Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Evangelism (11/01/07)
TITLE: Patrick's Letter
By Nancy Jo Wilson
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I know that you’ve gotten the official notice about Tobey. I bet it told you that he was a great soldier and he was. I trusted him to have my back.
But I thought maybe you’d want to know the rest, not just the soldier stuff, but how he was as a man. We all started calling him Bible Thumper right away because he was always reading it. Pretty soon it was just Thumper. We gave him a pretty hard time and he just smiled like he knew something we didn’t.
I didn’t ever go to church back home. Those people acted like they were better than me or told me how I was a sinner, I mean why would I go somewhere just to feel bad. I figured that was what Thumper would do. He never did. We certainly gave him reason. Some of the guys would talk really dirty or cuss loud when he was around just to see what he would do. I guess they thought he’d get mad or embarrassed something. He would just keep on with what he was doing like he didn’t hear it.
He asked me to bible study every week. Real casual like “Hey some guys are getting together to read the bible, do you want to come?” I would say no and he would smile and say maybe next time. He never pushed and never made me feel bad for not going. Thumper didn’t have to say much about what he believed, it was all over him.
Like I noticed early that he was always calm before battle. Everybody else would be nervous and twitchy and he would just sit there like we were just going for a ride. I asked him why he wasn’t scared. “I’m scared” he said. “I’m scared I’ll kill a man who has a family waiting at home. I’m scared he’ll die without knowing the Lord. I’m scared we’ll loose some of our own.”
“That’s what I mean,” I said. “You’re talking about other people, but you’re not scared for yourself.”
He smiled that smile and said “You mean am I afraid of dying? No way, I’m not going into battle alone.”
“Our troops are good, but not that good,” I said.
“Well, we do have the best soldiers in the army, but that’s not what I meant. I gave my life to Jesus Christ. He goes with me everywhere and I am in His hand. Whatever happens is within His plan. Live, die, loose a leg, I know that He’s got it all under control, so I don’t have to worry.” I didn’t know what to say. There was no one I trusted that much, it seemed a little crazy to me, but I couldn’t deny the peace that Thumper had.
I started to wonder about Jesus then, but what got me was a letter from my mom. She was diagnosed with MS. All the guys gave me sympathy, but Thumper said he would pray. And he did. I know because I overheard him once. I walked past the place where the guys had bible study, they all had heads bowed and Thumper was praying. “Lord we lift up Patrick’s mom to you,” he says. “We pray for her healing and peace for her and her family during this rough time.” I walked off before they finished, but I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I thought people like Patrick didn’t like people like me, but here he was praying for my mom like we were friends.
The next time he asked me to bible study I went and I kept going. I had a hard time believing that Jesus would die for me. I did some bad things when I was young. Thumper convinced me that he was no better than me. We were both sinners in need of a savior. About a month before he died, he led me in a prayer of salvation. I haven’t been the same since. Two weeks ago, he baptized me.
I’m sure you're wishing he’d never enlisted, but I’m glad he did. I’ll be praying for you.
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