The Martyr’s Hope
The heavy boot slammed into the bruised and broken shoulder, ricocheting as the toe cracked into the battered head just behind the ear; the silent scream failed to pass the wide opened, grimacing mouth.
“We don’t want you preaching that cursed book here!” screamed Hu, as he kicked the offending book across the dusty earth, and brought his heel crunching onto the wrist of the trembling hand vainly reaching for it; causing the agonized body to convulse.
“Hu! Hu!” the screaming voice of his wife penetrated his hate-filled work as he worked the missionary over with his boots. “Come quick! Chong! He has fallen from his swing!”
“Shut up, woman!” he screamed. “How dare you interrupt me in what I am doing? Can’t you see I’m busy? I have no time for small boy’s bruises.”
A loud argument ensued, and Hu turned his back on the trembling form lying in the dirt. Manny heard that Chong, the boy had fallen from his swing and was unable to rise: the fall had paralyzed him.
Chong turned wild and tearful eyes to the battered form grasping, grappling to reach him; pain etched on the features of that wrestling form.
As he neared, the missionary reached, agonizingly and placed his hand on Chong’s head.
“Ch-Chong,” he gasped and stuttered in the native tongue, “Jesus Chr-Christ c-commands you to get up.” The words were desperate, asphyxiated, and rasping.
“Get away from my son, you foreign devil!” screamed the voice of Chong's father as his boot shattered Manny’s jaw. Chong stared in fear. Not understanding his father’s hatred he lay still, not daring to breathe.
Manny’s hand trembled as it tried to respond to the blood spattered words slurring, gurgling from his mouth, “Je-Jesus says get up, Chong.” The hand dropped, and the body went limp, and lifeless.
The words grew strong in Chong’s mind till he could no longer resist, but struggled to his feet. Chong stared down in amazement; his mother screamed, and his father cursed, kicked the lifeless body a few more times, then stormed off without so much as acknowledging his family.
Hu did not see Choy pick up the battered and dusty Bible to secrete it away to her hiding place where she and Chong often went to read while Hu was away. Chong believed because of his miracle, but he said nothing of it to his father, Hu. He prayed and shared with his mother and friends, but carefully avoided any mention of it near Hu for fear of retribution.
One day, as Hu and his brother worked the cart, which overturned and crushed his brother, killing him. Hu was devastated, and calling for help from those nearby managed to lift the cart from his now dead brother.
People came running from all over as Hu cradled his brother’s body and wept like a baby. Chong came too.
Hu looked up at his son through the tears, saying, “He’s dead. He’s dead. Do something Chong!”
Without thought or hesitation Chong stepped forward, grasped his uncle’s hand, and pulled, shouting, “Uncle, Jesus Christ commands you to wake up!”
Tsu’s body became erect and rigid, shivered violently, and his eyes opened.
Hu leaped to his feet angrily, ready to backhand Chong for his insolence; when he noticed Tsu, alive. Alive? How can this be? He had been crushed to death! Hu had held his lifeless form. What strange power was this?
It was the power of Manny’s gospel. It was the power he refused to see in Chong’s healing, and mocked in Manny’s martyrdom, yet here it was again. How could he, Hu, continue to ignore this? Falling to his knees he wept his wretchedness and cried out for forgiveness.
Today Hu speaks in defense of the gospel he once hated.
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