The rainforest pulsated with life as his friend lay dying in his arms, his breathing labored. He didn’t even try to contain his tears as he looked down into the face of the man he’d only know for a few weeks though loved like a brother.
With much effort, Michael spoke. “Tell me again—why are you a missionary?”
The voice was barely his own. Pushing through the pain of losing his friend was almost more than he could do. “Michael, you know why.” With his free hand he wiped at the moisture on his face with the back of his hand.
“I know but I want to hear it from you again.”
He reached deep within himself, numb from the experience of running from the natives, horrified at the sight of the likely poisoned darts he’d pulled from his friends back, the ones fired at them as they ran from the camp.
With a dull sense of reality he recited. “But how can they call on Him if they haven’t believed in Him? How can they believe in Him if they haven’t heard of Him? How can they hear if nobody preaches? Romans ten verse fourteen.”
His slight smile faded quickly into a grimace. “And why shouldn’t I feel worse about them hating us so much.”
Mechanically, he replied. “If the people of this world hate you, just remember that they hated me first. If you belonged to the world, its people would love you. But you don’t belong to the world. I have chosen you to leave the world behind, and that is why its people hate you. Remember how I told you that servants are greater than their master. So if people mistreat me, they will mistreat you. If they do what I say, they will do what you say. People will do to you exactly what they did to me. They will do it because you belong to me, and they don’t know the one who sent me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin. But now they have no excuse for their sin.”
A weaker nod, “Yes. And why did Jesus die for our sins?”
Unbidden tears streamed now. “Because there is no greater way to show love for someone than to lay down your life for them.”
“And what does the bible say of angels?”
“Hebrews says be not forgetful to entertain strangers for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.”
Michael drew a ragged breath. “I was a stranger to you when I offered to guide you to this place.”
A difficult acknowledgement as he wiped his face once more. Many had told him to trust no one. That most were thieves out to take whatever they could get. Yet Michael had been very helpful. In the past month, they’d done much to bring many to Christ. He could honestly say he never trusted anyone more. It was hard to imagine that shortly Michael would be gone. But there was no hospital anywhere close and no way to get there quickly even if there were.
“I feel so helpless Michael. I want to do something but I can’t. Why couldn’t it have been me those darts hit?”
“They were meant for you,” Michael said biding his last breath. “It was my job to take your place. It was my job. Now go do yours.”
Eyes clouded, he layed Michael’s limp body on the ground.
Turned to see four natives headed his way.
“Missionary,” one called out. “Tell us more.”
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