Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Police (10/12/06)
By Charles Salmon
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A Mexican policeman stuck his head into the cab of the pickup truck and reached toward me with his hand. His intrusion made me nervous. My Spanish is very rudimentary and I was uncomfortable traveling in Mexico. Thinking the policeman wanted to see my identification papers, I reached for my billfold. I received a real surprise.
I had come into the Mexican border city of Piedras Negras with James, a friend. We were there, in his truck, to buy building materials. He was driving. I sat in the passenger seat. As we drove through the narrow streets with our load of concrete blocks, we became aware of a police car following and the uniformed driver signaling us to pull over.
At curbside an officer came to the driver’s window and spoke a few words in Spanish to James, who exited the cab and followed the officer to the rear of the truck. It was then the second police officer inserted his head and hand into the driver’s side window and reached across the cab toward me. Instinctively, I reached for my ID. He vigorously shook his head and hand and said, “No, no.” Now, there’s a word I understand even in Spanish. I left my wallet in my hip pocket.
He turned his hand to invite a handshake and I gripped his hand in mine. He called me “brother” and told me his name, which I’ve forgotten. We exchanged greetings then he unleashed a rapid string of comments in Spanish. My meager Spanish couldn’t meet the demands of a real conversation, but he made me understand we met previously at a church function. We were “brothers in Christ,” he declared. I didn’t remember our meeting, but he recognized me and had stepped up to the window to greet me.
James’ conversation with the first officer ended and we went our way. I was left with several questions regarding this encounter with a brother I didn’t know. None were ever answered and I’ve never met him since.
Isn’t it amazing how the Gospel of Christ appeals to people in so many different lands and cultures? I don’t know about you, but it thrills me to think I am part of a worldwide brotherhood. All over the world there are men and women, boys and girls who worship the same Savior I worship. Their language, customs, and style of worship all differ from mine, yet we form one great family. I don’t know the words they sing, but I recognize the melodies.
The hymn writer, John Oxenham, penned these words: “In Christ there is no east or west, in Him no south or north; but one great fellowship of love throughout the whole wide earth. . . . Join hands, then, brothers of the faith whate’er your race may be. Who serves my Father as a son is surely kin to me.”
The Apostle Peter put it a little differently when he said, “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right.” (Acts 10:34, 35 NIV.)
Take a little time to pray for your brothers and sisters in faraway lands. Some of them even live in harm’s way because of our common faith!
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