It had been a perfect day of canoing in Killarney Provincial Park. With 5 paddlers – Opa, Oma, Alina, Jeremy, and Jeffrey – all engaged in paddling, we were literally skimming across the water. It was our last day and we must have looked like a native warrior party as we shouted, “Land ahoy!” and beached the canoe. Opa hoisted the 6-meter monster onto his shoulders and locked it up in the rack. We made a campfire, had hot dogs for supper, and returned in the evening for a beaver spotting tour on the still waters of Lake George. Silently we drifted into the bay where the beaver had built a house. The house had that lived-in look, yet no beaver greeted us. We circled quietly a second time. Again, no luck. They must have gotten wind of us. Nevertheless, it was an adventure just to be out there in a canoe, on the still waters of the lake late in the evening. We locked up the canoe again, piled into the camper van and returned the gear and key to Killarney Outfitters. We had just parked the van for the night at our campsite. “Opa,” Alina asked as we exited the van. “Why is your engine smoking?” And, so began the adventure of the camper which refused to scamper and almost put a damper on five campers.
Steam was rising from under the hood as the coolant hissed from the engine, flooding the ground below – the coolant appeared to be leaking from the water pump. We put everything in God’s hands and retired for the night. A loon’s vibrato pierced the silence of the night as we fell asleep. That night, Jeremy slept with Opa in the tent. That took a lot of courage. A bear was active in the campground and a bear trap had been set close to where we were sleeping. So close, you could probably have thrown a rock at it. A raccoon, recognized by its footprints on the tent doormat, appeared to be the only visitor during the night, though.
The following morwning, we broke camp, poured water back into the radiator, took an emergency supply of water with us and arrived safely at the Killarney Park entrance parking lot where we waited for a tow truck for 4 ½ hours – Killarney is very remote. Our van then hitched a ride on the bed of a monster tow truck all the way from Killarney to the Canadian Tire Store in Barry – 300.2 km away, according to Google maps.
On the way, we stopped in Parry Sound at a Canadian Tire Store, just before closing time. We purchased a can of Stop Leak and then it was time for supper. As a favor to Opa, Oma suggested McDonalds! The tow truck driver gave his enthusiastic support, and so it was unanimous. We were eating at McDonalds.
After another long drive, we and our van were discharged in the parking lot of the Canadian Tire Store on Bayfield Street in Barry. Alina lingered a while. A delightful smile spread across her face, as she surveyed our new location from the top of her perch in the doorway of the tow truck.
We were now alone. It was close to midnight. Alone, yet not alone. Three taxis were circling like vultures hoping that one of them would be first in line to transport us to the nearest motel, when Opa would fail to fix the leak. We filled the radiator with water, started the engine and added the can of Stop Leak. The coolant seemed to be draining about as quickly as we could replenish it. It was not like Niagara Falls, but there seemed to be no hope of fixing it with just a small can of Stop Leak. Intermittently adding more water and keeping a close eye on the temperature gauge, Opa jockeyed back and forth from under the hood to inside the van. The coolant continued to drain unstoppably. He was beginning to regret that he had purchased only a single can of Stop Leak.
Meanwhile Oma and Jeremy were praying together. “We don’t want to sleep in the van in the parking lot tonight. Dear God please let us make it home. Please help that whatever Opa is doing would fix the van so that we could drive it home.” Shortly thereafter, when Opa got out of the van to check the flow, it had stopped completely.
We drove to Burlington and delivered the kids with their gear back to their parents. Not a drop of leakage as we left there! We drove home from there to Oma and Opa’s house, arriving at 2:30 am. Now if Alina had been present at that moment, and awake, she would have said, “Opa, why is your engine smoking?” The coolant was hissing out onto the driveway, the same as it had done back in Killarney. It would be hard to argue that what we had just experienced was not God’s intervention to get us home safely. It happened just as Jeremy and Oma had prayed. God is good! God is gracious! God is awesome! He answers prayer, and there is nothing He cannot do! He says, “Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me” (Psalm 50:15).
We hope the story of this adventure will encourage you to “trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5).