My Grandpa owned and operated a restaurant, The Old Mill Café, on the corner of 9th and F streets in Modesto, California. Those were the days of the Great Depression, desperate times. Weary travelers and homeless migrant workers were frequent visitors at the café. Each one was always greeted with a warm welcome, and often enjoyed one of Grandpa’s favorites, a hot bowl of mulligan stew. Some sat on stools at the counter, others lingered at the tables. All had their stories to share. Some didn’t know where their next meal would come from.
Grandpa’s empathy and compassion were genuine. In 1933 he moved his family from Long Beach, after a 6.4 magnitude earthquake devastated their community. He was a man of great faith in God. He and his family had witnessed many miracles of divine intervention. They had even witnessed miracles of healing that had spared them from imminent death. They were faithful church goers, and Grandpa enjoyed nothing better than playing his violin for Sunday services. He was a prolific writer and submitted many articles to local religious publications. Most of his writings dealt with the prophetic end time events to come. He loved his God with a passion, and desired nothing more than to serve his fellow man.
During the early days of the Great Depression in California, hitchhikers were a common sight along the roadways. Grandpa was a kind man, always willing to go out of his way to help a stranger. He remembered the days when he himself had needed a ride. And besides, he never missed a chance to share his faith and offer someone an encouraging word.
One such day he stopped to pick up a stranger who proceeded to climb into the backseat of the car. Grandpa returned to the road and began some small talk which eventually led to the usual query, “Do you know the Lord?”
“Yes, I do!” responded the stranger. My grandfather briefly turned around to offer a smile, but the stranger was gone! Grandpa was stunned, awed and overjoyed at having experienced such a heavenly visitation. Why did it happen, and why did it happen to him? It was beyond explanation, but it was an experience he never forgot. It was always a reminder that God’s angels surround His children. We just don’t always get to see them!
I always loved hearing this story. I will always be grateful that my family heritage was one of great faith in God, passed down from my grandfather, to my father, to me. In this passing of the torch there has also come a keen awareness of many Godwinks in my own personal life, and that of my family.
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