Two exhausted missionaries stomped quickly through the sticky jungle, hacking through the thick, bright green barrier.
They ran from a tropical storm, which stalked them like a great beast. Flashes of lightening displayed the mountain's sharp, deadly teeth through the gloom. A grey curtain closed quickly. There was no escape.
Sweat trickled down Tom's face like a tiny stream. He faced his companion.
'Are you sure?' Tom said.
'This'. Tom pointed out and swung a finger in a circle.
'Then why are we here?'
James scanned the jungle. They were not going to outrun the storm. This growth was alive, dense, dangerous, and mad. It knew them and what they were here for.
'We're doing God's will. Knowing why we're here is irrelevant. Only obedience is important,' James said
The storm struck with unnatural speed. Pellets of rain smashed into their skulls like steel ball bearings from the heavens. The drenched men sprinted to a hollowed out tree. James hoped a jaguar didn't have the same idea.
Tom cried over the howl of the storm, 'Told you this was a bad idea. If we do finally get to this village, we're going to look like pathetic swamp rats. We don't even know the local tongue.'
Thunder peeled and a massive lightening bold slammed into the ground less than twenty feet from the men, nearly knocking them out of the hollow.
'We can go back. Let's go back. This mission's over. Everything's against us. We're going to die out here.' Tom strode away throwing his backpack to the ground to stress the point. James grabbed his slippery arm and stopped him.
James had come a long, long way. Further than his friend. A year ago he wouldn't have even braved a slight shower to get to church. But God filled him with a consuming fire and zeal. Nothing would stop him. No Jungle. No storm. No animal. No man. Nothing. Nevertheless, foreign thoughts still assaulted his determined mind.
Give up. Fail. Turn Back. Everything's against you. You're going to die.
Even the squall echoed the mounting fear. But he didn't know the meaning of these words. God caused him to forget.
James smiled and laughed and responded.
'Who is the God of this world?'
Tom looked confused.
'Well, who? Who is blinding the minds of people who do not believe?
Who sows fear and doubt and infects with chaos? Who?'
'And if we are in God's will, wouldn't he try and stop us?'
Tom scratched his head.
'What if we die?'
James laughed louder.
'Then we die. Death is gain.'
James grabbed trembling shoulders and gazed into fearing, doubting eyes.
'God is stronger. Remember. Never forget.'
James faced the maelstrom of rain and screamed over the swirling chaos.
'You will not stop us!'
Immediately the thunder and lightening ceased and the sheet of grey ran away.
'See? God is stronger.' James patted Tom's shoulder.
Tom's face drained of all colour as he pointed with a shaking hand to the vines and thicket behind James. James slowly spun around.
Five tall, dark warriors stood poised like a mouse trap with spears aimed. Tom darted for the backpack laying on the ground.
Must have brought the gun. What a waste, James thought.
A spear sliced effortlessly through the air, whistling past James ear and impaled Tom's backpack on a thick vine about 10 meters back. Tom stood paralysed, grasping the remains of a torn shoulder strap.
The largest warrior spoke. It was a harsh, angry tone that sounded more like a sequence of clicks than anything else. James had never heard anything like it before.
He closed his eyes, bowed his head, and prayed.
'God. What do I do?'
Immediately a voice, small and still, sliced through his remaining fear.
He told them they had both come a long way, told them about the God who brought them there, told them he made this jungle and them, told them he wanted to know them, them and their families, and told them all they had to do was accept him.
The warriors clicked, squeaked, smiled, and lowered the spears.
Tom stared at his friend in wonder.
'How did you do that?'
'Talk to them in clicks and squeaks.'
'I didn't. God clicked and squeaked and they listened.'
The warriors disappeared into the bush.
'Let's go,' James said.
The two men marched with renewed strength, following the clicking, squeaking warriors.
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