A desperate mother of three was at the end of her rope when she sent a Facebook message to a friend to ask for prayer, but she mistakenly sent it to a stranger—and it turned out to be God’s answer to her needs.
Amy Rickel had moved to Green Bay in Wisconsin so she could be closer to the father of her children. However, she fell on hard times. Without a job and a home to shelter her three children aged 8, 6 and 4, she did not know what to do when her money ran out.
They had been staying at a hotel but they could no longer afford to pay it. On top of all these, her car died.
Desperate for help, she thought of sending a message to a friend to ask for a Bible verse to help her.
“Hi Brian, wondering if you know a good Bible verse for someone to pray when in deep fear, weak, scared, and personal despair/lost/breaking?” she said in her message, according to 11 News.
She had already sent the message when she realized she sent it to a stranger with the same name as her friend. So she sent that person an apology.
Unsure of what to do, Rickel cried and prayed to God. To her surprise, the person, named Brian Van Boxtel, did not ignore her message. Instead, he replied and told her he would come and pay for their hotel.
Van Boxtel believed “God puts us in people’s lives for a reason,” and he responded in a way that he believed Jesus would have responded if He were in the same situation.
But the story doesn’t end there. Van Boxtel urged Rickel to set up a GoFundMe account to help her family get by until she finds a job and is able to stand on her feet again—and she followed his advice.
“My only concern at this point is making sure my kids are safe and warm," Rickel wrote on her GoFundMe page. “Any and all help will be welcomed and received with warm loving grateful hearts, and we as a family will pay it forward as soon as we are able!”
Through it, she got connected with other people who helped her find a temporary place to stay and secure a job.
A lady named Kathy Schumann said Rickel’s story just “tugged at our heart strings.” In response, she took Rickel and her kids into their home. She also let Rickel use her minivan.
A man named Chad Morack referred Rickel to a medical recruiting agency when he found out she was a licensed practical nurse.
Morack said there were “a lot of behind the scenes stuff going on to really make this happen” and to help her land the job as quickly as possible.
Alexandria Witkowski, the job recruiter, upon learning Rickel’s story and seeing her credentials, forwarded Rickel’s resume to the company’s clients so she could get a full-time job.
All their efforts have paid off. Rickel was scheduled to start in her new job as a licensed practical nurse on Jan. 3.
And how does Rickel feel about all of this?
"Pretty amazed," says Rickel. "I still kind of find it unbelievable."
She also enjoys the company of new friends God has put in her life.
“It's totally restored my faith in more than just humanity—my faith in God,” she said.