By: Dr. Fred Van Gorkom, CVM Staff

About 30 turkeys huddled together in the barnyard.  Thanksgiving was approaching.  They were concerned.  Who would be taken this year?  One had a remarkably longer neck than all the others.  You don’t want to be the long-necked turkey just before Thanksgiving.

About 30 of us gathered in the small, well-lit conference room.  We were discussing how violence is increasingly a part of missionary life.  Actually, it always has been.  “Rejoice… for so persecuted they the prophets who were before you,” Jesus said.

Suddenly, a door behind me smashed open with a startling crash.  Before I could look, another door across the room also burst open.  Two masked gunmen charged into the room, pistols outstretched, jerking back and forth, threatening and fiercely shouting. Planned attack!

The gunman behind me yelled, “Get down on the floor!  Get down on the floor!”  The girl on my left immediately complied; the guy on my right appeared stunned, frozen.  Not a good way to be.

But it was confusing!  The other gunman roared, “Put your hands on the table where I can see them! Put your head down!” He shouted this over and over.  Who to comply with?

This is a point of heightened danger, when two are trying to take control of thirty.  I put my hands on the table.  “Put your head down!”  I put my head down, but looked sideways a bit, and slid off the chair to my knees in case the other terrorist wanted me on the ground.

But now he barked, “Pull out your wallets!”  I had to look. Long necked turkey.  “Put your head down!” he demanded fiercely.  I complied.  Mostly.  They took our wallets and fled.

Actually, this was one scenario of an all-day security training yesterday.  High adrenalin! As the two trainers (remarkably similar size and shape as the masked gunmen) debriefed after this scenario, they asked, “Raise your hand if you didn’t put down your head.”  Only a few honest people raised their hands.  One trainer pointed at me. “At least you Mr. Redhead need to raise your hand…”  They’d noticed me.  Long necked turkey.  Maybe I should dye my hair?

Some of the security training was just common sense, or lessons we already know from 33 years of international travel.  However, it was good to be reminded; and the scenarios are real enough to make you think about what you’d say or do in different types of emergencies.

The day went fast!  But I loved the wrap-up.  They shared 2 Timothy 1:7,

For God has not given us a spirit of fear,

but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

So we train, but we don’t fear.  We be as wise as we can, as prepared as we can; but in the end, our lives are only in His hands.  Who is willing to go to “dangerous” places to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with those who have never heard?  I am.  My “life is hid with Christ…” “What can man do to me?”  If I am killed, I go Home!  Lord, help us be wise, but not fear.

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