The cold cement floor met Mehai’s* face as the German soldier pushed him roughly into the prison cell and slammed the door. Mehai rolled over on his side and groaned. He could hear the marching of the German soldiers outside the prison compound. Since the Germans had come into his country of Romania, he had resented those very marching procedures.
Leaning against the cold wall, Mehai wished his wife would visit, despite the circumstances. Tatiana had not visited him for quite some time. The Germans permitted short visits, which were not private. Mehai knew Tatiana could not bear the cruel treatment of having their conversation listened in on by a third party.
He jerked to attention when a soldier marched up to the barred cell door. The soldier spoke in rough Romanian. “A present for me?” Mehai asked.
The soldier unlocked the door with a huge skeleton key and threw in a nearly tattered box. He shot off more harsh words and stalked off.
Mehai slowly removed the box from the floor and set it on his bed. The top flaps gaped open, revealing a white cake. He smiled, tears coming to his eyes. He noticed a small piece of paper stuck to the side of the box.
Dearest Mehai, This was given to me by a friend and I desire that you will be comforted with it as I have been. Happy birthday. Tatiana.
Mehai wondered what his wife meant. Of course he would be comforted by a delicious cake! What else could she mean? Looking around his dank cell, he could not find any utensils to eat with. He picked up the small cake in his dirty hands and savored each bite.
Halfway through the tiny cake, he bit down on leather. Mehai put the cake back in the box and dug through the cake. His fingers found the leather and he pulled out a book covered in icing. Opening the front cover, he read the inside title: Holy Bible . Staring at the Bible, Mehai slowly realized his dear wife had found Jesus. He recalled meeting a missionary couple a few months before he had been captured. The missionaries had taken Mehai and Tatiana aside and shared Jesus with them, but Mehai wanted nothing to do with Jesus. Now, as he sat staring at the Bible, his heart yearned for the love and forgiveness the missionaries spoke of that only Jesus could give. He took the meager blanket he used for covers and cleaned the cake off of the precious Word of God. He turned the pages and began to read.
“What is this?” bellowed a German soldier as he stood over Mehai. The soldier ripped the Bible out of Mehai’s hand. “Where did you get this?” he demanded, flipping through the book. Without for a reply, he raised his hand and slapped Mehai across the face. His black boots sparkled as he stomped out of the cell, slamming the door behind.
Moments later, the camadan of the prison entered the Mehai’s cell. In his hands was the Bible, cake particles still in the corners. “The guard tells me you have this Bible,” he said angrily. “Stand up! You are to be taken to my office for questioning!”
Mehai was dragged by a soldier out of his cell. They followed the camadan to the large office. The aroma of cigars filled the room and Mehai coughed.
The camadan glared at Mehai as he told the soldier to leave the room. The stern camadan glared at Mehai as the soldier left the room. The camadan’s expression changed rapidly once the huge door was shut. He took Mehai by the arm and led him to a chair. He turned the radio to a station where a lady was telling Bible stories.
Mehai stared quizically at the camadan. “I do not understand—
The camadan sat behind his desk. “My name is Heshbon and I am a Christian,” he explained in deep gentle Romanian. “I myself was forced into this war.” He began to share with Mehai the words of Jesus in the book of John about slavation and where his soul would spend eternity.
Mehai listened eagerly. This is what his wife had. He wanted it, too.
“I understand,” Mehai interjected several minutes later. “I want this salvation. I want to be forgiven of my sin and spend eternity with Jesus in Heaven.”
A slow grin spread across Captain Heshbon’s lips. “Yes,” he whispered. “Yes.”
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