Jesus parable of the "The Sower and the Seed" was always on our minds as we thought of our mission to get the gospel to this forgotten people group. We looked for favorable soil to plant the seed. We deposited the gospel in places we believed it would be discovered, and prayed against the Buddhist shrines. We then left the village and headed northeast.
"That's the third time he's passed us," my partner said. His tone was serious.
"What are you talking about?" I responded.
My partner was an Army colonel with an impressive resume. He survived Desert Storm, Somalia, and many other violent situations. He was always very aware of what was going on around him. He let me know that he had seen the same unmarked vehicle at a military headquarters back in the city. We were being followed!
We took a dirt road to our left that parted the brush, gradually rose up out of the valley, and trekked into some foothills. I was relieved; I figured we were "out of sight and out of mind." I began to look for places to leave the gospel. I saw a great place in a grove where they were growing tea -- a collection place for the pots they grew them in. I reached into my pack and got ready to make a drop.
My partner breathed a single word: "Stop!"
I turned toward his voice and saw a vehicle come bumping up, over, and around a corner on the ridge where we were walking. The four-wheel drive slowed down. The narrow path we were on caused me to turn sideways and suck in my stomach as he drew up beside me. I caught a glimpse of military fatigues on the driver, whose face was no more than 8-10 inches away from mine. The sight is still vivid in my memory. He had an unusually thin face -- bordered with jet black hair. I could see that he was giving me a hard glare even though he was wearing sunglasses. I raised my hand, waved, and said, "hello" in his lanquage. He didn't twitch. He seemed to be debating about whether or not to stop. He did not.
I believe the Holy Spirit sent him on his way.
Believe it or not -- we now had a fresh bounce in our steps and a tempered courage. God used that incident to remind us that this was His mission, He was in control, and that He was ordering our (and everybody elses -- even a communist's) steps!
We stopped for a moment and talked about how quickly we went from a National Geographic moment to a potentially threatening situation. We once again prayed for the Spirit of God to bring all our thoughts into captivity to Christ, not swayed by our environment.
In the next village there were always eyes watching...