Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Blood and Coffee

To My Most Amiable Readers...

Roughly a year has past, but I remember it every time I pass the bus station on my way home from rowing. It was an odd and frantic and holy moment, and caught me completely by surprise.

I was worn out. I forget what we did that day, weights, running, or rowing, but I was really tired. As the bus lurched through traffic I gazed out the window and saw a homeless or drunk (or both) guy face-down on the ground. He actually looked like his face was plowed into the dirt, as if he'd been shot from a cannon and landed head first. I felt the familiar nudge of the Holy Spirit to act on what I'd seen.

I got off the bus at the terminal (100 feet past the man) and worked my way to the entrance where I intended to buy some coffee for the man and try to get him out of the dirt and coherent. Right before I reached the doors a commotion from the left caught my eye. A man was lying on his side weeping, blood pooling from a cut in his head. A frantic teenager stood over him with wild eyes.

I can only describe what happened next as supernatural. I am not a confrontational person. Even if I know I've been wronged, I generally let it slide. But some sort of authority came over me at that moment. I locked gazes with the young man and bit off my words, "What has happened? What have you done?"

He broke eye contact, he started to yell, "Look! He's fine! My uncle is fine! Look, he's moving!" Again, myself almost yelling, "What happened to this man?" Cops arrived and threw the guy up against the wall and patted him down.

Meanwhile I crouched beside the victim and asked where he's hurt. In broken sentences he wept out, "He cut me! All over my back! I hurt! Call my wife! Here's money, call her!". I gently turned him so that I could see if he was bleeding from the back, and although his coat was cut to ribbons, there was no major bleeding. His head wound needed to be stopped however and I racked my brain as to what I could use to put pressure on it.

While I grabbed my clean rowing pants out of my backpack and applied them with pressure to his head wound I yelled at the crowd now enveloping us, "Get him some water! Call an ambulance!" No one moved. Oh the frustration of mob mentality. So I made eye contact with every person I could see and forcefully yelled, "Get water NOW. Call an ambulance!" A few people scurried off and a moment later I was handed two cups of water and was told an ambulance was on the way.

Apparently ambulances are a bit slower in South America. During the next fifteen minutes I tried to comfort and keep still the man who had been attacked. Helping him drink, calming him down, getting him as comfortable as possible on the pavement by propping his bags behind him. When the ambulance arrived I showed them where he was bleeding, removed my bloody pants from his head and stepped back into the crowd.

They took over and there was nothing left for me to do. I was so shaky. Confronting a guy who just attacked his uncle with a knife is not something I do everyday. I normally don't do first responder stuff. I don't normally yell at and boss around complete strangers.

I walked into the terminal and paid 100 pesos to use the bathroom. There I washed the blood off my hands with the cold water at the sink and tried to make sense of what had just happened. I thought I was supposed to be giving coffee to a drunk guy, and now I'm washing blood off my hands!

The drunk guy! I'd totally forgotten about him! I quickly walked out and over to the kiosk that sells coffee. Walking out of the terminal, all that remained of the scene was a pool of blood. Willing my hand not to shake and spill the hot coffee, I strode over to where the man had been.

He was not there. There was no sign of him anywhere. But...he was out cold! Was he real? Or had God put an angel there to get me off the bus at the right moment? That I'll never know.

What I do know is that God was at work in it. He gave me authority in that moment; whether to halt further violence or just to comfort the man I don't know. It was in a strange way a holy moment; God was showing up and changing the plot.

I hadn't written about this before, mainly I didn't want to scare my mom : ). She has enough to worry about with my rowing stories!

Your Most Devoted,

Tuesday, September 01, 2009


To My Most Amiable Readers...

We are a bit stunned and wish to act wisely. The Lord is moving in a way that I can only associate with feels like He is increasing the acceleration of His kingdom here in Chile.

We make plans, and He changes them. He is making conversations spring out of nowhere about Him in unexpected places with unexpected people.

This morning Gigi and I met up to go visit a woman she met through the animal protection group. The meeting was very opposed; Edison threw up right before I left, I could not find the store she asked to meet at, but we pressed on and ended up sitting down to talk with Sandra. We shared our stories, how God has changed us and filled us with love and joy. We asked if we could pray for her, as she was "not ready yet" to talk to God herself. As we said "amen" she suddenly interrupted us with a startled look on her face. "When you were praying I saw the most beautiful light appear, and I almost fainted. My arms became heavy and I am trembling!".

We explained that the Enemy is not pleased and is opposing her interest in God, but that the Father is near and is more powerful. She then, with Gigi's help, prayed to accept the Lord in her heart!!!

Please lift up Sandra in your prayers this week. Specifically that her husband could find work, that her faith would grow, and that God would protect their family.

Dustin went in to rent a movie and ended up in a 15-minute conversation about God, religion, and our mission here, that ended with an open invitation for them to study the Word with us.

Please pray for the movie store owners, that they would grow in spiritual hunger and that God would speak to them.

I was on my way to rowing when I passed my friend's small convenience store. I glanced through the windows and not seeing her, I kept on. I was halfway down the block when I heard her yelling my name, arms in the air. She told me that rowing was postponed to the afternoon that day and we ended up spending an hour talking about the Lord; how to live His love, how to forgive others, what to do with psychic abilities after accepting Christ, how to really live for what is important to God. Joana is wrestling with cultural Catholicism and who she might be apart from that. You can tell she wants to run to Jesus, but she feels bound by "the real world".

Please pray for Joana, that God would free her and woo her to Himself. Pray also for her husband Roni, for salvation!

Last but not least, please pray for the health of the Christian workers in Puerto Montt. So many of us have been waylaid by viruses, infections, and nasty colds. Thank you!!!

Your Most Devoted,