An Unexpected Family Reunion

I love stories of wild coincidences—and this story, written by Adam Hunter in a Guideposts e-letter, is about as wild as they get! Billion-to-one odds doesn’t do this reunion justice.

Click here to sign up for Guideposts‘ free Mysterious Ways newsletter. You’ll also be able to download a free e-book, Mysterious Ways: 9 Inspiring Stories That Show Evidence of God’s Love and God’s Grace.


Long-lost brothers Rick Hill and Joe Parker

In the tropical paradise of Hawaii, a family vacation and a surfing lesson led to an astonishing meeting between two men who shared a common bond…

Waikiki Beach wasn’t on their vacation itinerary, but Rick Hill, his fiancée, Maureen, and their three children—in Hawaii for a sunny week away from their Lunenburg, Massachusetts, home—decided to make a quick stop.

Joe Parker, who grew up in Leominster, Massachusetts, but moved to Hawaii years ago to escape a troubled past, wasn’t supposed to be on the beach that day, either. He was an event planner for a resort and was arranging a last-minute surfing lesson for a client.

Maureen was about to take a photo of Rick and the kids when Joe happened by. He kindly offered to take a picture of the entire family.

As Joe lined up the shot, he listened to the family speak to one another. Joe was certain he recognized their accent—a distinctive derivative of the Bostonian “pah-ked the cah in Hah-vahd yahd” drawl spoken in his old neighborhood.

Instead of saying, “Say cheese,” Joe smiled and said, “Say Leominster!”

Leominster was the next town over from Lunenburg. The family and Joe got to talking. A few names were thrown around. “You know a Dickie Halligan?” Joe asked.

“Know him? That’s my father!” Rick said.

Joe lowered his sunglasses and squinted at Rick, stunned. “He’s my father too.”

According to The Globe, Joe had grown up in foster care and had a painful childhood, running away from home at age 15. He had been told as a child that Dickie Halligan was his uncle. He only discovered the truth when he was 21, after responding to an ad Dickie had placed in the local paper searching for him.

Dickie revealed then that Joe had a half-brother. But Joe and Rick never met.

Until now, on a Hawaiian beach, 6,000 miles away from where they grew up.

Joe and Rick spent the rest of the week together. Joe turned 38 on Easter Sunday and celebrated with his long-lost family.

“We lost 38 years of each other, which is a shame,” Joe told The Globe. “But we are both grateful that this happened and that we get this chance in life to bond.”

Click here to read a article that offers more details about the reunion.

Click here to view all the Guideposts stories on this blog.


Phil is the author of Through God’s Eyes: Finding Peace and Purpose in a Troubled World, a comprehensive guide to living a spiritual life. Who will benefit from reading it?

Anyone who is on a spiritual path, or wants to start one
Anyone who loves life, or wants to learn how to
Anyone who is happy, or wants to be happier

To order your copy of Through God’s Eyes, go to OR order from Amazon at OR for an inscribed copy, click here to e-mail Phil for information.

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Through God’s Eyes won first place in the “Spirituality and Inspirational” category at the San Diego Book Awards on June 22, 2013.

Here is a two-minute video introduction to Through God’s Eyes.

Want to learn more about Through God’s Eyes? Here is a free 40-page PDF sampler from the book that includes:

• an overview of the book
• the complete table of contents
• the Foreword by Caroline Myss
• my Introduction
• chapter excerpts
• a sample end-of-chapter story
• endorsements from authors and thought leaders

Just click on the link below to download your free PDF sampler!


Phil’s eBook, The Logic of Living a Spiritual Life: Supporting a Life of Faith Through Logic and Reason, is now available for 99 cents on Amazon.

Order it at

In this eBook, you’ll find answers to questions like:
• What is the cornerstone of a spiritual life, and why?
• What is the secret to liberating yourself from other people’s judgments and expectations?
• Why is there an exception to “Everything happens for a reason”?

Those who worship logic instead of God are only half right. Not only is it logical to believe in God and to live a faith-based life, the existence of a loving, benevolent God that governs all creation is perhaps the only systematic worldview that explains every aspect of life.

Schedule a Mastery Mentoring phone session with Phil to learn how to apply principles of spiritual living more effortlessly and effectively. Priced affordably! Click here to e-mail Phil for details.

SiSe_fullcover_final.inddPhil is also the author of Sixty Seconds: One Moment Changes Everything, a collection of 45 inspiring, life-changing stories from prominent people he interviewed, including Joan Borysenko, Deepak Chopra, geneticist Dr. Francis Collins, acclaimed sportswriter Frank Deford, Dr. Larry Dossey, Wayne Dyer, Dan Millman, Caroline Myss, Dr. Christiane Northrup, Dr. Dean Ornish, Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen, Dr. Bernie Siegel, James Van Praagh, singer Billy Vera, Doreen Virtue, Neale Donald Walsch, and bassist Victor Wooten.

Here is a three-minute video that introduces you to Phil and his book. Click here to order Sixty Seconds. Click here to ask Phil to add you to his e-mail list for updates on his blog and books.

Reading this book is like spending a few minutes face to face with each of the contributors and listening to their personal stories. Click here to read unsolicited testimonials from readers. Learn more by visiting the official Sixty Seconds website.

Sixty Seconds was one of three finalists in the General Interest/How-To category at the 12th annual Visionary Awards presented by COVR (Coalition of Visionary Resources) in Denver on June 27, 2009.

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2 Responses to “An Unexpected Family Reunion”

  1. buyfixrent Says:

    Obviously, meant to be! A great start to my day, Phil … thanks for sharing!

  2. Phil Bolsta Says:

    My pleasure, buyfixrent!

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