The thundering of the guns and the smell of gunpowder surrounded the mission. Upstairs, a window shattered. The guerillas were not going to give up.
I knelt by Mom’s prone figure and felt her feverish forehead. “Dad, Mom’s completely unconscious,” I whispered.
“I know, Jean.” In spite of the gunfire, Dad’s voice was steady. “All we can do is pray. If Tyson doesn’t make it…”
Dad didn’t have to finish. I knew as well as he did that if Tyson didn’t make it with the medicine, Mom would die.
Dad squeezed Mom’s hand, and wiped a tear from his eye. There was nothing we could do but wait, and pray. It was certain death if we left, but would we be any safer if we stayed?
“Pastor Jeff!” A native rushed in.
“Yes, Uwa?” Dad asked glancing up.
“I sorry, Pastor,” he said in his broken English.
“What is it?” Dad asked. His brow was furrowed and his full attention was on Uwa.
“Tyson no make it.”
As Uwa’s words sunk in, I bit my lip and looked away fighting the tears. Not only was my brother Tyson gone, the chopper he had been flying was our last chance of rescue.
Dad lowered his head, and tried to suppress his emotions. “God is still in control,” he whispered. “Thank you for telling me.”
“That not all.” Uwa looked down. “The villagers no fight the guerrillas much longer. You must leave Pastor. If they find you, they kill us all, but if you leave, they no hurt us.”
I met Dad’s gaze. Uwa was right. The guerillas had opposed our missionary work from day one. They wouldn’t hesitate to kill, but if we were gone, they would have no reason to harm anyone else.
“We can’t leave,” Dad protested. “God has been doing so much here.” He gestured helplessly with his hands.
“Pastor,” Uwa said. “We want you stay live. Leave Africa, and help others, come back when it safe.”
“My wife is very ill, and I won’t leave my son.”
“You can’t help Tyson no more. Take wife to Gaut, good doctor there,” Uwa said. “You take motor bike. It only have room for you and the missus. Jean have to stay.”
Dad met my gaze, and then glanced at Mom. It was risky, but we would probably all be killed anyway.
Dad clasped Uwa’s hand. “Take care of Jean.”
Uwa nodded and then left to get the motor bike ready.
“Jean, you know I don’t want to leave you. You’re only seventeen, and… well, there’s just no other way.”
I swallowed the lump in my throat. “I understand. Just get Mom to a doctor, and don’t worry about me. God will take care of me.” Tears welled up in my eyes. What if Mom didn’t make it?
“I’m so proud of you for being willing to risk your life for your faith, but it’s hard for me as a dad to let you go.”
“Dad, Jesus died for me. How can I not be willing to give my life for Him?”
Dad nodded, and then bowed his head. “Dear God, please take care of Jean, and Lord, please help me get my wife to safety. Amen.” Dad looked up with determination. “If you make it out alive, go to the mission at Gaut. If God wills it, we’ll be there. And, Jean…” he paused. “I love you.”
“I love you too, Dad.”
Dad hugged me, and I couldn’t stop the tears. Dad let me go, and gently picked up Mom. His loving gaze met mine one last Tysone before he turned and left.
I leaned back against the wall and slid to the ground. I couldn’t stop the flowing tears. “Thank you God for providing a way for Mom and Dad. Lord, please keep them safe.” I prayed silently. “Please hide them from the guerillas.”
My silent prayers were interrupted by the back door being flung open. I knew that the village’s defense must have fallen, and that the guerillas were there to kill me. I said a quick prayer for strength, and then stood to my feet.
Turning to face them, I expected to be met by men in camo with rifles pointed at me. Instead, a young man, in a collared shirt stood there. His left sleeve was blood stained, and his short sandy hair clung to his sweaty forehead.
“Tyson!” I blinked, could it really be him? “I thought you were dead!”
Blood dripped from the fingers on his left hand. “I landed the chopper, and was surrounded by the guerrillas. They wanted to keep me alive to fly the chopper for them, but in the cross fire, I was hit. They left me for dead. Where’s Dad and Mom?” Tyson glanced around the room.
“Dad just left with Mom,” I said. “He’s taking her to Gaut.”
Tyson nodded. “Then let’s find Uwa and hide.” As he finished talking, he wavered a bit and his face seemed awful pale.
“Are you going to be okay?” I asked, reaching out to steady him.
“It’s not serious, it just bled a lot.”
Tyson and I found Uwa, and went to the hidden cellar, where Uwa wrapped Tyson’s arm.
“I go now. See if it safe.” Uwa left, and came back moments later. “They all gone.”
“Did they follow Mom and Dad?” Tyson asked leaning forward.
Uwa shook his head. “They go the other way. God protected you!”
“Praise God!” Tyson said leaning back. Tyson got to his knees, and prayed aloud. “Thank you God for your protection. Your miraculous protection.”
Within a week’s Tysone, Tyson and I were safely at the mission in Gaut. We didn’t know what God’s plan was for us, but with Mom getting better, we knew we would soon be going back. Yes, we were scared, but we were learning to trust God, and with Him on our side, we had nothing to worry about.