Our Disappearing Children
or "The Little Wanderers"

- as told by Sue Seaman -
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It’s every parent’s nightmare – the thought of a child going missing, even when they disappear for a short while. Here are two of our experiences to share with you. Worrying as they were at the time – there are always lessons to be learned.

Matthew’s Wander

Our Matthew has learning disabilities. He was diagnosed as having Tuberous Sclerosis and also has behavioural problems. Matthew is the middle of our three children – Emma is the oldest and Darryl is the youngest.

One summer evening, Malc had come home from work early so that he could see the children before their bedtime. The patio doors was open, as it was quite warm.
“Where are the children then?” said Malc. “Oh, playing in the garden.” I replied.
Just then Darryl and Emma came in to see their Dad and to give him a kiss. “Where’s Matthew?” asked Malc. “He’s in the garden,” said the children.

So Malc went outside to find Matthew, but he was not there. We hurriedly ran around the front of the house - but he was nowhere to be seen. We quickly searched the house in case he had come back in but he hadn’t.

So whilst Malc went out looking for him the police were called. Understanding the seriousness of a seven-year-old boy with learning difficulties out on his own, they organised a search.

We were frantic, wondering if someone had picked him up. Because of his learning difficulties Matthew could not speak – so he certainly could not tell anyone who he was or where he lived.

We prayed. We asked the Lord to help us. He would know where Matthew was. By the time it began to get dark Matthew had been missing for a couple of hours. Malc decided to go out looking yet again and this time an elderly man appeared and spoke to Malc. He had seen a little boy walking in the road and realising that he had gone “walkies” had taken him into his house.

A very relieved Malc followed the man to his house around the next road.
Inside the house there was Matthew sitting in a comfortable armchair, with a copy of a telephone directory on his knees, happily flicking through the pages and smiling contentedly. If only he realised how worried we had been for the past couple of hours.

The Man’s wife said he was very good and had been no problem. Malc thanked the couple for their kindness and brought Matthew home. We were so overjoyed and just could not praise the Lord enough for protecting our son.

Trust in the Lord. He does protect. He does keep us safe - in all different situations.
We only need to ask in prayer and He will answer.

Darryl's Disappearing Trick

After Malc gave his heart to Jesus, we decided we should find a church to worship at. We were not sure which one we should be going to and tried several local churches first.

Our friends who lived in Pitsea phoned and asked us if we would like to go along to their church – The Church at Gun Hill, one Sunday evening. We said yes, we would like to. So we planned to go the next Sunday and were getting excited about going along.

In those days Malc was a draughtsman, and on the Sunday we planned to go to the church, during the afternoon, we were all upstairs, the three children and I, whilst Malc was busy working on his drawing board. We had set Malc’s drawing board up in our bedroom and he used to sit on the edge of the bed when he was working. As usual, the children were looking over his shoulder to see what he was doing and I sat on the bed talking to him. We obviously thought we were all there as we had all gone up into the room together.

But then we noticed Darryl, who was 4 years old at the time, was not there. The last time we saw him he was on the bed with the rest of the family.

I went off to find him but he was nowhere to be found. Then we all started to look. Calling out his name – but no answer.

We looked upstairs – we looked downstairs. We looked in the garden – we looked around the front of the house. He was there on the bed just a moment ago - so he couldn’t have gone far! We looked all over the house. And then looked all over the house again.

And then we looked everywhere! We searched under the stairs, behind the sofa, under the beds, behind the doors, in the garden shed, in the fridge (yes, we looked in the fridge), in the washing machine and in the oven (we were desperate by now.) We looked in every cupboard and in every corner. Nothing!

Malc went next door to our neighbour and asked if they had seen Darryl. They hadn’t. So their son, Paul got his bike, rounded up his friends on their bikes and they went cycling around the streets near our house searching for Darryl.

We called the police and they came out to help. Not much point in Malc and I joining the search they said, so we stayed at home. We couldn’t sit around doing nothing, and it seemed pointless, but we started to look again in all the places we had already looked. Where could he be?
It was now early evening and would be too late to go to the church meeting as planned. We lived in Southminster at the time and it was about a 45-minute journey to Pitsea.

After some while the police returned, but without Darryl. Paul and his friends had also returned. We had searched all over the village and were puzzled as to how a 4-year-old could disappear so suddenly.

We went back up stairs and as we entered our bedroom I noticed a bundle on the bed – and there curled up and fast asleep on our bed, was Darryl.

We woke him and told him what had happened, but he just smiled and he said he had been on the bed the whole time!

He must have been somewhere else, hiding, you might think. But to this day he still confirms he was on the bed and never left the room.
But we couldn’t see him lying there.
We believe that the devil blinded our eyes that day. He did so and stopped us from going to the church meeting.

Well, he may have won the battle that day – and stopped us going to the church. But the Lord had the final victory - Malc and I did get to that church and we were baptised there the following year.
We have been attending church regularly ever since then. God will always have the Victory!

The devil will do his best to stop people attending church. Sunday is still (even after all these years) the most difficult day to get everybody ready without everybody hollering at each other. The devil is evil and wicked – but he is not stupid.

Be alert and watchful of his tricks and devices. Don’t let him trick you out of the blessing of going to church. God has promised that where His people are gathered together in His name that He will be there in the midst of them.

The enemy can blind our eyes to rob us of blessing but we have a Saviour who removes the scales from off the blind eyes so that we behold all of His marvellous works.

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