Sons of Thunder

This was a portion of my reading the other morning:

51 Now it came to pass, when the time had come for Him to be received up, that He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem, 52 and sent messengers before His face. And as they went, they entered a village of the Samaritans, to prepare for Him. 53 But they did not receive Him, because His face was set for the journey to Jerusalem. 54 And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?”

55 But He turned and rebuked them, and said, “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. 56 For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.” And they went to another village. Luke 9:51-56 NKJV

For that incident, Jesus named James and John “the sons of thunder,” (see Mark 3:17).

James and John were so ticked off at what they witnessed in Samaria. The Samaritans hated the Jews and they openly showed their racist, bigoted distain for Jesus and His followers. They were sectarian in their beliefs when it came to sharing the world with Jews, thinking themselves to be above and beyond anything a Jew could achieve. As a result of their obvious bad behavior, James and John wanted to have them incinerated. Thankfully Jesus was there to remind them that He hadn’t come to “destroy men’s lives but to save them.” Indicating, I think, that Jesus wanted the situation handled with love and grace, not a life-ending fire.

James and John were all too human.

Have you ever wanted to “incinerate” someone because of what they believe? Perhaps it was someone’s racist attitude (like the above description) or maybe it was just a political disagreement. Maybe it wasn’t even a disagreement. Maybe it was an insensitive remark. Or perhaps a friend or family member did something so stupid you couldn’t help but tell them to their face how stupid you thought they behaved. An incineration doesn’t have to be literal fire called down from heaven—we can also incinerate with our words. And our words have the power to destroy men’s lives.

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit. Proverbs 18:21 NKJV

When we incinerate with our words, the situation can get a whole lot worse. The apostle Paul warns us that, “15 But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another!Galatians 5:15 NKJV

Unfortunately, I struggle with this—not as much as I used to, but I still find myself pulling out the incinerator when something really ticks me off. I pulled it out this morning over a situation in my business and really “lost it” on my partner—who just happens to be my husband.

As Christians we answer to a much higher standard. And we are called to be “Christ-like,” not vengeful and mean-spirited, even in situations where we know that we are absolutely on the right side—like James and John. They were following God’s Christ and the Samaritans rejected Him. They knew they were on the right side and there was no way around it. Even so, Jesus required them to be graceful and move along.

Our words can easily destroy people. Speaking from experience (and I’m sure if you think about it you can recall some bad experiences in your own life), it’s awfully hard to forget thoughtless, unkind and cruel things that have been said about us, our work, our loved ones, etc. I’ve been destroyed a couple of times, and, unfortunately, I know I’ve handed down some destruction of my own. I wish I could take back every harsh word I’ve ever uttered.

Lord Jesus, I pray,

13 Keep back Your servant also from presumptuous sins;
Let them not have dominion over me.
Then I shall be blameless,
And I shall be innocent of great transgression.

14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
Be acceptable in Your sight,
O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.
Psalm 19:13-14 NKJV

Let our words be used for wisdom, sweetness and grace, lest we lose our audience—the audience Christ sought to save.

© 2017, Ta`Mara Hanscom

 

 

 

 

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The Warrior

Bridal Veil Falls – Spearfish Canyon Black Hills, SD

Those falls weren’t always there. It all started when an Indian warrior became engaged to a girl who had a white mother and a Sioux Indian chief for her father. One day the warrior had to leave to fight a great battle. When he returned to his tribe his betrothed had taken ill and was dying from a fever. Her parents took the only thing of value they had, which was the bridal veil worn by the chief’s wife on their wedding day. They gave it to the warrior and sent him to buy medicine with it. Doing as he was told, the warrior took the veil to the nearest settlement, bought medicine, and returned as quickly as he could to his dying bride. She took the medicine and soon was well again.

“Now the bride had nothing to wear on her head because it had been sold for medicine, but they went ahead with the wedding anyway, right here, on this very spot. And when the warrior kissed his bride, God broke open the rocks above and let a veil run through for her. The old chief said it was God’s affirmation of the warrior’s noble and pure heart and that the waters would flow here forever.”

—excerpt, The Pretender: A Blackguard in Disguise

The above story is told by the character of Noah Hansen to his new love, Tillie Caselli (Angel), at the base of Bridal Veil Falls in Spearfish Canyon, South Dakota. It’s a non-existent story I made up and inserted into the series about sixteen years ago, before it was published.

