When a stranger got my phone number

  • by Ross McCall

When you get an angry text message from your old phone number, your options are: 1) delete it 2) fire back an angry text in response, or 3) what Keri Armentrout did.

The Cru staff member had moved to Italy last year and given up her U.S cell phone number, but the person who inherited it found themselves bombarded with calls and messages from total strangers.

Keri says, “This person became cranky. While I was home on furlough, it happened really frequently because people defaulted to my old US number. The new owner started being rude, sometimes pretending to be me.”

Then Keri received a text from her old number with a simple message. “I am the owner of this number, please update your records.” Keri replied, apologizing for the hassle of having to respond to a bunch of wrong messages.

Keri had no idea if she was talking to a man or a woman but she told them that she had lots of friends who were committed to staying in touch with her, even if they had a wrong number. “My relationships with them are strong, because we share a common bond,” said Keri. “If you'd like to know what that bond is and why it’s so strong, you can read more here: http://everystudent.com

Keri hesitated before hitting send, wondering how this stranger would respond.

She says, “I decided worst case scenario: they get mad and respond as such; best case scenario: they don't respond but they read it.”

Being intentional with the accidental

A few hours later, they replied, saying, “Thank you for clearing up this mystery! I’ve been wondering how someone could have so many sincere well wishers! I actually mentioned it to other people! I’ve never heard of the philosophy mentioned on this site, but I am intrigued to know more. What is it?”

Keri was surprised and excited. “Thank you so much,” she said. “And this is a site for people to explore Christianity – not the misrepresented stereotypes, but the true and loving teachings of Jesus, which have impacted me.”

They exchanged more texts, discussing each other’s views of religion and the person expressed a desire to read more about Keri’s beliefs.

Keri was astonished at the way God had pursued this person, and thankful for the persistence with which her friends pursued her.

“We love because He first loved us,” says Keri. The love of her friends created an opportunity for her to share the gospel, and sparked a desire in someone to know more.

Keri says, “Bill Bright used to say, ‘There are no wrong numbers, only divine appointments.’”

How would you have responded if you were in Keri’s shoes? Would you have ignored the text, apologized and moved on quickly? Or would you have had the courage to make the most of an unexpected opportunity?

Here are 3 things we can learn from Keri’s story.

  1. Keri eagerly anticipated her opportunity
  2. She prayed for a person who was annoyed at her
  3. She was aware of resources she could direct someone to

If you want to overcome your own reluctance to talk about your faith, or you want to prepare yourself for opportunities to come, here are some helpful resources: