Nonetheless, there I was, seated next to him at Dino’s Pizza in Cuba as he showed me pictures of the front and rear bumpers of the van. “They are not the originals, “ he said. “And don’t they look ugly?”
Then he showed me pictures he had taken of someone else’s van of the same model and year. “These are the original bumpers. See how much nicer they look. But you can’t find these for sale anywhere.”
Because I appreciate Edgar so much I nodded and smiled as he animatedly told me about this and many other details of his van restoration project.
You see, Edgar is someone who can have my attention for anything he wants. Without getting into the details, I will just say that he regularly places himself at risk in order to advance the kingdom of God, and twice in the past several years he has run into serious, possibly life-changing trouble, from which the Lord delivered him.
The bill for the pizza came as we were “talking Toyotas” and I grabbed it. It was 56 CUC, or about US$65. Not bad for a filling meal for 14 people. Edgar reached over and snatched it out of my hand. He refused to let me pay. This was my goodbye dinner for that particular trip and it was his treat.
So why am I taking up your valuable time talking about pizza and car parts? Because what happened next astonished me.
After paying the bill, we walked across the street to where our two cars were parked. Next to us was a a gas station. Edgar noticed a Toyota van just like the one he is restoring and he decided to walk over to take a look. The owner was very friendly and let him look around.
Edgar told the owner about his restoration project. The man turned out to be a Christian and, yes, he had actually heard of the ministry Edgar works for. And in fact he had an extra set of bumpers for sale.
The divine equation, at least as I perceived it that night, was:
bumpers are needed but are “impossible to find” + generous giving of one’s self
= bumpers brought right to you when you least expect it
What a deal!
Next time I’m going to make sure I pick up the check.
(Note: I changed my friend’s name to protect his privacy.)