When my car broke down in the worst part of Lima, Peru one evening, it was loaded with expensive computer equipment. When two assailants attacked, someone dared to intervene.
Some years ago, while working at the Inca Union, church headquarters in Lima, Peru, I was advised one afternoon that our computer order had arrived by sea, and was requested to immediately pick up the equipment. Since my starter motor was being rebuilt, I got some friends to give me a push, and off I went. Arriving at the port just before closing time, I lowered the back seat and completely filled up my station wagon with computer parts and pieces. Due to the weight of the vehicle, it took several men to push start the engine and get me on my way. The port of Callao in Lima is known for being a rough neighbourhood. I was glad to be leaving the area before closing time, but knew that my route would take me through a part of the city known for its crime and violence.
As I turned into the section of town I most dreaded, I noticed that most of the businesses were closing. A rusting out bus body from the 50s, sat in front of an abandoned building. Except for traffic along the road, the streets were nearly empty. Until opening time next morning, ruffians would control the streets.
Thank you Lord that I am in a car and not on the street at this hour, I consciously acknowledged my gratefulness. As I rounded the corner by the abandoned bus, my engine began to run rough and my engine temperature light came on. A few seconds later, my engine froze to a complete stop, forcing me to pull over and park in the gravel just in front of the rusting bus chassis. Forcing back the fear that was building up in my stomach, I took off my suit coat and tie and stepped out of the car to look under the hood. Noticing that the radiator was empty I attempted to find a quick solution and began knocking on doors.
Grateful when the first door opened, I borrowed a bucket with water and made three trips to the car. Unable to fill the radiator, I discovered that all the water being poured in was running out through one of the freeze plugs.
Realizing the gravity of the situation, the fear level in my stomach rose one more notch. The odds were certainly stacked up against me. I was a well-dressed foreigner with a broken down car parked in front of a known criminal hideout. With an apparent fortune of computer equipment in a car with a frozen engine and no starter. I might as well have been waving a flag and shouting, Hi there everyone. I’ve brought you some free computer equipment. Come and get it! I felt like a wounded insect floating on the water under a pond full of hungry fish.
As I stood there bending over the engine, pondering what I should do, I noticed two men step out of the old bus. I watched as each of them picked up a large, rough-looking rock. One headed around the back of the car to my right; the other to my left. I knew exactly what they intended to do. I looked casually around me, but found no one closer than a block away. I was alone and quickly had to make a decision. Staying would mean facing battery and possible death. Leaving would protect my life, but would place God’s equipment at risk.
It is my duty to stay and protect God’s equipment. He will protect my life. But then, my life is also God’s asset, and is certainly more valuable than a bunch of Pcs. I reasoned, trying to decide what to do.
I clearly remember praying, Lord, I have not way to protect myself or the equipment. It was purchased with church funds, sacrificial offerings by your people. The equipment is yours. I am asking you to please intervene on behalf of the these assets. Please protect them. I noticed that each of the men had raised their rock as if preparing to throw them at me. I took a step back to leave.
Excuse me. The nicely dressed, black-haired gentleman spoke quietly in Spanish as placed his hand on my shoulder. Can I help you?
Surprised I stared into his face. I’d never before seen such a perfect face. In my imagination I framed his face with a TV screen. Could anyone on the street ever have such a perfect face?
Your life is in danger, explained the stranger. I know each of these men. Four of them live in that bus. They just assaulted a bus full of passengers, and now they want the equipment in your car. Your life is in danger! Get in the car and leave now.
Acknowledging the crisis , I explained why it was impossible to move the car.
Get in. I will push. He insisted.
Again I tried to explain that the car was too heavy for him to push. Besides, the engine was frozen and probably wouldn’t start anyway, even if he could push the car. In addition, the car is parked in the gravel, and …
Get in now and I will push the car, he ordered.
I obeyed, shaking my head. As I got in I rolled my eyes up as I was certain by himself he could never push the car and certainly never start the car. I turned on the ignition and placed the shift in second gear and pushed the clutch in. There is no way he can push this heavy car uphill in the gravel.
Knowing how assailants in Lima have a habit of using razor blades for slicing up the face of anyone who intervenes on behalf of a robbery victim, I admired the courage of this man willing to stand by himself next to the assailants. Thinking about assailants, I looked out at them.
There they stood, still holding the rocks in the same position they had been when the stranger had introduced himself. I saw no movement. Then the car started to move.
As the car gathered speed, my doubt changed to admiration, but I still was certain the engine was frozen would not turn over. I let out the clutch and was extremely surprised to hear it come to life. My benefactor rushed up to my window and insisted I leave immediately. I did, but only after forcing a few-dollar tip into his reluctant hands. I have no need for money, he insisted.
I drove about two blocks before the temperature light came on once again, and the engine died. As I pulled safely into a gas station, I suddenly realized what had just happened and how God had answered my prayer by protecting both me and his equipment. In answer to my prayer He had sent his angel.
It is humbling to me to think of that wonderful privilege and gift God provided that day. The world is a very dangerous place to live in today both physically and spiritually. I cannot afford to be in a position where sin and worldliness separate me from God’s presence and divine protection. This can be achieved through daily prayer and Bible study, and through carefully guarding what enters our mind. Many know and believe what needs to be done, but few actually do it. Which group are you in?
Author unknown. If anyone has a proprietary interest in this story please authenticate and I will be happy to credit, or remove, as the circumstances dictate.
Send by Shirley Powley SABP78@aol.com