Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Confident (07/05/07)
TITLE: Challenging that Blessed Assurance
By Linda Germain
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“Good morning, George.”
The booming voice of Pastor Albert Metcalfe seemed to ricochet off the walls of the plane that had been in the air for what seemed like eternity. He stopped to greet each of his minister pals who were part of the team visiting an orphanage in India.
Pastor George Matthews smiled at his affable friend, stretched, and looked at his watch.
“ I’m awake. Just been praying for awhile.”
Al moved on down the aisle to make sure Pastor Sam Amada was aware the arrival time was finally at hand. This was not their first trip to the place supported by each of their congregations back home. The entire mission was an exercise in hands-on accountability for all monies and activities on behalf of the youngsters, and was a job taken seriously by these men of unusual integrity.
A young fellow wearing a white linen coat and jeans stood at the bottom of the plane’s steps. He bowed slightly and grinned as he held the door open to his vintage and roomy Chevrolet.
“You do not know me, do you?”
Pastor George stopped and extended his hand.
“I would recognize those twinkling eyes anywhere.”
Pasani giggled with great pleasure at being remembered. He greeted Sam and Al, stowed the luggage in the cavernous trunk of the old car, then drove towards the hotel.
Pastor Sam was the first to see the boy’s furrowed brow in the rearview mirror. “Is there something wrong, Pasani?”
“Oh please, good men of faith who follow our Lord Jesus and who have given me the greatest gift possible in knowing him, I beg you to come to my village and share this knowledge. I am the only one who has embraced Christ and it is not safe to even visit my mother and old grandmother. There are many who believe it is right to kill a Christian. They must be told about Him.”
“But Pasani,” Pastor Al explained, “ There is a witnessing team due the end of the week who plan to visit as many villages as possible. We are only prepared to do our accountability jobs as board members of the orphanage and then go back to America.”
Desperate tears ran down the young man’s pleading face and onto his white jacket. The three ministers of the gospel looked at each other and the silent decision was made.
The next day Pasani arrived at the hotel with food and supplies for the trip. After several hours, he pulled the car into a clearing and announced they would make the rest of the way on foot. As the inky darkness of evening settled around the path their small flashlights seemed no brighter than fireflies. Word of their arrival spread quickly.
Pastor Al, visibly shaken, whispered to the other two as they sat facing a possible hostile crowd. “I cannot move my legs."
Always compassionate and discerning, Pastor George responded gently to his friend. “That’s okay, I’ll speak first. Just don’t stop praying!
George felt his own knees shaking as he stood and opened his Bible. I know you are here, Holy Spirit. Please give me strength and wisdom in this strange and dangerous place.
Pastor George preached. Pasani interpreted. Scores of women came forward in response to the Good News. Then he saw movement in the back, a place he knew the village men had congregated to watch.
His voice was clear and strong. “ I invite you to meet the one true God who can wash away your sins and save your souls.”
The Village Chief stepped out of the darkness alone. No one made a sound. He and Pastor George locked eyes. The imposing leader held a hatchet-like weapon aloft as he walked in a slow and dignified manner towards the stranger who ministered at the front.
Serene and trusting and ready for anything, George stood straight and tall. Thank you Lord, for the angels all about us, for protection, for strength to preach your Word to the ends of the earth. He felt compelled to meet the older man half way and escort him to the makeshift altar.
The stern looking Chief handed his sharp and lethal weapon to George and then fell to his knees. The other men followed.
Though a mighty army surrounds me, my heart will not be afraid. Even if I am attacked, I will remain confident. (NLT)
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