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  • Writer's pictureDavid and Marilynn Chadwick

My Ebenezer Box: The Man in the Tattered Jeans (Part 1 of 3)

by Marilynn Chadwick

A frayed white silk scarf in my Ebenezer Box is a rather odd-looking souvenir. Yet it reminds me of the time I got to see the Lord at work in a very dramatic way. During this mysterious encounter, God also broke the back of a troubling fear. When it was all over, the world seemed much smaller, and my confidence in God grew to new heights. 

It all started on the way to catch a flight at the St. Louis Lambert International Airport. We were heading home after visiting our son who attended a nearby university. I glanced up from my reading just in time to notice the man who stepped aboard our airport shuttle. He wore tattered jeans—the well-worn denims of a hard-working laborer. He looked to be in his sixties. 

The man sat down in the side seat facing our driver. I had a good view of his face as he launched into an animated discussion with our young driver. He had an easy laugh and an almost-twinkle in his eye. “How long ya been working for this company, young fella?” he asked. “Four years,” the driver replied, “but one day I’m gonna do something different with my life.” That comment triggered a steady flow of encouragement from the older guy—practically a pep-talk. 

My mind drifted as their conversation faded into the surrounding noise and I became deep in thought about our upcoming mission trip. David and I would soon be flying to a remote area of the Himalayan mountains–to a nearly forgotten corner of the world. Few had ever heard of Jesus in this faraway land. Our church had raised funds to help build a school—the first ever in the tiny village. Education was known to increase the standard of living. What’s more, the school would provide a strong defense against the hideous assault upon families in this region—the sex-trafficking of children. Outsiders would frequently come into these remote villages promising free education for the children of the illiterate, unsuspecting parents. They commit to employ the children and send wages back to families who are barely scraping by. Their children disappear—never to be seen again. 

Our missions partner formed this organization to fight trafficking and the missionaries were incredibly courageous in their calling. Sharing the Gospel was illegal in this country, but they quietly found ways to tell people about the love of Jesus. 

It’s important to note that this type of trip was not unusual for me. David’s and my travels to visit global missions partners had taken us to war zones, genocide sites, and places where Christians are fiercely persecuted. After visiting over forty countries on six continents including places like South Sudan, Ethiopia, Rwanda, India, parts of the Middle East, you could say we had been to some of the most dangerous places on earth.

But for some reason, I was uneasy about this trip. I didn’t mind that we’d be in a remote area. I wasn’t worried about the primitive sleeping quarters, the extreme cold, or even the outdoor pit toilets. There was, however, one thing that really scared me. I absolutely hate heights! The Himalayas—with eight out of the world’s ten highest peaks including Mt. Everest—would have plenty of heights and I felt a little sick just thinking about it…

(To be continued tomorrow)

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