It was early Sunday morning, July 22, two days prior to the start of the 2018 USMB National Pastors’ Conference, to be held in Utah. The Hernandez family, Aaron, his wife, Alejandra, and their five children, loaded their Chevrolet Tahoe and began a 1,600-mile road trip that would take them from La Grulla in south Texas to Salt Lake City.
Along the way, the Hernandez family faced unexpected car trouble. Yet even in the midst of uncertainty and changed plans, they felt God’s protection, provision and care.
Later Sunday night, after a 15-hour drive, the Hernandez’s vehicle suddenly ceased to accelerate. The Tahoe sputtered a few more blocks through Santa Rosa, N.M., allowing the Hernandez’s to find the only open tire shop on the edge of the small town. The family was still about two hours from their intended first stop.
With the vehicle stalled and no mechanic on site, the Hernandez’s only option was to have the Tahoe towed to Albuquerque.
“I had no idea where there was a good mechanic in Albuquerque,” Hernandez says. “My family and I had prayed before our trip, during our trip and especially in this moment. Our prayer was simple, ‘God, we really need you to show up right now.’”
Upon arriving in Albuquerque, the family saw a Midas mechanic shop a few blocks from their hotel, and Hernandez brought the vehicle in before seven the next morning. Once there, he learned the shop’s diagnostician had the day off. But when the diagnostician heard the family’s situation, he came in to service the vehicle. He test drove the Tahoe at least five times to pinpoint the problem—the fuel pump—and made sure the family left with a running vehicle. After seven hours in the shop, the Tahoe was once again fit to drive.
Before leaving Albuquerque, Hernandez says he felt led to pray with the Midas staff.
“One of the mechanics jokingly said, ‘We sure need it,’ when I asked if I could pray for them,” he says. “At that moment, I got the sense that maybe all that had happened was for this moment. God had his eyes on this shop and for some crazy reason I would be the one that would end up praying for them. This experience hopefully is a continual reminder for me that sometimes, even in my distress, God is doing something greater.”
Back on the road once more, the Hernandez family continued through New Mexico and the southwest corner of Colorado into Utah, arriving in Salt Lake City on Tuesday at 5 p.m., just in time for supper before the Pastors’ Conference opening session.
Hernandez says the family experienced God’s protection and provision in so many ways, adding that 1 Peter 5:7—“Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you”—was a verse that continually came to mind.
“God’s nearness was evident and strong throughout all of this,” he says. “As my family and I were stranded in an environment that was foreign to us, it wasn’t for God. He knew exactly how he was going to provide during this situation. He provided the people in our path that would be used to serve us and not take advantage of us. During this difficult moment God reminded me that these momentary interruptions in life always magnify his care for us when we trust in him.”
Janae Rempel is the Christian Leader associate editor. She joined the CL staff in September 2017 with six years of experience as a professional journalist. Rempel is an award-winning writer, having received three 2016 Kansas Press Association Awards of Excellence and an Evangelical Press Association Higher Goals award in 2022. Rempel graduated from Tabor College in 2010 with a bachelor of arts in Communications/Journalism and Biblical/Religious Studies. She attends Hillsboro MB Church.