I had just graduated from a small Christian boarding high school, but the fun was not over: we still had a summer ensemble tour to the East Coast. The ensemble consisted of three girls, three boys, a sound man and our fearless director. We would travel to churches where we performed concerts and presented information about our school. Usually we went home by twos after the concert. People were reluctant, however, to take more than two at a time and since there was an odd number of girls and boys we would take turns going to a home by ourselves. I was apprehensive about the whole idea, but I was the last girl to take my turn, so I figured if the others could do it, surely I’d be just fine also.
After the concert I was presented to a nice divorced man and told that I would be staying with him and his teenage daughter. I looked around and didn’t see anyone with him. I followed him to his car, but still no daughter. He said that she was with some friends and that she’d meet us at their home. So I got in the car and he drove to his house. We chatted easily. Once we got there, however, it felt very awkward to actually be there with him—alone. He showed me around the house and introduced me to the family cat. Several times he said that his daughter should be back any moment. He told me about her and how she’d gotten involved in the “wrong crowd.” That’s why he requested a girl to stay with them, he said, because he wanted someone to be a good influence on her.
The door bell rang, and I was surprised to see the pastor of the church and my ensemble director. After greetings they sat down for a glass of tea. When the pastor had engaged the man in conversation, my director took me aside and asked me how I was. I told him that I was okay. He said that the pastor’s wife had seen us leave the church and was concerned because she didn’t see the daughter with us. I told him that the man kept saying that his daughter was going to be here any minute. He said if I felt uncomfortable they would take me to the pastor’s home, but that they didn’t want to offend the man. I was given a choice, but not wanting to be the instrument of contention, I agreed to stay. A few minutes later they exchanged good-byes and left.
The man of the house was a Gideon. I remember asking endless questions about his work as a Gideon. I asked about the Bibles themselves, how they had permission to pass them out in schools, how they were able to leave them in hotels, how they received required funds, how it was rewarding. I wanted to make sure the conversation was centered completely on spiritual things. When it started getting late and still his daughter hadn’t shown up, he finally said that she had gone to a graduation party and “might be home late.” That’s when I realized I really wasn’t going to see the daughter.
Finally, I told the man good night and retired to my bed room. I closed the door and locked it. I pondered my situation. I was stuck. There was nothing I could do about it. I stood and looked at the lock. The door knob did require a key to open it, but it looked very flimsy. I knew that lock alone would not keep me safe. I told myself I was over reacting and that I was perfectly fine. I would go to sleep and wake up in the morning and go my merry way. I said a quick prayer and went to sleep. I really did not grasp the gravity of the situation.
A noise woke me up in the night. I sat up in bed disoriented. I could see the door knob moving in the dim light. It rattled again as it shook. I cannot explain how I didn’t panic, but I told myself it was probably the cat, turned over and went back to sleep. This happened two more times. Maybe it was the cat, or maybe the daughter came home in the middle of the night and tried the door, although I never saw her. But I think that God alone kept me safe that night.
I got up early the next morning and, saying he was in a hurry as he had to be at work early, the man drove me to the pastor’s house. When I got there the pastor’s wife greeted me with a big hug. “I’m so glad you’re safe,” she whispered in my ear. “I prayed for you all night“. As we walked in the house, I asked, “Really? Why is that?” What she said raised the hair on the back of my neck, “Oh he has been unstable. He’s on medication. There’s no telling what he might have done!”
In the course of the conversation, I also found out that the reason the pastor and the director had gone over to check on me the night before was that there had been no phone in the man’s house. I didn’t say anything about the noises or door knob moving until we were all loaded in the van. When I recounted the night’s experiences, I noticed the way my director went still for a moment, and I could see the fear in his eyes. It was only then that I let my mind race through all the paths of what might have happened. I still shudder when I think of it.
Wow! Scary story! I’m a little troubled by the fact that you were alone in this situation. Shouldn’t there at least been 2 of you together?