I am currently working on the edits and revisions of Books 3-5 as we prepare the second printing of The Caselli Family Series.  I had forgotten that the above story, which is first told in Book I, The Pretender, will be repeated in Book IV, The Gift.

During prayer, God prompted me to look into the waters of Meribah (Exodus 17:3-7). In the Exodus account, the Israelites are so thirsty that Moses thinks they are “almost ready to stone” him. God tells Moses “I will stand there before you at the rock of Horeb. Strike the rock, and water will come out of it for the people to drink.” So Moses did this.

Let me say here that when I wrote the above story about Bridal Veil Falls, I was NOT a scholar of the Old Testament. Sure, I read my Psalms and Proverbs everyday, and maybe a page or two from one of the prophets. I didn’t start studying my Old Testament until about twelve years ago. I wrote the story about Bridal Veil Falls, stuck it in the drafts, and then forgot about it.

“…but the bride had nothing to wear on her head…”

We are often called “the Bride of Christ” in the Scriptures. In the Old Testament, we have the Law and the Prophets, but we didn’t have anything for our head. Those who lived by the Law, perished by the Law. There was no alternative; no washing away of our sin, no beautiful adornment. We had to go through the actions of the Law for the forgiveness of our sins, but those actions didn’t stick with us. We lived in a repetitive cycle of: sin, sacrifice, sin, sacrifice, sin, sacrifice…get my point? We were sick and dying of thirst, and we had nothing beautiful to show for it.

God, in His infinite wisdom and glory provided us with the beautiful adornment that heals us and finishes the wedding of the “Bride of Christ.”

In 1st Corinthians 10:4, Paul explains that “[the Israelites] drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ.” Jesus said of Himself, “…whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” John 4:13-14. [emphasis mine]

So, back to Bridal Veil Falls…the warrior has returned from a great battle to find his bride sick and dying. Her father gives him something of value to sell for medicine.

We are sick and dying in our transgressions, beloved, but our Father has provided something of value that will make us well again! He sent His own Warrior in our place so that “whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

”Let us rejoice and be glad and give him gory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.” Revelation 19:7-8(a) God provided for the holy adornment we need in his sanctifying Presence through the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ.

“I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice He judges and makes war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on His head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but He Himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and His name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following Him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean.” Revelation 19:11-14

The context here indicates that the rider is Christ returning as Warrior-Messiah-King, (niv commentary, © 1984) and He is the One Who provides His holy army with the “fine linen, white and clean.”

I noticed in my original drafts of the Bridal Veil Falls’ story I had capitalized Warrior throughout. Beloved, I submit to you, that this story came from God. He used my hands and my head to complete His work so that He could show me His awesome perfection in all that He does. And I share that with you—not to boast in myself, but to boast “in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” Galatians 6:14

“And when the Warrior kissed His Bride, God broke open the rocks above and let a veil run through for her. The old Chief said that it was God’s affirmation of the Warrior’s noble and pure heart and that the waters would flow here forever.”

“Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb.” Revelation 22:1

Beloved, it is written on our hearts! When we accept Jesus as our Savior and Lord of our lives, He kisses us with His glory, adorning us with fine linen, making us presentable before the Father. Only Jesus’ heart was noble and pure enough to establish our eternity.

Jesus said, “They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. And He will send His angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather His elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.” Matthew 24:30-31

He’s coming for us. Praise His holy Name! He chose not to leave us here to die in our sickness, but, instead, to save our lives so that we might live with Him forever. We must take the medicine Christ offers, which is the forgiveness of our sin. God will then break open the rock and His blood will cover us in fine linen, white and clean.

The Pretender’s editors followed the “letter of the law” of grammar, so to speak, and Warrior is not capitalized in the final version of the story. I suppose we thought it looked out of place at the time. Whatever the case, it looks out of place to me this morning to not capitalize Warrior. And whatever the rules for grammar, I am thinking about changing it back in Book IV.

Take your medicine! Our pure and noble Warrior awaits your decision. “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock! If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” Revelation 3:20 He loves you and He wants you with him always. Open the door and take your medicine.

