Tuesday, March 25, 2008

While Katie was atop the van shooting the whole team, she went ahead and snapped this one, too.

One day while we were returning back to the church around dinner time, after a full day of ministry, we noticed a slow down of traffic. When we reached the bottle-neck, we realized that it was a military checkpoint.

There was a strong presence of the Mexican Army in armored vehicles with machine guns pointed at each vehicle as it passed.

We were fortunate enough to be selected as one of the vehicles they would pull over and search. The car and van we were traveling with pulled over to wait for us. We were told to exit the vehicle, which we promptly did. Our team, still in drama costume, made quite a display as they stood single file on the sidewalk while the officer went through our van knocking and pinging on walls and seats to listen for the dense sound of stowed drugs.

It was hard to miss the tank right in front of us, with a machine gunner sitting atop it with a heavy caliber weapon trained on us while we waited. I was a bit weak in the knees, but knew that we were not doing anything illegal. I wondered how my team was feeling at this point.

Watching their faces revealed a variety of emotions from, disbelief to fear.

We were here to serve Jesus, and show them His light. We had to rely on Him in these moments.

The officer was pretty straight forward in his directives to me, and I complied with each.

When he was finished, and before we reloaded the van, I was reminded of my son witnessing to the policemen in Cajamarca, Peru. I was a bit nervous, knowing I was responsible for this team. The translator with me (who was a national) took advantage of the situation in a way I did not.

He dug into his bag and found a tract. He offered it to the officer, who willingly received it, and then exited our vehicle.

In those moments when fear is the natural reaction to a situation that seems dangerous, how we respond says a great deal about our faith.

I was amazed and blessed by the calm on my team. No one got freaked out or overly stressed. They simply complied. All was fine.

At the end of our trip, when we were crossing the border back into the US, we were once again told to exit the vehicle and unload our entire trailor of contents. Again, I was less than enthused about having to follow these directions. Especially since we had just loaded this trailor moments before.

However, I knew these men were just doing their jobs. We complied and had no issues. As a matter of fact, the lead guard appreciated our attitudeless response, and struck up a conversation.

Sometimes, portraying Christ to others is about our attitudes, when words are not appropriate. This team did an amazing job of reflecting Christ to those around, when words not the right vehicle.

For each of us, whether by word or deed, we need to reflect Jesus to those around us.



At 10:55 PM, Blogger Marti Pieper said...

It was an amazing experience to stand and pray for both the guards pointing rifles directly at us as we stood along the roadside and for you as others searched the van and its contents in those few chilling minutes.

It was a holy experience to minister alongside godly young men and women who so graciously accepted me with my all-too-obvious weaknesses (you know, the ones that allowed His power to be made perfect!).

It was a humbling experience to watch person after person come to Christ--many with tears in their eyes as they bowed before Him.

And it was an absolutely incredible experience to serve under the godly leadership of my friend and brother Brent (not to discount the wonderful Katie, Matt and Emily!) in this city of majesty/mystery, glory/garbage, splendor/squallor . . . and so much more.

Thank you, Deanna, for sharing your beloved with us and with the nations last week. Thank you, Primera Iglesia Bautista, Pastor Alba and our precious Anabel for hosting us so graciously. And thank you to both my Savior and to Awe Star Ministries for providing this opportunity of service "for such a time as this" for a team of 27, including

praying in pink
with tender love!


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