Reprinted with permission from Joan Wester Anderson's website.

Rebecca lost her hearing when she was only fifteen. Not only was she hard of hearing, noise actually caused her pain. "Although I was considered profoundly deaf, I could hear some deep-toned sounds," she explains. "Most deaf people can. But if there were more than two people in a room, it was hard for me to follow the conversation because there was too much distraction." Rebecca found it difficult going to church too, since she couldn't understand sounds in this environment. A deaf friend realized that straining to understand the church services was probably the reason why Rebecca developed migraines afterwards. Ultimately she stopped going. Instead, she began to ask God's angels to watch over her, and to be there when she needed some special help. But like all of us, Rebecca sometimes wondered if heavenly help was really there.

Life could have become even more isolated for Rebecca, but eventually (at the urging of another friend), she purchased a little Schnauzer named Hans. "Hans did many things for me," Rebecca says. "When the phone would ring, he'd touch me with his paws, or simply stare at me. He protected me, told me when someone was at the door...When we were together, he gave his total attention to my needs, and I felt so safe." Rebecca could even hear his bark, because its tone was very deep.

Rebecca depended on Hans so much that she often begged God to let her little dog live forever. She knew this was unrealistic, but she prayed anyway. One night she had a dream in which she was walking the dog and for no apparent reason suddenly felt herself enveloped in a cocoon of the purest love she had ever experienced. Just a few weeks later, at the age of thirteen, her faithful companion died. "I wondered then if God had sent me that dream--and the love--as a preparation for Hans' death," Rebecca says.

Whatever the reason, Rebecca couldn't help but feel fearful after Hans died. How was she going to be safe without her little companion to warn her? She had surgery for cochlear implants, but it was unsuccessful. Again, she began to pray each night that God would send His angels. "I asked that they protect EVERY entrance to me house, even the windows." After this prayer, she found that she could go to sleep without any fear. However, she never discussed this new prayer--or her faith--with anyone. It was just between God and herself and, of course, the angels who--hopefully--were guarding her. How she wished she could see them and put any final doubts to rest!

One afternoon, an excited young boy knocked on her door. He wanted to tell her about something he and his friend, Ben-who lived across the street--had seen the previous night. This boy was staying overnight with Ben, and "We wanted to play with our remote control cars on the mound of clay near your house," he told Rebecca. "But we had to wait until late when Ben's parents had gone to sleep." Finally the boys tiptoed down the steps, eased the front door open and ran toward the clay mound.

But as they ran, they both looked up and gasped. A man in a long white robe was standing on top of the highest pine tree, on a hill that overlooked Rebecca's home. The man was watching the boys, with his arms crossed over his chest. "He must have been ten feet tall!" the boy insisted. "Me and Ben were scared!"

Rebecca was sure he was telling her the truth, and joy flooded her heart. "Do you know who you saw?" she asked. The boy shook his head. "I then told him about my fear of being alone at night since I'd lost Hans, and my prayer that God would send angels to watch over me at night. I had thought it would take an angel at every entrance of my house! But it was obvious that only one angel was needed, and God had sent him to protect me."

The boy's eyes were huge, and he appeared to be overwhelmed by it all as he turned and gave Rebecca a wave. She was sure he would never forget the experience. It was then that she realized she had received another gift. "I normally can't hear children, nor even `speech-read' them," she says. "But this boy and I had understood each other perfectly."

Today Rebecca teaches the Bible to young Christians on the Internet ("God sends them to me," she says)! Although she continues to pray for a healing (and let's pray for her too), God is the Center of her life, no matter what. And she knows she is never alone.
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