Some of the best experiences are the unexpected ones. Anyone who knows me can attest to the seemingly randomness of my life, but I learned along time ago that nothing is really random. I believe that coincidences are just the small miracles in which God wishes to remain anonymous.
Yesterday I had one of those unexpected, random, small miracles. I needed to get groceries, so I started driving to Smith's. At the last possible moment I turned to go to Macey's instead, which I haven't been to since I went to BYU. It is always a madhouse and I avoid it at all costs whenever I visit Provo. So why did I decide to go to Macey's? I regretted it as soon as I pulled into the parking lot. But I was already there so I braced myself and went in.
After at least 35-40 min of not-so-skillful maneuvering around people to reach what I wanted, I headed towards the checkout. This cute little Latina stopped me and asked if I spoke Spanish. I replied that I did. She then asked me if I was LDS, to which I responded in the affirmative. She smiled and started asking me questions about me and my family, my schooling, my mission, etc. After about 10 minutes, she asked if I could give her a ride to BYU. Sure, why not. I didn't have any groceries that I needed to get home immediately. And BYU was 5 minutes away.
So I checked out and we walked to the car I had borrowed from my aunt to go grocery shopping. As we headed to BYU, she then asked if I could wait for her and take her home. "Where do you live?" "Springville." hahaha Uh sure...I can get her to Springville... but only she can tell me how to get to her house. And my terrible Spanish has to be able to understand any directions she does give. Well, good thing I like adventures!
So after waiting for her at BYU for about 10 minutes, we set off for Springville. I learned a little more about her, and she re-asked all the questions she'd asked me at Macey's about my family and all the missions we've served. Her name was Pastora Esperanza (in English it means "Shepherdess Hope"), and she was from Honduras. She joined the church 30 years ago there after meeting the missionaries one day. She read the Book of Mormon in 3 days and was baptized the next week. She never married or had any children, but she came to the US to live with her sister's family about 24 years ago. Her faith and trust in the Lord was visible, even just in her trusting me based on my membership in the Church. I was certainly touched and uplifted by her sweet spirit, and I was grateful that I'd agreed to take her home to Springville. Not only was I able to get to know her better, but I was able to help this sweet sister in such a simple way. And don't worry. We made it to her house with surprising ease!
I wish I could say that I'd been searching for the opportunity to help someone. But the truth is, I needed to be pulled out of my thoughts by a complete stranger and directly asked to serve. Too often I pray for the chance to serve someone, but then I go about my day and my business with blinders on. I'm grateful for the reminder of how wonderful service is, and how I need to be more vigilant and purposeful in finding and taking the opportunities to serve others. I don't know if I was "meant" to be at Macey's to meet Hermana Pastora, or if something caused her to talk to me instead of the people in front of or behind me, but I'm grateful that I was and that she did. And I'm grateful that I didn't blow the opportunity to serve this time. My day was definitely made all the better by meeting Hermana Pastora, and I hope she feels the same about me!