Saturday, November 6, 2010

The moment of truth

Before we left, we heard it from everyone. "You're going to Africa?! Aren't you afraid you'll die? What if the plane crashes?! What if you get shot!?!" People came up with the most colorful predicaments that we were just bound to get ourselves into. And my answer? No. I'm not afraid. I'm more afraid of the pain of dying. I know where I'm going. =]

Everyone wanted us to know how dangerous these places are. How many bomb threats were being heard in London. In Uganda. In Sudan. In Somalia. Everywhere around where we were going. Everyone was afraid for us.

I've been all over. I've been to Brazil, Mexico, the Philippines, and Africa. And before this trip, I had never felt unsafe. I had never come in contact with anyone who wanted to harm me (that I know of...) or who intentionally was out to get me. We'd see fights, we'd get lost in the ghetto, we'd see some things that I could have done without, but we were never in any imminent danger.

Until this trip.

It was maybe the second or third day at the orphanage. We were working on the water tower when there was a big commotion on the street (and I'm the worst with distances so I have no idea how far away it was. It was close. But not that close. I don't know.) and we saw people running away, people running to the spot, and lots and lots of yelling. I don't remember exactly what I was doing but I was pretty oblivious to the whole thing. All the kids and a couple people from my team noticed the commotion but I was just lateedaaaaa off in my own little world.

Probably 15 minutes later I realized what was going on and asked Steve, one of our guys, what had happened. His response, "Didn't you hear the gunshots?"

Um, what?!!

In my mind, I have no idea what actually happened. My mind has completely erased those moments from my mind to protect me. (Jamie will love this because we talk about this all. The. Time. =]]) I have no idea if I did hear the gun shots and just didn't realize what it was or if I was completely oblivious to everything going on around me. I know, now, that I am being protected far more than I can even begin to understand. I am the biggest baby ever when it comes to death and dying and pain. I hate scary movies. I hate being afraid. I think the subject of death is so interesting, but I'll think too much about it and keep myself up for weeks over analyzing everything.

So I know God was (and still is) protecting my over active imagination. 1. He erased those moments from my mind. 2. He kept us safe from what could have become a horrible situation.

This whole event happened probably 30 to 45 minutes before we left the work site. By the time we were leaving everyone knew and was talking about what had happened. All we knew was that there had been 4ish gun shots. No one knew why. From our spot we could see a group of people congregated around what appeared to be a body lying on the road.

We loaded into the bus and prepared ourselves for who knows what as we drove a few feet up the road. We were stopped by some military men. A pick up truck with several more military men drove up and stopped beside our bus. They got out and a few seconds later brought over three men and threw them in the back of the bus. They had parked between the man on the ground and us so we could no longer see the body. Then, they threw the body over the side of the truck and drove off. This was apparently the police and their way of taking these men to jail. We moved along and everyone was quiet. I was afraid because as far as I knew, this man had just been shot and killed a few feet from the orphanage.

We got back to the hotel 15 minutes later and everyone had forgotten about the entire incident. We met for dinner and someone brought it up again and we all began to talk about what had happened to process through it.

Dawit told someone the full story so that was passed along and the rumors were quelled very quickly. Apparently there was a tribal dispute (over land, most likely) and the men began to beat each other up. They were using sticks and clubs and rocks and anything they could get their hands on. The military fired warning shots into the air to break up the fight and the man on the ground was badly hurt, not dead. And no one had been shot like we had all previously thought.

Then we began to talk about how we had each felt. Dona expressed her thankfulness for the fence that we had built last year. If the shots had been fired from non-military people the men could have started running through the fields and into our compound. Our compound with 40 some kids, 16 Americans, and 10 other people. But we put up a barbed wire fence around the entire compound. That fence is a hedge of protection and it would have been especially protective if we had been bombarded by these blood thirty men.

Someone else expressed how thankful they were that they didn't hear the shots. We were all pretty much in the same area. There really is no reason some of us would have heard the shots while others didn't. But clearly some of us would have reacted differently if we had heard them.

This was the first time that I had ever felt like I was in danger. Like what I am doing is good because clearly someone is trying to knock it down.

But then I realized that the danger wasn't even that real. What we all assumed had happened, didn't, and we were set straight. Once again, there's that little tiny footing Satan gets and uses it to just pull us down.

I remembered to journal about this that night so I would remember the many ways God had protected us; but then I completely forgot about this incident. We drove past this spot for at least another week, twice a day, and it never once came to my mind.

So, to answer all those questions, no. I'm not afraid. God protects me. And He's got tons of angels watchin over me.


2 loves:

  1. And you had your big manly macho husband with you so you felt safe. right? haha but ya the man upstairs has got us covered...always.

  2. i remember this too... and I didn't hear the fun shots either.. It wasn't until I heard all of the people on the streets did I realize something was up. So glad that God protected me from that because I would have probably been a nervous wreck for the children/families of the people who we thought had been shot...