Angels are all around us, protecting us even when we do not realize it. Ellen White says, “Ministering angels are waiting about the throne to instantly obey the mandate of Jesus Christ to answer every prayer offered in earnest, living faith” (Selected Messages, V.II, p. 377).

In November, on the coldest and windiest day of the new season, Eleanore Dossenko was released from the Bismarck hospital 27 hours after undergoing major back surgery. She was scheduled to stay under doctor’s care for a few more days but due to the overcrowded facility and shortage of workers, was sent home early. Her pain was not yet managed and though she had proved she could walk, it was only for a few steps and required a walker. Her son, Ben, loaded her into the car and started the 100-mile drive to Harvey, where she could recover in the comfort of her own home.

On North Dakota Highway 3, halfway to the destination, which some would describe as the “middle of nowhere,” Ben’s car began to lose power. By the time he pulled over, smoke was rolling out of the steering column. Quickly he sprang from the car and ran to the back passenger door where he grabbed the walker and opened it, ready for use. The engine fire spread quickly, and flames had already begun to shoot out under the passenger side dashboard. Forgetting in the chaos that she was “glued and screwed together,” Eleanore remembers thinking, “I could hop the middle console.” She was attempting to crawl up over the console to exit the car from the drivers’ door away from the flames, when Ben opened her door. “Stop,” he said as he pulled her out of the car, “You can’t even do that on a good day!” He gave her the walker and told her to get away from the car. The wind was so forceful that Ben had to stabilize her. Eleanore sent up a plea, “Oh God, help us!”

Less than two minutes passed from the time Eleanore put her feet on the ground and prayed before a van pulled up. Ben ran up to the vehicle and calmly said, “My mother just had surgery. She has to get out of the cold. I need you to take her to Harvey. Please–get her away from here.” Without hesitation, Eleanore was loaded into the van and on her way home. Because there was no room in the vehicle, Ben stayed and waited for his brother to arrive while he watched the car burn.

The van driver, Candy, an insurance adjuster and dog breeder, lived beyond Eleanore’s hometown, but it was not far out of her way. She was heading home after an extended trip to see family and was traveling with her nine dogs. Candy said she regularly took the backroads but today her GPS advised that her usual route was icy, so she rerouted and drove a highway she had never traveled before.

The two ladies visited a little and found common ground as both were former nurses. Candy was pleasant and had not been shaken by a strange man stopping her on the highway and “throwing” his mother in her vehicle. She had found it odd that the GPS had taken her this way as she had never been on Highway 3. The dogs did not make a sound on the drive and Candy never turned her head to look at Eleanore. As the ladies pulled up in front of Eleanore’s home, Ele tried to give the woman a check, which she refused. “You can’t refuse, I already made out the check!” Eleanore argued. Candy replied, “It’s not complete because you don’t even know my last name. I won’t take it.”

Although the car fire had been hot enough to melt a portion of Eleanore’s coat, neither passenger was hurt during the ordeal. Ben’s car burned to the ground, but he was able to save almost everything of value after he pulled his mother to safety. From the time she left the car until she got home, Eleanore doesn’t recall worrying. Her son acted calmly and quickly, taking all the correct actions—almost like it had been rehearsed. Her back was not injured, and she experienced no pain.

The family has unsuccessfully tried to locate Candy. But even information regarding her insurance company and dog breeding has yielded no results. Was Candy an angel? Maybe she was, maybe she wasn’t. Regardless, she was sent to help in a time of need. The family may never know the answer, but they are grateful for the Lord’s mercies.

“For He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways” (Psalm 91:11 NKJV).