WASHINGTON—On February 22, Portland received more than 10 inches of snow, the second-largest snowfall ever recorded in the city.
I was driving 30 miles from Tigard, Oregon, home to Vancouver, Washington, hoping to miss rush hour traffic. About 15 minutes into the drive, the rain turned to snow and was coming down fast. Traffic slowed to a crawl. I was on an elevated ramp, there were three semitrucks stalled at the top, and it was still snowing heavily.
Around 8 pm, the truckers began to guide the cars around them, one by one. Just after I passed the trucks, I lost traction, and the back of my car spun around slowly until I was crossways with the ramp. I came to rest a few inches from the cement barrier, with no damage to my car. No one could go around me. By now there was about 8 inches of heavy, wet snow on the ground. I heard on the radio that no one was going anywhere in the whole metro area. The truckers were friendly and encouraging, checking on me to see if I was OK, advising me to keep my engine running to have heat through the night. The wife of one of the truckers gave me some food.
Around midnight, two Oregon Department of Transportation trucks and drivers arrived to get the trucks going so as to not to interrupt commerce. They pulled my car out of the awkward position and then pushed it down the other side of the ramp to a flat part of the highway. I parked under an overpass and waited. By this time, there was 10 inches of snow.
I didn’t know how long the gas would last with the car idling continually. All night long, I was warm and dry, along with my daughter’s dog, which I was caring for. We had food and water. At the beginning of each winter, I had heard something again about having extra supplies in one’s car for emergencies. This year was the first year I had taken the advice. I put on the boots and dry socks and got out the extra blanket and jacket which had been in my trunk for more than two months. I had even thrown in a cord to charge my phone.
I had been in contact with my minister and several other members since early evening. Many prayers were being offered on my behalf during those long hours. During this ordeal, I had a lot of time to meditate and pray. I realized just how important the Church-wide fast, only a few days prior, had been. I realized that God had given me a great gift, an opportunity to exercise faith and trust when everything was out of my control. I felt His presence with me. He brought me calmness and did not allow me to be fearful. I wasn’t really hungry, so I thought I could just as well fast if I needed to, since my fast on the weekend had been successful.
The next morning, another semi-truck driver gave me a loaf of bread and an avocado. I still had food for the dog, some snacks for me, water, my cell phone and fuel to keep the car running.
Around noon, I saw a figure running toward me. It was one of the members coming to rescue me. He brought his four-wheel drive truck to me, and we loaded everything out of my car into his vehicle, locked mine and drove over to his home. He and his family welcomed me with a warmth that only God’s people have. All of the traffic in and out of Vancouver was at a standstill due to the ice. Thankfully, the member lived in a part of town where the side roads were open, just covered with four to six inches of solid ice, which his truck was able to navigate. By the following afternoon the ice was melting, and I was able to pick up my car downtown and return home.
I am so grateful for all of the interventions that our loving Father provided. He kept his angels round about me. He brought me kind strangers who served and provided for me and others. He reinforced how much He wants us to have faith and to trust Him to take care of us, and how His members in His loving family care for one another. During my 20-hour trial being stranded on the freeway, God reminded me numerous times of two scriptures: Hebrews 13:5, which says “I will never leave you nor forsake you,” and Joshua 1:9, which says, “Be strong and of good courage; be not afraid, neither be you dismayed: for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”