Monday, February 12, 2007

Last evening in Chandler, Oklahoma we had sweet fellowship. The graciousness and responsiveness of this people is a sweet aroma to our Lord. After we shared, we had the privilege of meeting many of the body. We met several students and many others.

After many words of encouragement from the body, a meeting began in that same room. However, during the time we met the people, a couple stood off to one side, as if waiting for something. After the last person came through the line to greet us, and we began to head for the door, this couple stepped forward.

They embraced us with tear stained faces, and said, "We know what you are going through, and thank you for sharing in this way."

Honestly, by now, we have heard those words many times. None as it turns out, have had quite the impact on me of David and Anne's.

They have raised four children. The youngest is now around the age BJ was when he first went overseas. Flaming red hair and resolve to match, she carried herself with confidence.

Her parents began to share the story of their daughter Mandy. "Mandy also gave her life on the mission field," David said. "She was murdered."

Though my legs were aching to sit down, and my entire body was tired, he had my full attention.

In March of 2005, Mandy was on her way home to sing in church for Easter. She had a heart for the lost, and carried her Bible close by. She shared the Gospel whenever she had the opportunity. She had many opportunities.

Mandy's mission field was controversial. The place she ministered, many would scoff at. Most would tell her she should not do what she was doing. While there is wisdom in those words, and in hind sight, had she not, she would still be here, like BJ, she was compelled to be obedient to what her Savior called her to.

Obedient she was. She already knew the story of her grandfather. He had been a man who wanted to meet needs. In doing so, he met an untimely death...also at the hands of another. Another he had offered assistance to.

This only seemed to strengthen Mandy's resolve. She had recently lost her infant son and then her marriage. Few things rip at the fabric of matrimony like the death of a child.

She stopped at a gas station, near a major city on her journey home to see her family. A young man in need asked her for a ride to California. She told him she was headed in the opposite direction. He then requested a ride to the major interstate. She agreed.

She had picked up hitchhikers many times before. She kept her Bible in the front seat with her. She shared Jesus with them, and had seen the Holy Spirit move in many.

She did not know that this time, the outcome would cost her...her life.

She arrived at the interstate, and asked where he would like to get out. He directed her back off of the interstate to a country road pull-off. Once there, he did the unthinkable.

He took the strap from her Bible, and used it to strangle her. Before he did, he violated her.

He discarded her body, took her money and her car and fled. The car ran out of gas in Dallas. He abandoned it there, and fled to Pennsylvania. He was apprehended 10 days later.

Her body was found by rider's on horseback. Somehow this was fitting, as Mandy had Arabians, and showed them. She kept them at her parents home.

Memorials for her sprang up in churches across the country. Her parents were overwhelmed. They didn't even know anyone at these places. They were blessed by the outpouring of love that came in.

Their resolve to trust their Savior through this devastating journey was strong. So strong that the Lord used them to draw others to himself. Unwavering faith and this strength, is what their lives were about. They were found obedient in this "crucible of suffering" (Becky Higgins).

The meeting was over, the church had now cleared. We seemed to be the only ones left in the building.

David told of how the horses were a reminder of their daughter. He teared up as he spoke tenderly of her.

Her younger sister with the red hair was now tending to them. She was following in her sisters footsteps. The horses were a welcome distraction, but she had one thing on her heart.

She wants to see her sisters' murderer, who has been locked away for life, come to Christ. She would like to be the vessel for his salvation.

I do NOT know the suffering they have experienced. I do know their Savior. Their surrender to Jesus is what each of our lives should be about.



At 10:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Allowing our children to be obedient to HIS calling is a very daunting task when we, as parents, know and understand the danger and risks. Our human nature (as Satan would want it)is "telling" us to keep them safe at home under our supervision. My daughter, after all, is only 13. Going overseas to mission is what she is feeling led to do by her Master. Then I pray, and pray and listen -- and pray some more -- and surrrender her to my Lord. Sometimes it's peaceful to know she is willing and wanting to do His will for her. Sometimes I even KNOW that she is in His hands, not mine. Sometimes it's heavy on the heart and soul to let her go. Trust. Trust. Trust. And let her be His servant. It's beautiful, it's necessary and it's human to be scared of letting go. It's living in Christ to hand her over to the Master to do His work. Please pray for all missionaries, whether here at home or overseas. Praise God in their willingness to be obedient, no matter the cost. After all, He paid for ALL.

At 12:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow. What a story! Truly an inspiration.

At 1:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said... sweet & gentle of the Lord to minister to both of your families through one another. None of the races are exactly the same, but sometimes they are similar and the racers are fellow racers. Thank you Lord for Your gift to the Higgins!

As fellow believers on the sidelines - cheering you on with words & prayers it is an incredible to join Him in His work. Thank you for sharing His work.

Love through Him!

At 6:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mandy and BJ are together worshiping our Lord and Saviour. Thank you for sharing today. Much love.

At 11:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I needed to hear that

At 12:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for that Brent. I know those two are sharing many stories while sitting at the feet of Jesus! How wonderful God is, bringing you all together, to share, grieve, and lift up each other. God is Awe...mazing!!!

Linda Anderson


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