© 2017, Ta`Mara Hanscom

 

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Snatch Others From the Fire

“It was a place of tremendous uncertainty,” Marquette was saying. He looked more glamorous than ever, dressed in a double-breasted, pin-striped navy suit with a silk scarf folded into his breast pocket. He wore no hat in the church, exposing his elegant ponytail.

“I remember wondering to myself many times,” Marquette continued in his soft accent, “why did God make me a citizen in a new country, only to have me leave it and fight for another? Andy and I have spoken of this many times. I thought God had fallen asleep and forgot about those of us who believed in Him. We would be hiding in the jungle, and our new best friend would suddenly be dead before our very eyes. We went days without food and without sleep, and I wondered what had happened to the Lord.

“My purpose became clear, as I struggled each day between somehow trying to survive the battles, or simply ending my own life. I realized we were in this place of sin and destruction, but God was still with me in my heart. I called upon Him, and He convinced me to survive so I might serve whatever task He had chosen for me.

“Andy’s purpose became clear as he struggled in battle as well, but his purpose was far different from my own. Andy left his comfortable and safe home in America to fight an unseen enemy, an enemy he did not know, only to return and continue another great battle. The battle of good and evil. Now he will combat the tremendous uncertainties of how many shall follow and how many shall fight him for what he believes in, choosing either their death and destruction or complete freedom in Christ.”

Marquette smiled at Andy. “God blessed us in America, but he gave us our purpose on foreign soil.”

 —Excerpt from Marquette Caselli’s address at Reverend Andy Engleson’s ordination, from The Pretender: A Blackguard in Disguise,
Book I of The Caselli Family Series

Marquette Caselli came from Italy to America in 1956, where he signed on for the draft as part of his citizenship requirements. He became a citizen of the United States on June 1, 1962. In 1965 he was drafted into the Army and sent to Vietnam. In the above excerpt, Marquette speaks about Vietnam and how it changed not only him and his beliefs, but the neighbor boy as well.

Andy Engleson could hardly wait to turn eighteen. His whole life he wanted to be a soldier. In 1968, shortly before his eighteenth birthday, he volunteered for the Army and went to Vietnam. As Marquette appropriately pointed out, “Andy left his comfortable and safe home in America…” and he did that voluntarily.

When Andy returned he signed on for another war, but this one would be far different than fighting in the jungles of Vietnam — and for any of you in the ministry, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Like Rev. Engleson, we fight an unseen enemy every day. Unfortunately, we know him only too well. Our enemy manipulates our friends, family, ministry partners and our very mission field itself. We live with the realization that everybody is going to fight us for what we believe, “choosing either their death and destruction, or complete freedom in Christ.”

Jesus warned the disciples, “All men will hate you because of Me…” Matthew 10:22. Not just some of them – all of them. That steadfast belief in Christ and His ways turns many people off — including fellow Christians. Sure, they all like salvation and sign up as soon as they realize that all they have to do is accept Jesus as their personal Savior and ask His forgiveness. And our holy, faithful God keeps His word, because He cannot lie, and he draws them into the fold of His heavenly kingdom.

But there’s so much more that God wants for us. He wants us to know Him deeply. He even calls us “friends.” John 15:14-15

Many have asked me the question, “How do I get to know God?” And I answer honestly, “There’s only one way, and that’s God’s way. We must read our Bibles if we want to know our Savior, Ruler and holy King.”

Trials and troubles will most certainly come to people, and if we’re not deeply connected to our Savior through His Word the enemy will be able to steal, kill and destroy. And the enemy is all about the destruction of holy, godly relationships. But with Christ and His Word, we are promised life, and that we will have it to the full. Mark 4:17; John 10:10

Beloved, are you having trouble in your relationships? I do every day, and there’s no doubt in my mind what the problem is. Christ warns me, “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.” Matthew 10:34-36

Sounds like war to me, and an ugly one at that.

I’ve chosen Christ and His ways, above all else. It matters not in the slightest what my friends, family, children or even my husband think…and let me tell you what, it’s the toughest gig of my life. Over the years I’ve watched the Lord bring a sword into relationship after relationship. I have less than a handful of friends who accept me for what I believe and who I am in Christ.

