5 Life-Changing Experiences – White Out

Me, Roger, and Brenda in front of the "chili wagon" - first day of school 1980
Me, Roger, and Brenda in front of the "chili wagon" - first day of school 1980

My first memory of God was truly dramatic!

My family had been skiing in Colorado and were traveling through New Mexico on our way home to Corpus Christi, when a snow storm came upon us. A “white out” is the term used when there’s is so much snow falling that visibility disappears. I was about 11-12 years old and had been laying in the back of the station wagon. (We called it the chili wagon.) Anyway, my parents thought my brother and I were sleeping back there. I think he was. . . but I was wide awake. I remember hearing my parents argue. Mom wanted dad to stop ’cause he couldn’t see the road and we could drive off a cliff. Dad was scared to stop for fear of being covered in the snow and freezing. I was young, but I was old enough to know we were in danger. Old enough to know to be scared. Old enough to realize that my parents were helpless and scared themselves.

I prayed. Dad kept pushing ahead slowly looking desperately for a place to stop, but we couldn’t see anything. We could have been within a few feet of a hotel or rest stop, and never seen it. It wasn’t too long before someone drove up behind us (we could make out the headlights) so dad stopped and a man came to knock on dad’s window. We heard the knock before we saw him. He was a local pastor on an indian reservation and was offering us a place to stay – there was an extra house on the reservation. We were saved! and it wasn’t my parents skills, resources, or abilities that did it. It was an act of God and God alone.

It’s the first time I remember experiencing God. Of course it wasn’t the first time God intervened in my life, but it was the first time I recognized it. As a result of this experience, at 11-12 years old, I began to understand His power, His love, and knew that He cared for me and my family. I also recognized that God used another man to do His work. These initial revelations/experiences laid the ground work for the day I would give my life to Him and for my life. Because He loved me first (expressed in this experience) I eventually began to love Him too and today I hope to serve Him with the rest of my life.

I thank God for snow, white outs, indian reservations, pastors, the chili wagon, ski trips, New Mexico, and my parents and family.

PS – If you want to read more about this experience check out the other blog I wrote a few years ago. My First Memory of God

My First Memory of God

I’ve been doing a project for my family – scanning pictures from mom’s old trunk. In among the pictures I found an article that mom had saved – It’s an article I wrote almost 15 years ago – Dec 1994. It was the first time I remember realizing that my parents couldn’t do anything. It was the first time I remember praying for God to do something to help us. Anyway, I typed it up here ’cause it brought back such memories for me.

Wagon It was a cold winter night in New Mexico and the wipers were frantically pushing the snow from the windshield. I was 10 years old and my family had been skiing in Colorado. We were headed back home through New Mexico when the storm hit us. The same snow that had brought joy in skiing, was now the icy villain which threatened our very lives. We were caught in a “white out.” So-called because the intensity of the snowfall had blinded us. Dad was unfamiliar with the road. Did it drop off on one side to a cliff? Were we even on the road? All of these thoughts ran through our minds. I decided to hide from my fears by sleeping in the back of the old station wagon with my younger brother and sister. It was hopeless. I was too scared. Mom and dad just drove. The usual boring adult conversation that had always made it’s way to the back seats had stopped. There was nothing but silence, except for the sound of the tires packing the snow underneath the car. That awful pounding sound the rang with the rhythm of the car.

Finally, dad decided to just quit driving. We no longer had to fear falling off a cliff or hear that awful sound. Now it was only the possibility of being stranded. There was still no conversation, except for the desperate prayers that mom and dad were silently sending up to God. Even at my age, my prayer was the same as theirs, “Help!” I only wished I could have had the innocence of my younger brother and sister who were asleep in the back, but I was older and wiser and understood what there was to be afraid of. Ignorance for them wasn’t a bad thing though.

A few minutes later, there was a knock on dad’s window. It was an older man who offered to let us come stay in his house for the night. With no other real options, dad agreed and we very carefully followed his tail lights to a tiny little cabin. We met his wife and began talking to him. It turned out that he was a Methodist missionary on an Indian reservation there in New Mexico. His wife made jewelry out of rocks that she cut and polished. As a 10 year old I was most impressed by the machine that cut the rocks. That night in a tiny little cabin in a stranger’s house, we slept safe and warm.

To this day, I don’t know that missionary’s name, but then again, I do. His name is Jesus, because he let God work through him. He had given my family one of the greatest gifts that anyone could have ever given us. He made us feel safe in the midst of turmoil. He gave what he had to help us. I wonder if we could learn something from the example of this humble missionary? I wonder if he learned it from another humble missionary – maybe one who came to earth?

Anyway, that’s the article I wrote. Hope it was helpful.