A Venture Of Faith And Love
Earlier this year the Herald staff gathered for a time of thanksgiving and prayer in memory of a long-time friend of the ministry who went to be with the Lord last year. This dear sister served as a Herald volunteer during the time the ministry was in California, and she provided much encouragement and support throughout the years. She spent much of her life as a nurse, and by living unselfishly and frugally, she was able in later years to travel to numerous countries with various organizations as a missionary distributing Bibles and Christian literature. When she traveled she took a minimum of personal items so that she could take as much as possible to share with those in need.
As the staff gathered that day in memory of her, we read the following portion of a letter she had sent to Lois describing one of her experiences taking Bibles into a country that was not open to the Gospel:
Our team leader had no sooner been taken into the border patrol office for questioning than I heard the words, "You drive!" The order was given as the border guard seated himself next to me and pointed out the direction I was to take.
Me? Drive under these circumstances? I was well aware that I was a novice at manipulating a stick shift vehicle and even in relaxed surroundings had a strong tendency to "kill engines" at inopportune times. But, this time there was no difficulty as I relied on the Lord for His help and slowly drove around the border station to the yard at the rear, through the gate, and stopped.
The guard got out and proceeded to order me to back up the vehicle, turn it about and drive it over a subterranean opening the size of an oil pit. "Oh, Lord," I pleaded, "You know I have a terrible time getting into reverse gear. Please help me!" But in His wisdom, He did not answer my prayer as I expected, for in the next five minutes I must have "killed" the engine 10 times and was able to shift into reverse only by standing up and using both hands on the stick shift. Oh, for my little automatic transmission car! By then, perspiration was streaming down my back, but any apprehension I had was being replaced by the ludicrous situation itself.
The attempt to position the vehicle over the oil pit was again a series of starts and stops, backwards and forward, accompanied by gestures, instructions (not in English) and encouragement from the guards. By now, there were between eight and ten men ringed about me as I explained with smiles of embarrassment that I was not used to driving a manual transmission. "Ah, automatic only!" one exclaimed with a knowing look. Gradually the stern faces gave way to slow smiles, a suppressed laugh, and then a feeling of compassion and camaraderie for me in my aborted attempts to drive. Eventually, the amusement spread to all, and even the most officious guard who appeared to be in charge permitted himself a smile or two of indulgence.
"Thank you, Lord," I breathed, for I now realized He had used my ineptness to relieve my own tension and effect a relaxation among the guards also.
Then began the intense search of the vehicle. Every conceivable method and device was employed: long wires were poked into openings, screwdrivers pried at coverings and anything that could be loosened, sides of the vehicle received extensive pounding, etc. Soon an electric drill was brought out. "Oh, Lord," I prayed, "Protect Your Word. Don’t let them find anything. You said Your Word would not return void and would accomplish Your intended purpose, and we trust the Bibles shall reach those for whom they are intended."
Suddenly I realized that there was confusion outside as they could not locate an electrical outlet for the drill. "Dear Lord, don’t let the drill be used." But again, the prayer was not answered in my way, an outlet was found, and I could feel the vibrations as they drilled various areas of the vehicle. Faces peered at me through the vehicle windows, but His peace pervaded my spirit and I was able to calmly smile back at them.
Then the vehicle door opened and a beautiful black guard dog was encouraged to smell the interior of the cab. I had a strong, rather perverse urge to reach out my hand to him, but one look at those brown eyes told me he meant business and would not appreciate a "nice doggy" pat of the hand!
At last the search seemed to be completed and one by one the guards left. The entire ordeal had had a sense of unreality as if I was not even a participant in it. In His great mercy, the Lord had lifted me above it all and had enveloped me with an awareness of His protection and loving care. We were His children and it was His Word we were carrying, so we could rely on His faithfulness and trust Him to engineer all situations and make them work together for good.
As I drove back to the front of the border station, it dawned on me that I had shifted gears perfectly with no stalling, and I prayed, "Lord, don’t let them wonder why I can drive so well now when I couldn’t prior to the search. Don’t let them question the possibility I was pretending to be inept to throw them off guard."
And this time my prayer was answered.
Soon our leader was released from interrogation and we were permitted to leave. As the iron gates were lifted to let us pass, I (from the back seat this time) was rewarded with a still amused smile and wave from the border guards, although it was rather a rueful smile from the one who still seemed chagrined with the lack of results in their search.
Even as we left and were silently pouring out our gratitude to Him, I felt no animosity, but rather a compassion for those men. They did their work well, but were no match for an omnipotent God. How I longed to be able to share His great love with them under different circumstances. And my heart is crying, "Heavenly Father, as You blinded their physical eyes during their search, now may the Holy Spirit open their spiritual eyes to see Jesus, who is the Way, the Truth and the Life. Thank you, Lord, that some day every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. And that included border guards, too!"
This brief account from our sister’s life helps reveal the trust she had in the Lord, her heart for ministry to the body of Christ, and her compassion and intercession for the lost. She served the Lord faithfully throughout her life, and we are thankful for how her service blessed the Herald staff and ministry. In fact, even in her death she blessed this ministry by remembering the Herald in her will. A gift we received from her estate at the end of the year provided much needed help in getting waiting mail on its way. Praise the Lord for blessing so many through this faithful servant! And praise the Lord for all of the dear friends of this ministry!