I love this portion of Psalm 19:

8 The precepts of the Lord are right,
giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the Lord are radiant,
giving light to the eyes.
9 The fear of the Lord is pure,
enduring forever.
The decrees of the Lord are firm,
and all of them are righteous.
10 They are more precious than gold,
than much pure gold;
they are sweeter than honey,
than honey from the honeycomb.
11 By them your servant is warned;
in keeping them there is great reward.

Those are promises I just can’t live without.

Jesus said, “If you love Me you will obey what I command.” John 14:15

Chapter 15 in the Book of John describes where we’re supposed to be in our relationship with Jesus, (I’m not making this up — check for yourselves) and that’s a daily walk with Him and His Word. If you can’t find time for Him, you only short change yourself — and the gate of your life swings open wide for the thief to come on in, kill, steal and destroy.


Jude, the brother of our Lord Jesus Christ, wrote a short but profound letter to the early church. In part he said, “But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit. Keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.

“Be merciful to those who doubt; snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.” Jude 20-23

I will continue in my ministry, but like Andy it is with tremendous uncertainty. It’s heart breaking to watch people choose death and destruction over complete freedom in Christ.

I wish that I was as brave as Andy Engleson, and that I would have volunteered for this battle. But the truth is that I’m more like Marquette Caselli. I attained membership as a citizen of Heaven, and then I was drafted into His service.

But I do love the service, and I’m proud to serve a holy Commander.

Though the cost to my personal life is tremendous at times, Beloved, I’ll snatch as many from the fires as I can. I’ll fulfill my calling from a holy God and rest in His promises. And if anybody else has any better ideas, show me the bounty of your fruit first.

© 2017, Ta`Mara Hanscom

www.TaMaraHanscomBooks.com

 

 

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1-Star Reviews…

To receive one is devastating. All of an author’s hard work — in my case, 21 years of this particular project, along with blood, sweat, tears, emotional turmoil, and substantial financial cost — is summed up with just one little star. It’s a blow, that’s for sure.

And in my beloved community of authors I’ve learned recently that some of my colleagues dole out 1-Stars, even with “brutal” editorials. And while I can admit that some of the stuff we’re asked to review (because we’re published authors) can be a little difficult to digest, none of it deserves a 1-Star Review—or brutality for that matter.

When an artist — whether painter, writer, musician, or any other type of an artist  — creates something from their heart and then chooses to share it with the rest of the world, it’s a gift. Do I think that some of those gifts shouldn’t be shared? I will not say. What I will admit is that there are some gifts I choose not to open (like Fifty Shades and Twilight), and there are other gifts I choose not give my opinion about. For instance, I opened a best seller just a few months ago that I closed after the first two pages. It was what I considered an unreadable mess. The thing made no sense and was poorly written. Obviously, I was in the minority about my opinion of the piece because, like I said, it was a best seller. I looked at other reviews and did see a few 1-Star Reviews, but I didn’t add to them. My opinion in that case didn’t need to be aired in a public forum. It would have only resulted in the lowering of the author’s average. What good is that?

This past April I acquired an Indie work from a small press. I was looking forward to reading the piece because the setting was the United Kingdom. I could hardly read the thing. And while it was extremely well-written, and the author was articulate in her descriptions of UK culture, landmarks and the environment, her plot just didn’t do anything for me. I did finish the book, but I didn’t enjoy it. I gave her 4-Stars. She’d obviously worked her tail off to produce the piece, and that to me deserved merit.

In the case of reviewing a colleague’s work, I’m extremely careful about what I accept. I tend to read only in my preferred genres, but sometimes a few strays will wind up on my desk. When I’m sitting there with something that’s absolutely unreadable, and it hasn’t been published yet, I contact the author privately. There’s no need to be brutal. Loving kindness goes a long way when you’re criticizing someone’s gift.

My husband shared with me one of the most poignant stories I’ve ever heard, and it taught me a valuable lesson that I’ll never forget.

When he was a young man he built radio controlled airplanes, and not just any sort of airplanes. His airplanes were perfect replicas of specific models. One of his friends at the time decided to get into the hobby as well and produced a model of his own. He proudly brought it to my husband for inspection, delighted to share his gift with someone who’d been in the hobby for a while.

The model was perfect in every way, except for one minor flaw—which my husband readily pointed out. Unfortunately, he critiqued his friend’s gift without the loving kindness required within such a tender situation. My husband says that his friend was devastated and never built another model again.

