“Miss, you need to step here.” The woman’s voice came from behind me. I was alone in Singapore, recently de-trained from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia where I had finished a six-week short-term cross-cultural trip. It had been an adventure of faith; I had gone to assist a vibrant Christian church in its youth and vocal programs in a Muslim country, and I went alone. I was twenty-two, wide-eyed and full of zeal, but that night at the train station, I was tired and afraid. Just a week before, my new Malaysian friends took me to the closest Emergency Room where the doctor gave me spoiled medicine for a severe case of bronchitis. My body heaved until the medicine was out of my system so I was still a bit green on the long train ride.
Earlier, the Lord sent two Taiwanese men whom I befriended on the train to help me unload my heavy luggage onto the deserted Singapore platform. Friends greeted them after they detrained; they shyly waved to me as they laughed with their friends and sped away. A few families met the other remaining passengers, and I was left alone.
Taxis did not run after midnight, and my only connection to where I would be staying that evening was a scribbled address that I clutched in my right hand. My pastor from home told me harrowing tales of giving this same address to a taxi driver and getting a grand tour of Singapore. A few taxi cabs later, he had finally arrived at the compound. Other global working teams that filtered through Singapore told similar stories of trying unsuccessfully to find this place.
Stressed, I sat on my barely luggable luggage, put my face in my hands, and prayed. Oh Lord, help me! That’s when the woman’s voice interrupted my pity party.
“Miss, you need to step here.”
I turned around to find a short Chinese woman, probably in her sixties. She was small boned and seemed frail, but her voice exuded confidence. Before I could explain my predicament and my need for the nonexistent taxi, she motioned for me to follow her to the street to the left of the platform. I dragged my two suitcases off the platform to where she now stood, beckoning.
“Follow me, Miss. Don’t worry. I will take care of you.” I showed her the compound’s address. She smiled and told me to wait. I stood on the dark street feeling vulnerable. Maybe this is a plot. Maybe she’s going to rob me. In minutes she returned and a taxi followed her, backing down the road toward me. Again she said, “Don’t worry. I will take care of you.”
Before I could get to my luggage, this woman—who probably weighed 90 pounds—grabbed my bags and hurled them into the taxi’s already open trunk. She opened the back door for me and then spoke to the taxi driver in Chinese. Her voice rose as she motioned with her arms. The taxi driver nodded. She turned to me and repeated, “Don’t worry. I will take care of you.” With that, she shut my door and the car lurched forward. I tried to blurt out a thank you while she shut the door, but the door’s momentum absorbed my words.
Wanting to thank her, I turned to look out the taxi’s back window where she would have been. At least I could wave and smile. But when I looked, she was gone. The street, deserted, showed no signs of any life; only the hazy yellow glow of streetlights remained.
The taxi driver took me right to the compound via palm tree lined streets and took my luggage from the trunk. He waited until I found someone inside and then he sped off.
Only once in my life have I possibly encountered an angel. The Bible speaks of masculine angels whose strength and form cause people to quake. My “angel” was cleverly disguised as an aging Chinese woman who helped me find a taxi one quiet Singapore night.