You get to know someone well if you spend a month with them on a hot bus touring Mexico. Yes you do. That is how we came to know Maurice Stonecypher. He was the back-up bus driver on a missionary trip to Mexico we led in May of 2006.
Some of the people on the bus lost their good reputation on the trip. It’s easy to do that when you add 110 degree heat, close quarters, sleep depravation, and sudden bouts of diarrhea in a country where you have to remember to bring your own toilet paper. I will resist the temptation to write colorful stories about the follies, foibles and character deficiencies exposed by the hardships of the trip.
Others we did not know at all before we left we found to be patient and selfless people no matter how hot or inconvenient things became. Maurice Stonecypher was such a man. By the time the trip came to an end there were people on the bus that I never cared to see again. Maurice I would gladly chose as my traveling companion anywhere on earth. He was a quiet, godly man.
For years I have maintained the habit of asking a question of my Christian friends. When dinner is finished and we lean back into our chairs to let our food settle I like to drop a this question into the conversation and see what happens. “Tell me now you came to know the Lord?”
I have had the most wonderful conversations after dropping the question into an evening of conversation.
One peaceful evening in Mexico I asked this question of Mr. Stoncypher. He answered; “I grew up in Florida. One hot night when I was just a boy I was lying in my bed by the window wondering if what people told me about God was true. The air was still and hot and humid. I prayed; ‘Lord, if what they say about you is true, send a cool, refreshing breeze…’ Before that prayer there was not a hint of breeze, but when I finished my prayer the curtains began to move and a cool, refreshing breeze came through the window. Since that night I have followed the Lord.”
When our trip to central Mexico was done we nursed the old broken-down bus north until we found ourselves at border across from Loredo, Texas. We all had enjoyed the trip but we were so eager to be back in the states and enjoy the comforts were were used to.
The traffic at the border was backed up for a couple miles. The bus rolled to a stop and set there under the direct sun. The heat along the hi way had been oppressive hour after long hour but we were moving. Now the air was still and hot and we were not moving.
Mr. Stonecypher was behind the wheel. I stood up and looked back at the young people sitting shoulder to shoulder all the way to the back of the boiling hot bus. Without really thinking I quipped; “Maurice, now would be a good time for you to pray for a cool, refreshing breeze…” I said it in humor remembering his story.
He did not laugh. He simply closed his eyes and began to quietly express to God how welcome a cool refreshing breeze would be.
The bus had windows that opened out an inch or two only allowing a little air to circulate when the bus was moving. There were a couple “hatches” in the top of the bus to let in air. About twenty seconds after Mr. Stonecypher finished his prayer there was an unmistakable breeze that began to blow through the hatches and the windows.
We were quiet with reverent gratefulness and still cherish the memory of that simple answered prayer.
August 3, 2016