“Everybody out, NOW!”
Bolting upright in my seat, my attention was immediately focused on the man with the pistol, screaming orders at the front of the bus.
Raising both hands to show he was not armed, Pastor Bill was the first to respond.
“May I ask what is going on? We are a medical missionary group, headed for a village outside if Madrid, called Los Rosas. We have papers, sir.”
“What is your name gringo? Perhaps you can tell me so I’ll know the name we will put on your grave.”
Cocking his pistol, he warned, “I will not tell you twice.”
Without hesitation, everyone followed orders from the man with the thick Spanish accent, filing out of each of the two exits, one in front, the other in the back.
A push on my back shoved me down next to the others on the ground, while the men marched back and forth ordering us to “sit and be silent”. Fear was etched on everyone’s faces. I was unable to speak, and too terrified to move.
The night was dark, but I could see clearly. There were five men dressed alike; dark camouflage clothing, black berets, and each carried rifles over their shoulders, some wielding semi-automatics. Two of the men stood guard over our group, while two of the men began opening all of our suitcases, dumping the contents to the floor, as they worked their way to the back of the bus.
“The drugs señor.” Hand them over to us or we will be forced to take them from you” demanded the man they referred to as “comandante”.
“Oh God, this cannot be happening.”
My mind flooded with memories of the two years we worked tirelessly for this dream to become a reality. The sacrifices of family and friends, our church and our community who shared our vision could not end here!
Bowing my head I began to plead for God’s help. “Father God, I don’t know what is happening and I am so afraid. Please, please help us!”
When my words began to fail me, I did the only thing I knew to do; I begin praying in the Spirit. Next to me, my friend Sally also began praying, and within seconds we all were lifting our petitions up to God to rescue us, each in our own prayer language.
Three gun shots into the sky brought everyone to a dead silence. All eyes focused on the leader of the banditos, who had been standing a short distance behind us.
Directing his men toward the vehicle, the comandante shouted “Ahora vamos, rapidamente!”
Without a word, he began backing away from us. Then he turned, and climbed into the Humvee with his comrades. Within minutes they had vanished into the night.
Shaken from the horror we had been subjected to, many of the girls let down their guard and began to cry. Men and women alike began wrapping their arms around each other for comfort.
Pastor Bill stood, and spoke to our group.
“Everyone please let us begin to pray. Our Lord Jesus has delivered us from the hands of the enemy. Let us give thanks now, and praise God.”
Everyone began lifting their hands toward heaven, thanking and praising God – corporately praying to God in the spirit.
Miles away, the Humvee pulled over to the side of the road. The comandante opened his door, gasping for air, as if he could not breathe. Stumbling from the vehicle, he fell to his knees, and buried his face in his hands.
“Comandante, why did we leave?”
Moments later, he raised his head from his hands to look at each of the men standing around him. Searching their eyes, he saw nothing, but bewilderment.
“Did you not hear?”
“Hear what comandante?” the banditos asked.
“No, no! Surely you heard” he gasped.
Pointing to the sky he said, “It came from the heavens, louder than my voice to you now!”
“It was the voice of the Lord, my comrades. He said, “LET MY PEOPLE GO.”
Then he bowed his head again, and began to weep.
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