Answers to prayers (and tender mercies) often come in the form of other people. One such example occurred in my life not too long ago. How grateful I am for prayer and the Christlike actions of others!
This particular tender mercy starts on a dark and dreary Friday night. Actually, it wasn't too dreary, but it sure was dark. We were driving on a narrow stretch of road that was surrounded by empty factories. Up ahead was an even narrower neck of road that sloped up to cross a line of railroad tracks and then back down again. This, combined with the curve of the road, makes it difficult for the driver to see the pavement as he/she drives over the tracks. The neck is also so narrow that it is inadvisable for two cars to drive over it at the same time.
Anyway, we were driving on this road we came to these railroad tracks. I slowed down as I saw a truck coming in the opposite direction, but, having reach the critical point first, I continued driving over the tracks. However, the oncoming truck kept coming as well. Not too panicked, because I had driven over that narrow neck of road at the same time as another car before, I continued driving, but tried to move over to the right as far as I could....which ended up being too far. All of a sudden, my companion, Sister Trevino and I felt and heard a series of violent bumps and bangs. We had gone off the road and onto the tracks! We were over the tracks in only a moment, but we were terrified it had hurt the car. As we cleared the narrow neck of pavement and the street widened, we pulled off to the side and inspected the car. Instantly we heard the sound of air escaping from the back right tire. With dread, we inspected it. Sure enough, the rim had been bent by the pernicious train tracks, and our tire was quickly going flat.
You can probably imagine what happened next. We valiantly tried to change the tire whilst calling everyone possible to help us. Fortunately, the head of our congregation, known as a bishop (to whose home we had been heading in the first place), came to our rescue and we got the temporary tire on without too much trouble.
But wait....was that the tender mercy? That was nice but...is that it?
Our wonderful bishop coming to help us out was a tender mercy in itself, you're right. But Heavenly Father was even kinder to us still.
The next evening, Saturday, we had dinner at a member of our congregation's home. We related the story for entertainment, but they expressed concerned about the tire. We couldn't just leave the temporary tire on, they said. It wouldn't last that long. This worried Sister Trevino and me. Neither of us had dealt with fixing cars or anything like that. We also had very strict missionary rules and the car was owned by our church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We were unsure about how to proceed with getting a new tire for the car.
It was then that the father of the home piped up. "Would you let me see the tire? You say the rim is bent? Maybe I could hammer it out."
"Are you sure? You don't have to --"
"Yeah, let me try. It might not fix the tire completely, but we can see, can't we?"
We led this sainted brother out to our car, unloaded the original tire from the trunk, and left him to inspect it. We left the home, leaving the tire in his hands, not too long later.
The next day was Sunday. As we prepared for and attended church, I began to worry more and more about replacing the tire. I had never dealt with car repairs myself before (I'm only 21! I had always been content to let my dad take care of these things). I wan't sure who to call, where to go, or how to go about it. We had already driven quite a bit on the temporary tire by this time. We would have to get it replaced soon.
I was standing by the door of a classroom in our church building when the member from the night before came up to me. "Can I have your car keys?"
"I think I fixed your tire. I'll put it back on and put your other tire back in your trunk and get it all taken care of before the end of church."
"Of course! I'll just need your keys to open the trunk."
I handed over my keys and continued going about my normal Sabbath business. After church, this man came up to me again. "Sister Neilson, you should be all set. I hammered out the tire last night and changed it and then pumped it up. Try it out a little in the parking lot, but I think it should be okay."
We could hardly believe it. We discovered that this man had worked on our tire all through the night so that he could have it ready for us by Sunday. He then changed our tire and fixed it during church so we wouldn't have to stress about it at all. What a blessing it is to be around such wonderful people, people who are willing to expend time and energy to receive absolutely nothing in return, just because they can see someone else in need. Much like Christ, who healed on the Sabbath, which one can only imagine took a toll on His energy as well.
I said many a-prayer between the time we went over the tracks and the time it was fixed. The kindness and charity of this member of our congregation was most definitely an answer to them.
What a wonderful example of Christ this man was to us and a wonderful tender mercy.