An encounter with the divine in the eyes of a stranger

By Mona Blandford

When we lived in Kremmling 40 years ago, I was one of the people who had vouchers for the county's Samaritan Fund, a fund put together by all the churches to help those in need. The vouchers were given out to folks who were passing through the area or residents who came on hard times. The locals could come to me and others without the aid of the police checking them out, but those traveling through were checked out by the police, who brought them to me or arranged a meeting. The cops always were there the entire time I was in contact with people, so I never worried about safety.

 One evening, the local chief of police called me and asked if I would come to a hotel, as there were people in need. I went there with the voucher pad in hand. Two Mexican nationals were there and their story was sad indeed. They had come to America to work in the harvest north of Denver, and when that was finished had headed home. They were trying to get back to Mexico and had no idea of how to go about it.

 They were either put on a freight train by police, or got on the wrong train headed south, but somehow they wound up in Bond, which is deep in the mountains west of Denver. A railroad official had found them there and put them on a train back toward Denver. Somehow they got off the train at Kremmling and went looking for help.

Their story was sad and scary, as they had been wandering around in the mountains, which is usually not welcoming to people such as they. After hearing their story, I wrote vouchers to an overnight stay at the hotel, vouchers for meals, supper and breakfast. The policeman told me he would make sure they got on the right train back to Denver the next morning, with help to get them headed south to home.

 As I wrote those vouchers, I hadn’t really looked at the men, one of whom said nothing, probably because he was not good with English. The one who spoke English signed the vouchers, which was a requirement. Then he looked right at me. In all my 87 years, I have looked many folks in the eye, some shortly and others at length, but only once have I had this experience. As I looked at him, it took my breath away. I felt like I was looking at Jesus, eye to eye. His eyes were dark, but I felt like I was looking into forever.

 When I could finally breathe again, I mumbled something. I have no clue now, and turned away. I can still remember looking into the deepest eyes I have ever seen. Was I in the presence of Jesus, the Holy Spirit, or an angel or who? Astounding experience. I have had a few encounters with the Holy Spirit, not visual, but hearing His voice, so I can’t compare. Those are quite wonderful too.