Stranded on a Lonely Road

“Stranded on a Lonely Road,” New Era, Aug. 2011, 10–12

Stranded on a Lonely Road

I had never seen anyone on this road, and I desperately needed help.

It was a beautiful summer day in northern Alberta, Canada. I was 16 years old, and my dad had set me up with a great summer job at a goat farm. Every day I made the half-hour drive in his old pickup along the obscure, bumpy dirt roads that I doubt were on any map. I loved these drives as I cruised in silence due to the broken radio. The northern landscape is beautiful in the summer. There are forests, fields, and lakes that are virtually untouched by man. At times I would look around and feel like I was the only one around for miles and that all this was made just for me.

On one of these drives home after a long day of herding goats and fixing fences, my peaceful drive suddenly turned into a nightmare. It had rained the day before, and the familiar dirt roads had turned into washboard roads. I hit a few patches of consecutive bumps that shook my old truck around pretty good, and I knew I had to slow down. I shifted down and continued a little more cautiously toward home. Suddenly I hit a patch of bumps that didn’t stop. I could feel my truck losing control, and the rear end started to slide around. By the time I finally got traction, my truck was facing sideways, and I went tearing straight into the ditch.

I remember this almost like slow motion. I knew I was going off the road, and I knew that I was heading straight for a fence post. The only thing that went through my head was to cry out for help. As my truck caught air over the ditch, I cried out loud, “Heavenly Father, help!”

I landed hard, but I did not roll as far into the post as I had anticipated. I was a little shaken but otherwise uninjured. My truck would not start, and it was good and stuck in mud and tall grass. I climbed out and walked back up to the road. I looked around, hoping by some chance that there would be a farmhouse in sight. Nothing. This was before the age of cell phones, so there I was a 16-year-old girl completely alone on an obscure road in northern Alberta.

I began to pray to Heavenly Father and ask Him which way I should start walking to find help. I chose a direction that I thought might be good and began to walk. I had only just started when I received the distinct impression to go back and wait. I reasoned in my head: Wait? I have never once seen another vehicle on this road! What in the world would I be waiting for? Nevertheless, I felt calm and peaceful and knew that was the right thing to do. I stood on the side of the road and waited. Not five minutes later I heard a vehicle in the distance. Please let them stop, I pleaded in my head to Heavenly Father. The truck came into my view, and I simply stood there as it slowed in front of me.

An older, traditionally dressed Russian man and woman got out of their truck and surveyed my situation. I was a little cautious and did not know exactly what to expect from this couple. The wife smiled warmly and said in her thick accent: “It looks like you need some help.”

Her husband moved to the back of their truck and started to hook up a towing hitch. While her husband was hard at work, the wife told me how funny this situation was to them. That morning they had both had the feeling that they would need their tow hitch today, so they had put it in the back of their truck. They had kept it there all day and not needed it. They were now on their way home for the night when her husband decided to turn off the main roads and take the more scenic drive. That is when they came across me. She laughed at the coincidence of it all, but I was filled with the Holy Ghost testifying to me of my Father in Heaven’s awareness and love for me.

Once my truck was released from the mud and grass, it quickly started up again. The Russian couple and I parted ways. I did not drive far before I was overcome with tears of gratitude. I know that the Lord has rescued me many times throughout my life, both physically and spiritually. I know that He was aware of my needs in advance in order to prepare this couple to come and help me. I also know it was the right thing to do to call out for His help as I was going off the road because He heard and answered my frantic prayer.

That the Lord has power enough to move mountains and part seas and yet still cares for little me enough to prompt an old Russian couple to come help me pull my truck out of the ditch is witness to me of God’s love and personal level at which He works.

While stuck in a ditch on a lonely road, I learned that the Lord can inspire good people everywhere.

Illustrations by G. Bjorn Thorkelson