“Hey, guys! Come back!” a frantic voice called out.
I turned to notice two boys about five and seven years old running through the store parking lot with tears streaming down their faces. The salesman looked concerned as he called to them.
As I turned back toward my car, the Spirit whispered, “You can be of help here.” The whisper was quiet yet so clear that a moment later I was running through the parking lot toward the boys.
I found the older one standing by a brown minivan. I approached and knelt beside him.
“Hi. My name is Christina. Are you OK?”
At my words, he cried harder and hid his face in his arm. The salesman and the other boy joined us.
“I think they only speak French,” the salesman told me. “We just found them running through the store, lost.”
I repeated my introduction to the children in French. French was my first language, but I hadn’t spoken it since I was adopted into an English-speaking family as a small child. Normally, my French is poor. At that moment, though, it was neither clumsy nor stilted. The words were clear in my mind and my voice as I comforted the boys.
Between sobs, the older boy explained in a quick torrent of words that he and his brother could not find their parents anywhere in the store and had run outside looking for them. As I listened, I became vaguely aware of how amazing it was that I was not only conversing freely in French but also readily understanding and consoling two frightened children.
“They’ve lost their parents and want to wait for them here at their car,” I told the salesman. The little boy told me the names of his parents, which I gave to the salesman so he could page them. A few minutes later the boy spotted his father coming out of the store and ran to meet him.
As I followed the boy to his father, I found that I could no longer manage even a good-bye in French. I tried in vain to say anything the boys could understand, but I could say nothing more than a few random words. Finally, I resorted to English, saying to the boy, “Bye. It was nice to meet you.”
As I left the boys with their parents, I was full of gratitude. Heavenly Father had worked through me to comfort two of His little ones. I was humbled that the Lord could magnify my limited abilities to fulfill His purposes. I was grateful to witness what can happen as we offer ourselves to Him when called upon, even in the most unlikely of settings.