rank Kalaba, a Zambian medical student at a Moscow university, approached me with a request that made me wince. He said he would be returning home for a vacation in a few weeks, and he wondered whether I knew of a video projector he could take with him to present to his pastor for evangelism outreach. I winced because I knew how much projectors cost. About a decade earlier I had spent several thousand dollars for a video projector after deciding that I wanted a home movie theater. After I gave my heart to Jesus, I donated the video projector to a church in Siberia.
I told Frank that I would consider his request. Then I forgot about it. On a recent Sabbath Frank reminded me, saying that he was leaving in just a week. I winced again.
The next morning I walked, as usual, through a sprawling electronics market near the Savyolovsky train station on my way to work. I walked quickly, caught up in prayer about the goals that I planned to accomplish that day. Suddenly, out of the corner of my eye, I saw what looked like a video projector in the display window of one of the many stalls in the electronics market. I rushed by, not believing my eyes. Then I stopped and walked back. Sure enough, it was a black video projector. It appeared to be the only one in the small shop. And it cost considerably less than I had expected.
While the price was surprisingly low, I reasoned that I didn’t have that kind of money on me. I walked away. But after about a dozen steps I stopped again and wondered how much money I had in my wallet. Doubt mingled with curiosity as I opened my wallet. Inside I found an unopened envelope containing money that a church member had recently given me as reimbursement for Sabbath school study guides. Those banknotes combined with the rest of the money in my wallet covered the cost of the video projector.
I returned to the shop. The stocky owner, his long hair tied in a ponytail, stood hunched over an open computer corpus, rerouting the wiring inside. Heavy metal music blared over the shop’s loudspeakers. I asked if he could answer a few questions about the video projector. The man readily came over to where I stood. Yes, he assured me, the video projector could play DVDs. Yes, it could handle electricity voltage on any continent of the world. “I’ll even give you a discount if you buy it,” he said.
It was as though God was saying that I had no excuse not to buy the video projector. Not only was it affordable—it also came with a nice discount.
I stepped out of the shop to call Frank to make sure that this was what he wanted. He excitedly welcomed the news, praising God.
Back in the shop the owner removed the video projector from the display case and packed it in a box. I paid and thanked him. “Come again,” he said. “We rarely stock video projectors, but we might have one again.”
I couldn’t wait to share my story with others. My family and friends rejoiced with me. But one dear friend surprised me with an observation. “Your stories sound almost too perfect,” she said.
I weighed her words for a couple weeks. A perfect story sounds like fiction. Real-life stories are a gooey mess. Nothing in life is perfect. Was my video projector story too unbelievable to repeat?
Then I recalled these words by Jesus: “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matt. 5:48). With God, our life stories are never a mess. They are made perfect in God and His love. I want every day to be packed with unbelievable experiences. Every day with God is perfect.
Andrew Mc Chesney is a journalist living in Russia. This article was published November 24, 2011.