We met some angels on Mount Evans in the Colorado Rockies earlier this week. They had names. Not Gabriel or Michael. But Amy, Pat, Chad, Greg and John. Yes, we met five angels at 14,130 ft. elevation. They actually called my name. I’m still in awe.


L to R: (Me), Pat Quinn, (Linda), Amy Stephenson, Chad Babcock, Greg Palmer and John Cichon

It happened like this. While driving up the highest highway in the Continental United States, my wife Linda and I stopped to take a selfie. Not the typical iPhone in hand capture, but with my large DSLR camera. Not bothering to get the tripod out of the car, I set the camera on a rock. But it needed a prop to stabilize and level it. My left rear pocket had the answer. My wallet. It was perfect.

We headed on up the mountain, driving carefully on the narrow guardrail-less road from 12,000 feet to stop again and take a short hike at 13,000 ft. We photographed Big Horn Sheep on the steep rocky cliffs and stunning Summit Lake with a glacier in the background and alpine flowers in the foreground. And for some reason, I touched my left rear pocket. It was empty.

Big Horn Sheep above Summit Lake

Mountain Sheep above Summit Lake

I moved into problem-solving mode for just a few seconds. Checked my camera bag. Told Linda to check in the rental car console. But I knew what had happened. My wallet was left on a random rock a thousand feet below us. I had screwed up. Maybe it was altitude-induced forgetfulness. But it was a big-time mistake. No other ID to use at the airport to fly back home the next day. Canceling credit cards. Getting a new driver’s license. New insurance cards, key cards and more. What a mess!


Summit Lake

And then there was peace deep inside as I breathed a prayer. God, I know you can handle this. I choose to trust in you. I don’t deserve any of this. It was my mess-up. My mistake. My bad. But I’m going to be like my mentor Tony Hostetler and rely on Your grace, Lord. We will go on up to the top of the mountain. And then, as we return to the bottom, we will stop at the cluster of rocks at the pull-out and see if the wallet is still there. If it is gone, we will check at the entrance gate to Mount Evans National Park and see if anyone had turned in a lost wallet. After all, I reasoned, the people who would take time to explore a scenic mountain road to enjoy God’s magnificent creation wouldn’t be dishonest jerks. They would care about others. They would do the right thing.

After photographing wild goats at the wind-chilled forty-seven degree peak of Mount Evans, Linda and I were returning to our car to head back down the mountain. A couple voices in a nearby crowd called my name. They even pronounced it perfectly. Dennis Gingerich! Are you Dennis Gingerich? I scanned their faces. I expected to see a friend, an acquaintance from Florida or from college days. They were young adults. Strangers. I didn’t recognize any of them. Then they told me they had my wallet in their car.

Mountain Goats near the summit of Mount Evans

While I had a peace that God would handle my predicament, I didn’t expect my wallet to be hand-delivered to me at the top of Mount Evans. I smiled. Linda cried. We hugged our five God-sent angels from New London, CT. These five delightful co-workers from Electric Boat had been searching the multitudes for my face at every pullout, every stopping place, and every parking lot all the way up the mountain. They planned to mail my wallet to me if they didn’t see me.

Amazing! I’m still in awe. As a pastor for the last thirty-five years, I’ve told many people that God cares about every detail of our lives. And, I’ve experienced it and I’ve heard the stories of others. But this encounter with His five angels was way too cool! Much like the rest of this four-month sabbatical–a mountain-top experience extraordinaire!

For more photos of our four month sabbatical journey, go to the following link: Gingerich Sabbatical Photos. Enjoy!

3 responses to Sabbatical: Encountering Angels

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