). She moved to Buckhannon to take care of her parents during their final years. Many of her nieces and nephews found temporary housing with her while they looked for jobs in the D.C. area and got settled. She drove Route 50 from the Takoma Park area to Burnsville and later to Buckhannon to visit her parents and relatives. One snowy weekend she got bogged down on her way toward home. Some of her “kids” (her nieces and nephews) were with her and a car stopped. A couple of young men got out and helped her get onto the road and continue on her way. She wanted to thank them; but they and their vehicle were nowhere in sight. She has always been sure that it was guardian angels who helped her on her way, but none of us saw them or their car again. Read all of Psalm 91, especially verse 11.

I thought of this incident when I read this story on page 87 of our current Sabbath School Quarterly. Angel at the Gas Station, by Terri Saelee, page 87 reminded me of Hazel’s angel help. Here is that story:

“Lamphai Sihavong stared in bewilderment at the confusing maze of highways around and above her in the U.S. city of Chicago. She had no idea how to find her husband. She looked at the four children seated in the car and wondered what to do next.

“The couple had arrived in the United States as refugees from the Southeast Asian country of Laos, and they were driving with their six children across the country to find work. Leaving Sacramento, California, the family first traveled 1,400 miles to Grand Island Nebraska, where they had heard about work at a factory. But when they arrived, they learned the jobs were filled. Then they heard about a possible job in Holland, Michigan, another 750 miles away. The family started out on the 12-hour journey to Michigan. Lamphai’s husband led the way driving the moving truck with two children and all their belongings. She followed with the other four children in the car.

“All went well until Chicago. Lamphai tried to follow her husband closely, but she got stuck in heavy traffic and lost sight of his truck. Overwhelmed by the maze of roads, she stopped at a gas station. Neither she nor her husband had cell phones. She had no way to contact him and she had no idea how to find their destination. Her only hope was God. She was glad that missionaries had visited their refugee camp in Thailand to tell them about God. Together, she and the four children prayed earnestly to God for help.

“As they opened their eyes, they saw a pleasant-looking man walking toward them. ‘Let me guess,’ he said. ‘Are you looking for your husband, Veuy?’ ‘Yes!’ Lamphai acknowledged with surprise. She wondered how the stranger knew her husband’s name.

“‘Get in your car and follow me,’ the man said. ‘I’ll help you find him.’

“Lamphai followed him back onto the road and through a maze of highways until suddenly, she saw her husband’s moving truck. Gratefully, she and the children turned to wave their thanks, but the stranger was gone.

“The family arrived safely in Michigan, and Veuy and Lamphai found work and began attending the Holland Seventh-day Adventist Church. Soon, they invited new friends to join them, and the church gave the small group a room to worship in their own language. Today, the group has its own church where Lamphai introduces people to the God who sent an angel to the gas station.”

Several Lao congregations have sprouted up across the North American Division as a result of a Thirteenth Sabbath Offering in 2011. With this quarter’s offering, you will help provide pastors and resources to groups like Lamphai’s.

If you want to see what Seventh-day Adventists are doing for people who have been impacted by recent flooding in our country, go to



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