On a recent trip to Bali, Indonesia with my family I had an experience that is somewhat difficult to describe. I was meditating our first evening there asking God to guide our family to a good driver who would take us around the area. I asked that it be someone with whom we would feel a connection and that it would feel more like we were riding around with a friend rather than just a hired driver. As I allowed the sense of what our relationship with the driver would feel like to come over me I heard the words “Find JoJo.” arise in my consciousness.
The first day in Bali we just took public transportation. It worked out okay, but because of the many stops that the driver had to make it took us way longer to get to our destination than it would have otherwise. My wife suggested that we rent a car so that we could get around the Bali area more quickly, but in my inner person I knew that I should try to “find JoJo” first. I told my wife that I’d rather not try driving in Bali. Let’s just say that the “rules of the road” are more like suggestions. Couple that with the fact that they drive on the opposite side of the road and well… I think that this video will make it clear.
At first I didn’t want to tell her that I heard “Find JoJo.” in my head and that I wanted to find out if there was really a driver named JoJo that lined up with the person I imagined as I talked to God. Even though I’ve had things like that happen before, I don’t usually like telling people–even my wife. When I was younger I would tell people about those experiences and I could tell that they either thought I was lying or they just thought I was weird. Over time I learned to keep inexplicable experiences like this to myself. But this time I decided to share.
“Hey y’all, we might meet someone named JoJo today”, I said out of nowhere. I explained what I heard in my meditation and asked her to let me explore this before we tried to rent a car. To her credit, she agreed and with that I googled the words “JoJo, Bali, and Driver”. What came up was the blog http://www.jojobalidriver.com. (It has since migrated to http://www.jossibalitour.com/) And that’s how we met JoJo. JoJo was great and was very attentive to our family. While we were with him, our daughter actually got sick and he showed genuine concern and took us around to try and find some medicine. On top of that, after he dropped us off, he checked in several times through Whatsapp to check on her progress. While driving with him, it really did feel like we were hanging out with a friend–just what I asked God for. On top of being a courteous driver, we had some good conversations about Hinduism and the values of the people of Bali. It was very enlightening to say the least and inspired me in ways that I have not yet fully processed.
Many days later, after JoJo dropped us off at the airport safe and sound, I thanked God for bringing him into our lives, but most of all I thanked God for so clearly responding to my inquiry. I prayed that I not soon forget how close God is to everything in our lives and I committed myself to reconnecting with that willingness to receive guidance in unexpected ways. I also prayed that I be more open about these experiences again. Even though I have no control over when or if they show up, I do feel that they are a sign of the loving guidance that is available to all of us. Admittedly, I have made a practice of ignoring the guidance that comes to me in situations where I feel like I have to have to explain my choices to others. I’m glad that I broke that practice this time.
Now I imagine some of you reading this might be thinking that the whole JoJo thing was just a coincidence. Maybe there are plenty of drivers in Bali named JoJo and so the odds of me encountering a driver with that name are very high. I’ll give you that. In fact, even in my gratitude, I found myself trying to talk myself out of our experience. But then as if to say, “Don’t forget this experience.” I was greeted on the plane with the image below.
My wife and I had just been saying that we really appreciated JoJo and then when I sat down in my seat on the flight the person next to me was reading this book. It was so soon after leaving him that I was able to text him the picture before the flight took off. Seeing this filled me with even more gratitude. I took this JoJo sighting as confirmation from God that the guidance I received was truly delivered to me and not simply coincidence and a figment of my imagination. I also took it as a sign that I need to take more responsibility for following the guidance when it comes to me even if it doesn’t always make sense to others.
Finally, for those of you who may feel like I am making more out of these occurrences than there really is to it, I want to offer you one more interesting bit of information. A day or so later, our family found ourselves off route trying to get back to Colorado. We were having a little trouble getting on flights in San Francisco so we came up with another route that was seemingly out of the way. This route took us through Vegas which seemed like a strange place to go after having what I considered to be a very spiritual experience in Bali. But this route had more open flights and flying through Vegas and getting a hotel there was actually less expensive than spending one night in a hotel in San Francisco where we would have had to wait for a flight anyway. We decided that it made sense to us and so we took headed to Vegas. At first I felt pretty good about the decision, but then at one point, I started doubting if we made the right decision so I asked God for some guidance as I prepared to take a nap.
When we woke up we decided to go to the store to pick up a few things we needed. Right as my wife and daughter walked into the store, a guy called out to me and asked if I’d be interested in buying a speaker he was selling for less than half the asking price. At first I said no, to which he then asked if he could just show it to me. For some reason I decided to let him and this is what I saw on the box when he took off the outer packaging.
You can imagine my surprise when I saw this name. It turned out that JoJo was his boss’s name. He said that out of all of the units he sold this was the first time that he ever saw her name and number written on one. Of course I had to tell him the whole JoJo story to which he and his friend responded with amazement agreeing that this must be some kind of crazy God thing. How would you explain it? All I know is that I got the message and I am praying that I keep listening. I sent this pic to JoJo as well. What does it all mean? I don’t know. But as my denomination teaches, “God is still speaking.” My prayer is that I can listen.