Mystery man on the beach



Frank and Shirley Beyer wanted to wait until their children were old enough to be somewhat independent before the family became missionaries. Confirmed Christians for many years, the couple knew of the potential dangers on foreign mission fields, and they had no intention of taking infants or toddlers into such an adventure in faith.

Finally, in 1968, they decided the family was ready. Their oldest son, Kenneth, was eleven, David was nine, and the youngest, Rebecca, was seven.

"We need to be very careful and be sure to stick together," Frank said as he prepared the family for the fiveyear trip to South America. "And most of all, we need to trust that God will take care of us while we're gone."

Through the first year there were many times when members of the Beyer family barely avoided injury or illness. Always they believed this was because God was watching over them.

Then on an afternoon when the family had been in South America for one year, they decided to spend a day swimming and sunbathing on a deserted beach. It was a beautiful day with a gentle breeze and a brilliant blue sky. But a powerful undertow made swimming difficult.

As the children headed toward the water, Rebecca found herself fighting to stay on her feet, and she decided to stay in the shallow water that hit just around her ankles.

"Come on out, Rebecca!" Kenneth yelled to her. He and David had gone out farther and were swimming despite the strong pull of the current.

"Yeah, Rebecca, come on and play with us!" David shouted.

Rebecca shook her head firmly. She was not a good swimmer like her brothers, and she was scared to swim in deep water. "No!" she yelled over the sound of the pounding surf. "The tide's too strong."

The boys returned to their own swimming, but a few minutes later they called Rebecca out once more. Finally, they convinced the young girl, and she timidly made her way closer to them, stopping when she was in water up to her waist.

"No farther!" she shouted. "You can come over here and swim with me."

The boys saw that Rebecca had made an effort, and they joined her, splashing and swimming with her for the next fifteen minutes.

"I'm tired," Kenneth said to the others. "Come on, let's go back to shore."

The others agreed and together they started to go in. Kenneth and David had to work to swim against the strong undertow, but they began making progress and heading for the shoreline. When Kenneth realized that Rebecca was not with them, he turned around.

"Come on," he said. "Stay with us."

Rebecca shook her head. "It's too strong. I'll catch the next wave and ride it in."

The girl waited, looking out to sea and spotting a wave that seemed the right size to push her into shore. She got into a diving position and jumped in front of the wave expecting to be carried to shore. Instead, the undertow pulled her beneath the surface of the water and dragged her farther out to sea.

When Rebecca was able to come up for air, she found that she was in water over her head. Just then another wave came upon her, pulling her under water and dragging her still farther out. Frantically the child tried to swim against the undertow, but her efforts only kept her in place.

Terrified that she was going to drown, Rebecca gasped for air only to be pulled under by yet another wave. By that time the waves were coming so quickly, she had to struggle just to get her head out of the water for a quick breath of air.

Then a towering wave pulled Rebecca deep into the water--although she fought to find the surface she remained buried in the sea.

"I'm drowning," she thought to herself. Years of being at church and learning about God had taught her that the only chance she had was to pray for help.

"Please, God, save me," she prayed. "Please!"

Instantly she was shot into the air for a few seconds, just enough time to gasp for air.

"Help me, God!" she screamed before the next wave knocked her back under the water. By then she was much farther from the shore, and she could see her family standing at the edge waving at her to come in.

Praying constantly, Rebecca stayed under several seconds before she could fight her way to the top and breathe again. This time she looked toward shore and saw a man standing a few feet away from her family. He was looking at Rebecca and shouting at her in Spanish.

As the girl was pulled back under water, she was frustrated. She needed help desperately, but she could not understand the man since she did not speak Spanish. Rebecca could feel her body tumbling with the current, and she knew her strength was waning. As she came up again for air, she saw the man once more. Rather than standing directly in front of her, he stood off to the side but still on the shore. This time, although he was speaking in Spanish, the child understood.

"It's all right, child!" the man yelled. "Swim toward me, not toward the shore. Come slowly, and when the waves hit you, don't fight. Just swim toward me."

Rebecca was afraid and unsure about the man's advice. She had been swimming since she'd been pulled out to sea, and her efforts hadn't gotten her any closer to the shore. Still, Rebecca had no choice, and so she obeyed the man. When she would come up for air, she could see him on the sandy shore still yelling at her to be calm and to keep swimming at an angle.

After a few minutes Rebecca realized that, bit by bit, she was making progress and getting closer to shore. Once more a wave knocked her under water, but this time when she came up, she was standing in knee-deep water. Instantly her brothers were at her side helping her to the shore. Gasping for breath, Rebecca looked toward the spot where the man had been standing, but he was gone.

"Rebecca!" her mother called as the boys brought the child to her. "Thank God you're alive. We were so scared!"

Rebecca collapsed on a towel and slowly lifted her weary head. "Where is he?" she said as she coughed up water and struggled to fill her lungs with air. "Where is that man?"

Kenneth and David exchanged a strange look and then looked at their parents.

"Honey, what man?" her father asked, kneeling beside the ex hausted child.

Rebecca struggled to pull herself up and once again she scanned the deserted beach. "The man who helped me. He was standing over there, and he told me to swim to him."

There were perplexed looks on the faces of all of her family members, and finally her father spoke.

"Rebecca, there hasn't been anyone but us on the beach all day."

"But, Daddy, he helped me. He told me to swim at an angle and I'd be all right. He spoke in Spanish, but I understood everything he said."

Frank took his wife's hand and together with the boys they formed a circle around Rebecca.

"We believe you, Rebecca," he said gently. "I think he must have been an angel sent by God to save you."

Rebecca was shocked. She certainly had seen the man, and to imagine now that he might have been an angel was overwhelming. She began to cry, and her father placed his arm around her.

Then, feeling as if they were in the very presence of God, the Beyer family knelt together and thanked God for the miracle that sent a Spanish angel to rescue Rebecca from certain death.


From: ANGELS, MIRACLES AND ANSWERED PRAYERS. (It must have been a miracle Everyday lives touched by miracles) Vol 1. Kelsey Tyler. Angel encounters in everyday life and everyday lives touched by miracles. Pag. 101-105, Guideposts. New York 1994.