Charlie Stoltzfus and the silver trailer
Tony Campolo tells about the time he was asked to speak at a Pentecostal college. Before the service, eight men had him kneel so they could place their hands on his head and pray. Tony was glad to have the prayer, but each of them prayed a long time, and the longer they prayed the more they pushed on Tony’s head. And then they even seemed to wander in their prayers. One of the men didn’t even pray for Tone, he prayed for some guy he was concerned about. He began to pray and said, “Dear Lord, you know Charlie Stoltzfus. He lives in that silver trailer down the road a mile. You know the trailer, Lord, just down the road on the right-hand side.”
Tony wanted to interrupt and tell him that God already knew where the guy lived and didn’t need directions, but he just knelt there trying to keep his head upright.
The prayer went on: “Lord, Charlie told me this morning that he was going to leave his wife and three kids. Step in and do something, God. Bring that family back together.”
With that, the prayer time ended and Tony went on to preach at the college chapel. Things went well and he got in his car and began to drive home. As he drove onto the Pennsylvania Turnpike, he saw a hitchhiker and felt compelled to pick him up.
Campolo said, “We drove a few minutes and I said: ‘Hi, my name is Tony Campolo. What’s yours?’ He said, ‘My name is Charlie Stoltzfus.’ I couldn’t believe it! I got off the turnpike at the next exit and headed back. He got a bit uneasy with that and after a few minutes he said, “Hey mister, where are you taking me?’ I said, ‘I’m taking you home.’ He narrowed his eyes and asked, ‘Why?’ I said, ‘Because you just left your wife and three kids, right?’ That blew him away. ‘Yeah, yeah, that’s right.’ With shock written all over his face, he plastered himself against the car door and never took his eyes off me. Then I really did him in as I drove right to his silver trailer. When I pulled up, his eyes seemed to bulge as he asked, ‘How did you know that I lived here?’ I said, ‘God told me.’ (I believe God did tell me). When he opened the trailer door his wife exclaimed, ‘You’re back! You’re back!’ He whispered in her ear and the more he talked, the bigger her eyes got. I said with real authority, ‘The two of you sit down. I’m going to talk and you two are going to listen.’ Man, did they listen…that afternoon I led those two young people to Jesus Christ.”