I am a newer follower. I really enjoy your humorous stories. You have a lovely family. God bless!
Ken Barnes says
It’s none of my business and I probably should’nt comment, but Your director and that preacher ought to have their heads examined! To leave a defenseless girl in a situation like that harbors on criminal. What the heck were they thinking?
I think the pastor and my director both realized they should have done things differently and all were really thankful that things turned out all right. My director was just out of college–only a few years older than we were really. It was unfortunate, but I don’t blame them! 🙂 I don’t remember any of us having to go to a house on our own again after that.
Elizabeth Grimes says
I HIGHLY recommend this book called “The Gift of Fear.” It talks about how humans are the only creatures that sense danger and remain in the situation out of politeness and against their instinct. It’s absolutely worth the read, for your daughters too as they get older. I tell every woman I know to read it! Here’s a link:
Whoa Esther! That’s crazy. Poor judgement on the director and pastor for even letting you go to that house regardless if he had a daughter or another girl was with you. Thanks be to God that he is with us protecting us.
wow. that is so scary! I agree that the pastor shouldn’t have put a young girl in a situation like that. However, God definitely used that error in judgement to show his mercy & protection & the power of prayer!
Kim Bauer says
You are so lucky. I think God WAS with you that night! I am guessing that this happened when rape, child molestation and pedophoelia were not so widely discussed, but that is no excuse for you being in a put in a position of being alone with a potentially dangerous stranger.
Being a victim of the “neighborhood” pedodophile myself as a kid, I always err on the side of safety and follow my intuition. It has probably caused me to be a little over protective of my kids, but I know first hand how quickly these “innocent” situations can spin out of control.
Thanks for sharing that story!
It is absolutely UNACCEPTABLE that the pastor KNEW that man was unstable and on medication and let you stay there for the night. He’d better be thanking his lucky stars nothing happened to you, or it would have been his butt in the frying pan.
Glenda Cates says
This is crazy. They should never have left you there. I can see God was watching over you. Thank God and you where safe and they did learn a lesson but it was at your expense which was very wrong.
Sharon Henning says
Well, most people have written what I already was going to write but I’ve got to tell you I was hot when I read your post. The pastor’s wife KNEW this man was unstable but let him take you home anyway? I hope she has asked God for forgiveness because she is otherwise going to be held accountable for that.
On a positive note, I enjoy your blogs. Keep up the good work!!
Wow! I am so glad that everything turned out ok! God is so good and it is obvious that His hand of protection was on you that night. I also believe that He gave you peace in a very scary situation.
You were protected by the power of prayer and God’s protection…it could have turned out so differently. I’m glad you were protected that night.
Cathy - Life's Hidden Treasures says
oh my goodness, what a scary story. Praise God nothing happened to you! It sounds like it could have turned out a lot worse.
@Cathy, looking back it is really creepy. It’s so weird that I was so calm at the time. Crazy! 🙂
Esther I had goosebumps reading your story. Bad judgement all around but glad the Lord protected you.
Me too Gina, me too!
All these years later I read this story and shudder. Esther didn’t tell us about her experience any time soon after it happened. She liked her school and the director and didn’t want any of them to get in trouble. And I think she was more aware and careful after that.
Wow. The fact that they should have have known better than to leave you there – so many red flags! It goes against common-sense, too, and even the biblical instruction to “abstain from the appearance of evil”.
At the very least it was a testimony to 1) the power and necessity of praying for others (your pastor’s wife) and 2) God’s ability to protect us in such situations.
I agree with you 100%, Tracy! I am so thankful for the people that prayed and God’s protection. I’m pretty sure that all the adults involved were kicking themselves the next day. They knew it was the wrong call. I doubt anything like this ever happened again on their watch!
Sara Phillips says
OH my goodness, Esther! I’m so glad you locked the door and prayed but more than that, I’m glad God kept you safe.
Wasn’t that just crazy? It’s so hard to believe it happened at all. lol Yes, me to, very thankful!