freddie : the taxi driver.
January 25, 2015 It was summer of 2014. As part of my dad’s sabbatical, my family and I were blessed to be able to travel to the UK. We spent two weeks visiting sites in different parts of Ireland, England, and Scotland. While most travelers will tell you that the highlight of their trip was a specific place, my highlight was a specific person. After our first day of the trip in Dublin, Ireland, we were on our way to the airport to fly out to London. Our taxi driver was hilarious and entertaining as he told us about different historical sites throughout the drive. We passed by several churches, and he pointed out the one that he grew up in. My dad shared that he was a pastor back in the States, and our driver began asking questions. Somehow, word spilled that one of our focuses is “People who have given up on church but not on God”. Our driver lifted his hands (don’t worry, we were at a stoplight) and said he felt his heart leap for joy, then asked if he could share his testimony with us. It was too good not to share, so here goes it. His name is Freddie, and to the best of my memory, this is his God story:
Freddie grew up with 17 siblings and an alcoholic father in a one-bedroom, one-bathroom house. He had always gone to church as a kid but never felt any form of relationship with God, so he gave up. As a teenager, he swore that he would never end up like his father. Due to a night out with friends and peer pressure, Freddie had his first sip of alcohol, which was enough to start his addiction for the next 20+ years. One day after being hospitalized for excessive drinking, he woke up to the face of his crying daughter and saw the same pain and sadness that he had when he looked at his own father. Later in the week, he went to the church when no one was there and fell on his knees before the pew. He raised his hands and closed his eyes and said, “God, I don’t know if you’re there. But if you are, would you please help me?” The second he walked out of the church, he felt his heart lift and he knew that God had heard him. Later that same day, Freddie ran into an old friend whom he had not seen in a while. His friend told him that there was something different about him, and that he looked refreshed and better than he had ever been. To this day, Freddie is 100% sober and a firm believer in Christ.
This man was such an unexpected blessing to our entire family. It amazes me how God can send people like that into our lives when we least expect it, in the places where we least expect to meet them. I loved every second of our time in the UK, but honestly, Freddie is the one who made the trip worthwhile.
“Give yourselves completely to God, for you were dead, but now you have new life.”