Beloved, when we are harsh with one another’s gifts we do unseen damage, and often irreparable harm.

When the writer of the book of Hebrews exhorted his followers to continue to meet on a regular basis, he said: 24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. Hebrews 10:24-25 NIV

And while that Scripture is aimed directly at the church, it’s good advice for us all.

We should be living to encourage one another, not to insult, berate and demoralize. Things can get tough on this planet, and we need to be there for each other. Instead of thinking about how we can make someone else’s gift more palatable for our own personal consumption, perhaps we should ponder a way for that gift to be given the wings it needs to reach that person (or people) that will love and treasure it—perhaps someone who needs exactly that gift and is waiting to give it the 5-Stars it deserves!

© 2017, Ta`Mara Hanscom

Posted in Book Reviews, Christian, Christian Bloggers, Christian Fiction, Christian Fiction | 1 Comment

Fridays!

I love Fridays!

We (my husband Jim and I) have pretty busy weeks, so when Friday hits it’s almost like a celebration. We always plan to grill steaks and eat outside on our deck, and during the baseball season we always tune in our favorite teams: Minnesota Twins and the Detroit Tigers.

This Friday has already been a blessing. My regular walking partner can’t walk on Fridays and so I asked Jim if he wanted to walk with me. I have to walk every day, with or without a partner, but Jim was happy to join me today.

We live within the city limits, but we’re on a gravel road in the midst of a farming and ranching community. Usually I drive into town and walk on the bike path, but today Jim and I walked our gravel road and enjoyed the comfort of the country.

We live very near to the Floyd River. I’ve always loved how it winds its way around the properties in our area. And this morning, with the heavy clouds and the chill in the air, it reminds me of the bucolic countryside of Tuscany. Early mornings are similar in Chianti, peaceful and inviting, and I could almost imagine vineyards instead of Iowa bean fields before me.

A long walk is the perfect time to pray, to sort things out with our Creator. It’s also a great time to spend with Jim. We share a lot of common interests, so we had a lot to talk about. He will have a very busy day at work, and I will have a pretty busy day myself. A long walk is a fantastic way to make order of a hectic schedule.

As we walked along today I snapped a couple of photos with my phone. What I really need to do is get my good camera and hike out there for some serious shots, especially now that the seasons are changing. Soon these sunflowers will fade, but our trees will be particularly beautiful. And when they are bare and fill with snow, it’s one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen in nature.

 

As we came up our driveway this morning our neighbor’s horses lined up for their typical greeting. They will go somewhere else for winter, but for now they are sweet friends.

As we’ve gotten older we’ve considered moving into a regular neighborhood with finished streets and sidewalks, but after this morning I think I’m going to stay put for a while. Certainly, as we get older, it’s harder to maintain a country property. There’s a lot of mowing, and a lot of up-keep to the house itself. But the beauty and peace just can’t be beat.

Thank You, Jesus, for putting us in this place!

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Kindle Available

Set in South Dakota in 1975, where eighteen-year-olds could order 3.2 beer in a bar, and loaded guns were kept under the counter. Frankie Valli sang My Eyes Adored You, and American soldiers returning from Vietnam struggled with their new reality.

It’s within this tumultuous season of American history that Tillie Caselli meets Noah Hansen, and they are never the same again. Their lives were mysteriously intertwined – and had been for many years – yet they had no idea.

From the moment they met, Tillie and Noah wanted to spend the rest of their lives together, but a deliberate omission will keep them apart – and that same omission will be responsible for the escape of a murderer, and a bride’s deception.

These compelling stories are woven with Biblical truths and comical, real life events from the author’s own past. Easy to understand and relate to, yet fun and encouraging.

 

Posted in Christian, Christian Bloggers, Christian Fiction, Christian Fiction, Christianity, Family Secrets, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Julian

For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. Psalm 91:11

As we begin the second printing of The Caselli Family Series, I’m so mindful of the first time we took this journey. It was a difficult one, heavily laden with serious relationship adversities on our publishing team, as well as within our home church. One woman, whom I was very close to at the time, flat out told me that “the characters were stupid,” that they did the “dumbest things” she’d ever read, and that the only place we could possibly market the thing was in the deep south. I was crushed. Her opinion mattered so much to me at the time. But, I made a note to add the deep south to my marketing plan.

