An unforeseen series of events happened around Christmas time for one family. It started when this mother accidentally sent a message to a complete stranger.
“Hi Brian, wondering if you know a good Bible verse for someone to pray when in deep fear, weak, scared, and personal despair/lost/breaking?” Amy Rickel wrote via Facebook. She was actually pleading with her friend for some theological words of wisdom. But then she realized she’d sent the message to the wrong person, so she added, “Wrong person, I am so sorry.”
Wrong messages couldn’t be so wrong sometimes. It turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Brian Van Boxtel was the person who received the message from Amy Rickel.
Rickel had recently moved to Green Bay, Wisconsin, so her children could live closer to their father. But another, less fortunate series of events left her jobless, homeless, and with a broken-down car.
Suprisingly, Brian Van Boxtel replied with several of the requested verses:
“When I am afraid I put my trust in you” Psalm 56:3
“Peace is what I leave with you; it is my own peace that I give you. I do not give it as the world does. Do not be worried and upset, do not be afraid.” John 14:27
After hearing her story, he encouraged Rickel to set up a GoFundMe page that ended up raising nearly $1,500 in just 11 days – also from complete strangers.
“I’m pretty amazed. I still kind of find it unbelievable,” she said, sitting in front of a festively decorated Christmas tree. “It has totally restored my faith in more than just humanity, my faith in God.”
Rickel was surrounded by many of the strangers – none of whom had ever met her previously – that pooled their resources together to get the family back on its feet. Among them was Chad Morack, who became the link between Rickel’s qualifications as a licensed practical nurse and the new job she started just weeks later.
Kathy Schumann also stepped up with a generous offer, offering Rickel not only the use of her minivan, but clearing out a room in her home for the family of four.
“She really tugged at our heart strings and we just felt like this holiday season we couldn’t let the kids be out in the cold,” she said.
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