[adapted from Lying Wonders, Strangest Things]:
Was it . . . an angel?
One of the most incredible accounts I’ve heard involved a Christian chemist named Vincent Tan Ban Soon, who emigrated from Singapore. He was working in a laboratory late the night of March 25, 1993, this in Tennessee, and about 1:30 a.m., as he readied to leave, he happened to look out the door and spot a man standing next to his car, on the passenger side.
It was a tough part of town, known for its crime.
Fearing assault, Vincent grabbed a rod and, just in case, held it behind his back as he exited. He also gave thought to chi-sao¸ a form of martial arts he knew. As he opened the car door, he nervously asked the stranger if he needed something.
“Hi, Vincent,” the fellow replied. Somehow, the stranger knew Tan’s name.
“Do I know you?’ asked Tan.
“Not really,” said the man, who was dressed in jeans and a t-shirt, thirty to thirty-five years in age, with short, well-groomed hair.
“What is your name and who are you?” Tan summoned the courage to insist.
“I have the name of the secondary and primary school,” replied the stranger cryptically.
Though Buddhist at the time, now evangelical, Tan had attended Saint Gabriel primary and secondary school in Singapore. Continued this fellow: “You don’t need to use chi-sao on me.”
How could this stranger have read his thoughts! When Vincent asked him just that, the man cryptically replied, “I know.” Then, in a different, more serious tone—an unforgettable one, referring to Jesus—the stranger said, “He’s coming very, very soon.” The man had had a normal American voice, said Tan, no accent, about six-feet-tall, very normal and casual except the sense of urgency, when he mentioned
the Second Coming.
When Tan turned for a moment, the young fellow was no longer anywhere around.
Had that been the extent of it, I would have rationalized it in my head as a possible hoax played on Tan. religious fanatic? . . .
There was, however, a second experience two days before Christmas that same year, in a way more astonishing.
This time it occurred on the way home from visiting a friend, when Vincent spotted a truck on the roadside— obvious car trouble. This was on Standifer Gap Road in Collegedale, about twenty miles from Chattanooga.
As Tan pondered whether he should risk stopping, he saw that it was an old man, maybe seventy-five, dressed in overalls—perhaps a farmer. He had a very old Ford truck.
When Tan pulled over, the man explained that he needed a jump. His battery was dead. He was clean-shaven, perhaps 5’8″, and a bit stout, with a full head of gray-white hair. Gray eyebrows. Normal nose—a bit pinched at the end.
Tan didn’t think he had his jumper cables with him but remembered how he had recently gotten a car started by using a metal clothes hanger instead.
It turned out that Tan did have his cables and this fellow connected his end of the cables with abnormal speed despite using no flashlight in the pitch-dark night. It was cold and so they waited in Tan’s own truck (he also owned a car) while the stranger’s Ford was charging.
That was when the man asked if they could pray. “God can work miracles, even start a car with coat hangers,” he commented—somehow knowing about the incident!
His prayer: “Most holy and powerful God in Heaven, we know You are coming very, very soon. Help us now in Your own time and way, in Jesus’s Name. Amen.”
The stranger asked Tan if he believed the Lord was coming and when Vincent said yes, he repeated that it would be soon.
He also knew, somehow, that Tan had a King James Bible in the vehicle, and asked to use it (it was in the glove compartment), commenting that Bible study “is like being in a big room with many candles that are lit.”
Again incredibly: Tan recently had had a dream about a room with many candles—but not all of them lit!
The old man also alluded to Matthew 24:36 and 42 (about not knowing the “hour,” and therefore being
Lastly: the stranger referred to Revelation 3:11 (“Behold, I come quickly . . . ”)
There was something in his voice that was extraordinarily powerful, recalled Tan.
After the Ford was charged, and before he left, the stranger said he was leaving a little token of appreciation. “It will be enough to fill up your car tomorrow with gas,” he intoned, again coyly.
Tan followed the man until they came upon a sharp curve, around which the Ford was suddenly no longer a part of the treeless landscape. “He had disappeared in front of my eyes!” Vincent told me.
The next morning, on the way to telling a friend what had happened, he decided to fill up his car. When he got to the pump he realized the tank was almost full. He filled it anyhow. It came to $2.34.
The next time Tan tidied up his truck, he found some money on the passenger side where the stranger had sat: a quarter, a nickel, four pennies, and two one-dollar bills . . . “exactly $2.34.”
–Michael H. Brown
[resources: Lying Wonders, Strangest Things]