Editor’s note: Read part one of Loretta’s encounters with the flagman here.
From inside my apartment I can hear the flagman’s radio buzz as he talks to his counterpart up the road. Another dump truck of dirt passes as the hillside comes down in preparation for new foundations.
The flagman reminds me to slow down my life. The next time I pass and say hi, he asks what I do. I tell him about books I’ve written.
“You write books! My mother wrote a book about me,” he offers. His eyes dart back and forth on the road, ever vigilant at his post. He calls on his radio, “Car coming!” and I wait a moment. “Would you like to read it?” he asks.
I tell him I’d love to. “Let’s trade books!” I offer. He gives me Flights of Destiny, and I give him 2022: A Book of Grace-Filled Days. We talk briefly about the value of daily devotionals.
Later, when I begin reading the book about this 34-year-old, I learn of his miraculous rescue at age three and a half from Romania during the fall of communism. Born Gabriel and called Gaby, the family renamed him Michael—after another angel—to protect him from difficulties in his new life. The book describes his father’s horrible fuel fire death, a violent stepfather, a powerless mother, and Michael’s escape with his sister into the arms of an adoptive family eager to love.
Michael earned a college degree in marketing communications, but he works as a flagman while discerning God’s call, which seems to be drawing him to be a youth minister. He hesitates to accept this invitation, because the salary is so much less than he gets holding a flag. And he enjoys learning about commercial construction by observing. Nothing gets past this flagman.
Some churches have already heard his testimony. He almost died of stage 4 cancer at age 20. When doctors said they could do nothing more and referred the family to hospice, Michael’s mother refused to accept it. She heard about a weekend-long healing event in Florida. Michael could barely endure sitting in a wheelchair and being lifted into a plane seat. He suffered excruciating pain from a broken hip caused by tumors. He could not swallow; a feeding tube kept him alive.
On the aircraft, people heading to the healing conference began praying over Michael right there. By the time they landed, Michael’s pain had decreased so significantly that he ate a hefty rib dinner and never needed the feeding tube again.
After the weekend, Michael surprised his doctors. The deadly tumors were gone. His bones were restored.
Michael still holds the sign telling me to slow down and appreciate blessings. He is a witness to love and redemption. I wonder what God has in store for him next.
Michael’s mother included her e-mail address at the end of the book. We met for coffee and shared our faith. Connections occur when we dare to open a conversation with a stranger. That stranger is Christ.