The California Trip Story
We are going out there to deliver a quilt, created by many different people (locals and others) in memory
of Rachel Lopez to her family. We will also be leaving some teddy bears with the Ronald McDonald House
in the SF Bay area and hopefully I will be able to share my testimony while we are there. Just in case any
of you are interested, here is the story of how I came to find out about Rachel’s accident and how God has
worked out some incredible details for us to make this trip. I know that it is lengthy but I am trying to tell it in
the least space and not leave out the good stuff.
The California project started almost a year ago, in May of 2008. It was the week of Mother’s Day, to be
exact. An accident happened in Pittsburg, CA, which is across the bay from SF. A mother, just coming
home from work, ran over her 5 year old daughter, tragically killing her. The little girl ran in front of the
vehicle on a tricycle, and couldn’t be seen from the driver’s seat. She and her sisters were playing in a
neighbor’s yard and their mother had pulled over to tell them to come home.
One of the ladies (Keriann) who had reached out to my family back in the time of Sailor Kate’s accident
(2001) lives in that area and she saw reports of the accident on the news. She decided to contact me and
see if there was anything I could do for them. (First of all, I can’t do much but God can!) Keriann didn’t
have my contact information anymore. She looked on the internet phone listings for McRae, remembering
that my maiden name was Yawn, and found too many to count! She settled on calling a business with the
same name and it was that of Wesley Yawn, and his 4- Wheeler business. She called and Wesley
answered. She asked if he knew my parents, calling them by the names their grandchildren call them
(Pettee and Poppy Yawn). Then she asked if he knew me and he replied that he did. God works out every
detail- Wesley didn’t have my phone number but his wife PJ did, and she was walking in the door as he
was on the phone. So, Keriann was able to find me and tell me about this accident.
Back up a couple weeks, and let me show how God works and has a sense of humor. I had spoken to the
children’s group at Wesley’s church (Reedy Branch) about 2 weeks before this happened. Wesley told me
after my visit that my story was amazing. I replied to him that he didn’t know the half of it- the craziest things
always happen to me and I never know what He has planned for me next. I told him to “stick around” and
he would see, promising to let him know the next time something happened. We were both surprised when
Wesley got the phone call! God put him right in the middle of the next incident!
We had been told that the family did not speak English, which just meant that God wanted someone else
involved. I bought a card, composed a message, and asked Josie Zavalas, who works in our school system
with ESL families, to translate the message into Spanish. She did that for us and I was able to establish
contact with the family, and lift them up in prayer. I have corresponded with them all year. We will deliver
their quilt at the end of May.
There are other divine interventions to help this trip along- if you’re still with me, read on! In February,
while my mom and I were trying to make flight reservations, I felt that something wasn’t “right”. I didn’t know
anyone out there and wasn’t comfortable making this big of a trip without a contact person. We put the
project down, went to church that night and prayed about it. The speaker at church mentioned in his
message that sometimes we have to “be still and let God.” So, I went to the altar and prayed that He would
send me an intervention; a contact; somebody familiar! Three days later, an old friend found me on
Facebook. I haven’t seen this friend since high school as she lived in Hawaii and only came to McRae to
visit her grandparents in the summers. She became my friend on FB and said that she had seen my
website and wanted to help with the quilt. When I asked for her address to send the square, she told me
she is living in CA, right where we are going! Answered prayer! Then, 2 days later, again on FB, I got a
message from a guy who used to date my roommate from freshman year of college. He was looking for a
contact address and sent along an email address of another friend of ours, Jennifer. Jennifer lived in
Suwannee, GA last I heard and I was glad to catch up with her again. I emailed her. She called me. She
lives in CA now, too! Right at the airport where we are flying in! She offered to let us stay with her and her
family. I love it when God surprises me like that! I felt sure He would answer my prayer but I had no idea He
would send that answer through FB!
So, I believe with all my heart that God is the Ultimate Sponsor of this mission trip. It is my wish and prayer
that I am able to make this trip all that He wants it to be. I believe that as long as I give Him the glory, He will
continue this story. Sherry Beasley told me when the accident happened that there would be ripples of
blessings for years to come. She was right. If you are reading this and, have been touched by Sailor Kate's
story, made a quilt square, bought a turkey plate, said a prayer, given a teddy bear, or in any other way
been connected with us, thanks for being a ripple.