Francis has worked for us for about seven years and is a faithful and hard worker. He showed up Friday morning shaking all over with fear in his eyes. During the night, around four in the morning, two men used a big rock to break down his wooden front door. He got his wife and children behind an interior door, barricaded it with a bed and began screaming for help. A neighbor came and got hit in the head with a rock for his trouble and ended up in the hospital. More neighbors started coming, so the two guys grabbed a small radio and ran. Francis was so scared that they were going to hurt his wife and children, he could hardly speak. John asked Shaban what it would cost to put a steel security door on Francis’s house and then pulled the money out of his pocket and said, “Do it.” Last night, Francis was able to sleep without fear because of the new steel security door barring entrance to bad guys. I was sorry for Francis and proud of John for stepping up and taking care of him.
Violent crime is almost unheard of here (the police don’t have guns) but stealing in one of the poorest countries in the world is very common. One of the robbers has already been caught. They had been drinking and needed more money to buy more alcohol. Had they just taken the radio, they wouldn’t have been in too much trouble, but because they attacked the neighbor with a rock and put him in the hospital, they are both facing about thirty years in prison. The one that got away is probably in another country by now, if he is smart. I’ve never seen anyone as scared as Francis was. In spite of all of my close brushes with death, I have not been scared. I know that death is not something to be feared when the welcoming arms of a loving God are waiting for me. Of course, Francis was also thinking about not being able to protect his wife and their young children, and maybe, in his shoes, I’d have been scared, too, even knowing that God has promised eternal peace. I had a good friend who had pancreatic cancer and I asked him if he feared death. His answer, “No, as a Christian, how could I fear death? The process does scare me, however.” I can understand that. Ultimate peace is one thing and immediate suffering quite another, but that’s going to get more thorough treatment in tomorrow’s blog. Watch this space.