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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Missionary (10/19/06)

TITLE: A Cup of Hot Cocoa
By Deborah Hale


After two years, serving as missionaries, in the small country of Estonia, our sponsoring church decided it was time for us to come home for a short visit. Halfway home, we got off the plane in London with our two young children. We had reserved a hotel room, because our connecting flight did not leave until the next morning, and we certainly did not want to spend the night in the terminal.

Before leaving the airport, my husband, Clint, stopped at the currency exchange booth and changed over some money, knowing there would be an ATM at the hotel if we needed more.

After the twenty minute bus ride to our hotel, the kids were complaining that they were hungry. We were quite a ways out of town, so it was just easier to eat at the hotel restaurant—nothing extravagant, just some burgers and fries. When we finished, we decided to give the kids a treat, getting them each a steaming cup of hot cocoa.

We were shocked when the bill arrived, and the total was almost sixty dollars. Man, those were some expensive burgers. I should have paid better attention to the prices. Since the meal had used up almost all the cash, we went to find the ATM. After all, we still had to get back to the airport. To our horror, the hotel did not have one, and we were too far from town. What kind of hotel was this anyway?

The lady at the front desk tried to be helpful, and told us about a “special” cash machine by the hotel Casino. Casino? When we found the machine, it was not working right. Clint tried several times, but it simply refused to cooperate.

After the kids were in bed, Clint dug through the bags trying to find some change, and I emptied my purse, hoping to find enough change for the bus ride back in the morning. After putting the little bit we found, together with what we had, we were still six dollars short.

I felt totally helpless. We had to get back to the airport.

“Hey, maybe if we shove our youngest son into a backpack, the driver wouldn’t notice,” Clint said.

When I failed to even smile, Clint said that he was going to talk to the lady at the front desk again. After he left, I sat down on the edge of the bed and blinked back the tears welling in my eyes. What were we going to do? I kept going over and over in my head about how I should not have let the kids have that hot cocoa. Then we would not be in this mess.

Clint’s “last resort” idea was to wake the kids up, and walk back to the airport—even if it took all night. I kept envisioning my three year old wandering aimlessly down the side of the road in his pajamas.

Out of sheer desperation, I emptied my purse again. There might be a hidden pocket or something I had missed, right? Nothing. That is when I fell completely apart. Tears spilled from my eyes as I prayed. “Oh God, what are we going to do? Help us please!

Before I had even finished, Clint burst into the room, with a big goofy grin on his face. He said that he had gotten this overwhelming urge to try the cash machine one more time. It still did not work, but as he was putting his credit card back into his wallet, he saw something sticking out of the cash slot. When he tugged it, out came a crisp, clean bill. It was just the amount we needed, plus a little extra. He looked around for anyone who might have left it, but the area was deserted.

He was giddy. I was speechless. He told me there was no way he could have missed that money—it simply was not there before.

We will never know for sure where that money came from, nor does it really matter. What is important is that we got what we needed, exactly when we needed it. God was showing me that He is always in control, whether I realize it or not. He is our father, and He will take care of us.

And just like I did for my children, sometimes He blesses us with something extra—because sometimes we all need a cup of hot cocoa.

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This article has been read 612 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Betty Castleberry10/26/06
This held my attention, and I could feel this woman's despair. I also loved the last line. Very nice.
Ann FitzHenry10/28/06
Sweet story! I hope it's true. I enjoyed it very much. Thanks!
Donna Haug10/28/06
I know! London is REDICULOUSLY expensive! Loved your tie in with the cup of Hot Cocoa!! Great story.
Very nice story. It also kept my attention as well. I do hope it's true. Everyone needs a good inspirational story like that once in awhile.(:
Dolores Stohler10/31/06
I loved your story and I knew you would find the money because, as a single mom, I've been in this kind of situation and God always provided. Well done!