Cody gripped his microphone by his side as he maneuvered through the maze of rubble. Chunks of brick and concrete littered the street in front of the spot where the stubby remains of two walls now stood. Dust had settled over the landscape, marring the beauty of the rich, tropical grass and drifting into the shallow water of a nearby rice field.
Cody wondered if covering this story would shatter his heart in as many pieces as the remote Indonesian building. He shook his head in horrific awe.
“It kills me, Pete. It just kills me when radicals do things like this.”
Patrick shifted the weight of the video camera on his shoulder and smirked, “Well, if they had killed you in the bombing you wouldn’t be here to report it would you?”
“That’s not funny, Pete.”
Cody turned to face Patrick, strategically taking his place on the dirt road so that the audience would be able to see the ruins in the background. He could feel the sorrow swimming through his soul, but he shoved it back enough to do his job. No one had ever accused him of being a softy.
He motioned to Patrick. “Okay, start ‘er up when you’re ready. Are we in focus?”
Pete positioned the newscam and adjusted a few lenses before flashing a thumbs up signal to Cody. “We’re good.”
The footage wouldn’t be aired until later in the afternoon so Cody didn’t have to worry about going live.
Breathing in a gulp of humid air, he held the bulky microphone below his lips and nodded to his cameraman. The tiny camera light flashed on and Cody donned his reporting voice, “I’m standing here in the province of East Java, Indonesia, where you can see behind me the remnants of a church building. The Jehovah Jira Church of Java was bombed by a group of extremist Muslims early this morning. Despite the Indonesian government’s attempt to protect religious minorities such as the Christians of Jehovah Jira Church, certain Islamic groups have not given up their jihad attacks. This is the second church that this group has attacked this year.”
Cody paused for a split second. “It is reported that the church was not meeting at the time of the bombing, and the extremist group claims that this was merely a warning for the Christians to stop their worship gatherings. However, authorities discovered in the aftermath that at least two people were indeed in the building. Their bodies have not been identified, but it is confirmed that they did not survive. It is uncertain whether the members of Jehovah Jira plan to continue their meetings.”
Cody lowered his microphone and signaled for Patrick to cut. He stared back at the church. “What if we had to endure what they do, Pete? What if people made a habit of bombing our churches in America? Do you think we would keep finding ways to meet?”
Patrick shrugged. “Hey man, you know I’m not religious. If it were me, I’d stay as far away from a church as I could get.”
“I think that’s their plan, Pete. But that’s what really gets me. These believers will most likely come back here, clean up the wreckage, and worship God in the open. How many Christians in America are too scared to share Jesus with a coworker in the parking lot?”
“Beats me, man. I know this is all kinda personal to you.”
Just then the men saw movement near one of the demolished corners of the church. They moved closer. “Is someone there?” Cody called out.
An ebony-haired little girl peeked from around the short bit of wall with frightened eyes.
“Hey, where’s your parents?” Cody asked gently, kneeling to her level. “How come your around here?” It occurred to him that she might not know English.
But she responded, “Parents ... in church.”
Cody felt like a knife had been plunged into his gut when he realized what she was saying. “Where your parents there this morning?”
The girl nodded hurriedly. “But I ... forgive them.” Tears glistened in her almond eyes. “I no mad at bombing people. My parents ... in heaven with Jesus.”
Cody could no longer hold back the emotion. He held out his arms and let the young girl sob on his shoulder as tears streamed down his own cheeks. “Yes they are, sweetie.” He lifted his eyes to the church. “And they would be so proud of you.”
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