Sunday, March 1, 2015

Plink...and the Window Swung Open

In the early morning hours of December 29, just days after the Christmas gift-giving holiday, I received a phone call while sleeping in my Malindi vacation bed. Thieves had entered my Uganda house, through a formerly locked window, only a short time before. Covering the face of my friend, who was keeping the house in my absence, with a rag soaked in chloroform, they proceeded to steal all his electronics and a few of my household items before departing through the front door.

The shoe print of a child could be seen on the frame of the window, the only means by which to enter and access the door keys though which the group of adult men entered. A small child! Were the windows left unlocked? We never even open those windows, there are others but not those because they receive direct sunlight and so remain locked and covered to keep the heat at bay. But how? To this day there are so many questions and the only thing to do is accept that sometimes we never receive the answers we so desire.

My mind raced with thoughts of ideas for strengthening security, and even as I await the box sent from the US containing a few of those tools…

At about 12:30 am the morning of February 26, I woke from a dream which was filled with the sound of rattling windows, like in beach houses during stormy nights. I lie silently listening and hearing nothing, arose and searched the house – a simple endeavor given its two rooms – and returned to my bed though sleepless. For the next three hours I occupied my mind with various thoughts and finally began to doze. And then…plink!

Eyes wide open, I searched for the source of the sound and the source of the now cool breeze passing over my legs. Not moving an inch, in the space of about three seconds I saw the window swing open. The sound of that plink was the brace falling against the window frame. And with an effort to focus my eyes in the dark, I saw the shadow of a man-boy looking in at me perhaps wondering if I heard the sound and wondering how I would respond. What could I do? Inside those three seconds I realized that as soon as I moved he would be gone. Could I catch him? Did I want to catch him? Would he enter through the narrow bars or run? Had others already entered? Do I have a weapon?

Perhaps I should have called out in the name of Jesus, but instead in an aggressive manner I raced from the bed and ran four steps toward the window screaming “get out, get out, get out” over and over again. In the black of night I could only assume the people who blended into the darkness so well fled…and I prayed it was so as I opened my screen to pull the window closed again imagining them pulling my wrists and somehow trapping me.
The adrenaline pumped through my body, far more than necessary for that tiny span of time. Who should I call? Who can come? Who can help? My only option was to call my parents way far away, knowing that the worry and helplessness they would endure was unfair. I discovered that my voice had gone. For three days my voice left me, apparently my screaming was more intense than I realized.

The aftermath of the first successful break in and the second attempted break in has really left a mark. I trust the Lord to protect me and at the same time I know the enemy is allowed to reign in the hearts of unbelievers. I’ve done my best to improve security, but as I wait for that box from the US and for the other security plans to come together, I find distress.

I lay in my bed with my eyes and ears more alert than a watchdog. Every rattle, every plink, every footstep, every voice must be thieves plotting to enter. I turn on the lights, but what if I can’t see them coming in the dark? I play movies, but what if I can’t hear them and get the frying pan ready for a swing? I lose Facebook Scrabble game after game with my mother, who patiently listens to my fears.

And finally dawn comes and I boldly step out of bed hoping all in the house is as it had been the night before. Work begins around 4:00 am and I take only a short nap in the heat of the afternoon hours. With daylight comes a renewed determination to experience the next night as normal. But when darkness falls, the fear returns.

Missionaries living in foreign countries, particularly developing countries, face so many trials. Yet somehow many of us feel it’s most appropriate to keep quiet about them because we ought to count it all joy, right? I’ve struggle with the decision to share for some time, obviously, and decided that it’s important for you to know the truth. Why? Because we are in this together. We are partners in the work of the Lord spiritually, financially, prayerfully, and relationally. We cannot effectively continue to serve him without all the information. And so here it is…all the information. Continue serving him, please, with your ongoing intercessory prayers.

I know the Lord is my greatest peace; however, please join me in praying that truth into my head. Pray that the Lord would cover this house with his protection and that would-be intruders would bass by with blind eyes. Pray that the planned security measures would be implemented soon, that they would be more than enough, and that a sense of safety inside my sanctuary would return.

“And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast” 1 Peter 5:10.