hadfieldElder M. Hadfield 

Dear President Albright,

I had this email forwarded to me from my best friend, Elder Cees (pronounced Case) Hofman, who is currently serving a mission in Russia. This is a special miracle where he was able to help someone in need.  Miracles are taking place throughout the world every day! Enjoy!

Elder M. Hadfield

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Dear Family and Friends,

God knows us and he has a plan for us.  This is so true. The following experience I had last night really drove it home for me.

Yesterday we had a Zone Leader’s Council in Moscow.  We had some things that we absolutely had to do in the office after it was all over.  We also had an overnight train to Lipetsk at 10:18 p.m., a train that left from the center of the city. 

We got things done, ran home, packed, and jumped on the metro.  It takes about 45 minutes to get to the train station from where we were.  We had 55 minutes until our train left.  We hadn’t yet printed out our tickets.  In three words: “It was intense.”

Right as we got to our metro station, my comp ran ahead to print the tickets at the ticket booth while I bear-hugged our suitcase and ran up escalators and stairs straight to the platform.  I made it to the platform with about four minutes to spare.  I showed them that we had electronic registration and that my friend was coming with our real tickets. 

Two minutes… one minute… I kept promising the conductor that he would show.  With about 30 seconds to spare, he came ripping up the stairs and around the corner to our wagon!  Ha!  He made it!  He showed the conductor the ticket and we jumped on. 

Then, to our horror, the conductor asked, “Where is your ticket?”  The lady at the desk only gave my companion one ticket!  Bah!  He had grabbed only mine.  So the train starts, taking off with me in it and my companion still standing on the platform!  I jumped off (again, bear-hugging my suitcase) the train gaining speed, and we watched our train leave without us.

At first I was a little frustrated.  We had missed our train.  I have never missed a train or a plane on my mission (I think this was a little pride thing) and now how were we going to get to Lipetsk.  We had no more money. We had to hope that we could exchange our tickets in the middle of the night.

I thought to myself, “What’s the deal?  This is going to really mess up our plans!  Doesn’t Heavenly Father care about what we were planning on doing with the elders there in Lipetsk tomorrow?”

We did end up exchanging our tickets. We got tickets for a train that left at 2:00 a.m. (way too late for missionaries).  And as a matter of fact, as we exchanged the tickets, the cashier actually refunded us some money back, about 350 Russian rubles.

A few hours later, as we were getting ready to go board our train, I saw a man I thought I recognized.  He looked quite lost and confused.  I went up and said, “Oleg, is that you?”  He responded affirmatively and he was so happy to see me!

Oleg is a member of the Church from Nizhny Novgorod that I had gotten to know quite well.

After a minute of talking, I found out that he was stranded in Moscow.  He was coming home from a visit to relatives, and he had also missed a train.  But his tickets were non-refundable and he had absolutely no way of getting back to his home in Nizhny Novgorod.  All he had was a 50-ruble bill. He was stuck with no idea of what to do but pray.

We went together and asked the lady at the ticket window how much it would cost to buy Oleg the cheapest ticket on a train that night.  She replied, “400 Rubles.”  I was shocked.  I pulled out the 350 rubles that we had just received in our refund and put it with his 50 rubles and she printed him out a ticket.

It was at this moment that I realized that God did know our plans. He just had a better one.  We were needed somewhere else more and God put us in the right place at the right time to help with a rescue of a different sort.

Oleg said to me as we walked him out to the platform, “You know Elder Hofman, I really didn’t think the Lord was going to help me.  I just didn’t see a way out.  And then I saw you here at the train station at two in the morning.”

I was taught a serious lesson last night.  It kind of confirmed a Russian saying for me: Accidents are not accidental.  It is so true.  I know that God has a plan for us.  He knows where we are needed and He knows when we need help.  Oh how great is the plan of our God!

I love you all!

Elder Cees Hoffman