Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Evangelism (11/01/07)
- TITLE: An Andes High
By Patty Wysong
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Rubbing my gritty eyes, I saw all the people crowded together, sitting on the ground, watching the movie. The Quichua women, with their heavy wool skirts insulating them against the cold, had children tucked in around them, forming a family cluster, with their father nearby, stoic in his sweater or jacket and traditional wool hat. No one was dozing, no one was even yawning or squirming. All eyes were focused on the canvas wall that served as the projector screen, intently watching.
This was the third night of showing a film at the end of busy days of getting a fresh water supply to the village--if you could call this a village. There was a school building, a thatch outhouse, and one sod home, no more. Other homes were tucked within the folds of the mountains, visible only if you knew what to look for and where to look, yet every night the tent was packed with people wanting to see the Jesus movie. While they sang a few songs in their nasal Quechua language I rewound the reels then settled back to pray while Angelo, a young national pastor, preached in Quechua.
Later, as I was putting away the ancient reel-to-reel projector, a man ran in. “Senor Pedro. Please, will you show the film again tonight?” His face was flushed and I wondered if he'd been out back drinking, but he didn't smell of the local brew.
I was exhausted. The Jesus film was a great tool for reaching these mountain people, many of whom had never seen a movie in their lives, but if I showed the movie again, it'd be hours before I could go to bed. There was a rustling at the doorway that drew my attention. A group of people stood there, all with flushed faces.
Looking back at him I finally recognized the man standing before me--he had been saved the first night we showed the movie.
“Please, my family needs Jesus, too.”
Even though I was exhausted I couldn't miss this opportunity. I called them into the tent then turned and threaded the film strip into the projector while they collapsed on the ground, chattering excitedly. When the movie began they quieted, all except for one or two who translated as much as they could into Quechua. Other people drifted back in to watch and soon the tent was full again.
I stepped outside for a few minutes and took a deep breath of the frigid air. It was cold enough to sting my nose, but wonderfully fresh. I looked up and was once again amazed. Lord, it's beautiful up here. The stars are so close I think I could reach out and touch them, and they're so bright. I slowly turned in a circle, looking at the towering mountain peeks that surrounded me, awed by their velvetty black silhouettes against their starry background. Thank You for getting them here in time and for getting my attention. Please touch their hearts, Lord.
When the movie ended Angelo preached again.
Afterwards the man came to me. “Gracias, Senor Pedro. Mi familia,” he had to swallow and try again. “I knew they needed Jesus, so I ran home and brought them back. Now my family knows Jesus, too.”
Angelo joined us then, smiling. “This man lives a full day's journey from here, on the other side of the mountain. To make it there and back so quickly he must have run the whole way, gathered his family and then come running back, carrying the little ones. He was afraid they'd be too late, but praise God, they weren't.”
And to think I was almost too tired to be bothered...
Based on a true story.
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