Many times this past few months I’ve had to stop and ask myself, “Why on earth are we doing this again?

When my husband Jim and I left Sioux City in early June of 2010 to begin our first “book tour” I was full of hope and excitement. I couldn’t wait to start telling ladies about blackguards and knights, and about the hope we have in our beloved Savior. We had plotted a course that would take us through many Christian concert venues. We enthusiastically anticipated meeting men and women searching for God—because why else would you go to a Christian concert? We really  thought we were looking in the right place.

I imagined immaculate teenagers, dressed in clean jeans and t-shirts, carrying their Bibles—maybe humming a Christian tune along the way. I imagined young adults (dressed like the above described teenagers) witnessing around every corner, perhaps gathering in clusters to pray. I imagined older adults guiding and leading the young adults and teenagers—everyone working together for a common goal, that goal being to share the Good News of Jesus, His forgiveness and His Salvation.

As it turned out, the Christian concert venue wasn’t at all what I’d imagined. The immaculate teenagers were nowhere to be found. When the local church youth groups showed up, my heart ached.

The boys were dressed like punks, making sure their “colors” were proudly displayed. Their pants hung off their backsides, exposing their holey (not holy) underwear. And they definitely weren’t humming anything Christian. They cursed like nothing I’ve ever heard—and I’ve heard (and done) some serious cursing.

The girls were so scantily clad that I was embarrassed for them. They hung off the young boys like harlots begging for attention. And the boys didn’t seem to notice that they even existed.

The young adults were dressed marginally better, except for their t-shirts. They seemed to want everyone to know how bloody Jesus’ death had been. Depictions of His beatings and crucifixion were emblazoned on their chests and backs—without explanation. I cannot imagine how confusing that must have been for the unbelievers.

No one carried a Bible.

Did we try to reach these kids and young adults? Yes. I’ve never worked harder in my life. And I know that we did connect with some of them, but by the time we reached the very southwestern corner of Colorado, in mid-July of that year, I was beginning to wonder if we’d gone off our rockers when we made the decision to take the Good News on the road.

The Colorado venue was bigger than others we had previously visited. They were expecting upwards of 20,000 people. However, we were still surprised at the full size police force that was required to protect the vendors and concert goers. It was a little intimidating, but we set up our booth at 7:30 a.m. that first morning of the event, and began the work that the Spirit had so convicted us to do.

We were required to stay in our booth until 11:00 p.m., but by 7:00 p.m. we were ready to break our contract. No one had stopped by our booth, even when I stood out front with fliers. People swung wide when they passed by us, avoiding eye contact and hurrying along on their way. It was over 100 degrees in the shade, the wind whipped the dust into our booth, and the flies were unbearable. The crowd was filthy and hostile. They hadn’t come to praise Jesus and that was obvious. They were either looking for a “hook-up” or they’d come to rob vendors. The police force had been on top of us all day. I clipped my mace gun to my belt and wished I was home—but home was exactly 1000 miles away.

And it was in that moment that a large, dark-haired man, dressed in regular jeans and a clean t-shirt, strode up to our booth. He put his hand on my shoulder and then he reached for Jim. I did think about my mace gun, but when the man started to speak I forgot about it.

“I have been sent to pray for you,” he said in a beautiful Russian accent. “I know that you are discouraged but our Father wants you to know how proud He is of you and what you’re doing here.”

I started to cry and I whispered, “But we’re not doing anything here.”

“Oh yes you are,” the man replied. “You are being obedient and seeking out the work He laid upon your heart. Do you think that our Father does not see you?”

And then he started to pray for us. He prayed for our encouragement and health; for our strength; for our tenacity; for our continued growth and maturity; that we’d stick with it just a while longer; and he prayed for our comfort.

And all the while he prayed over us, we wept. I have never felt comfort like that in my life.

When he’d finished praying he introduced himself as “Julian.” He explained that he was a missionary, that there had been a problem with his wife’s Visa, and that he would be joining her in another country very soon. In the mean time, he had been led to witness at the Colorado event. I noticed that he was carrying his Bible.

Shortly after Julian left us people started to flock to our booth. We were able to talk to many young people, including a band member!

It wasn’t our job to preach the Good News on that particular day. No, the Good News was meant for us—Jim and me. And when we’d reached the point of packing it in and heading for home, God sent a beautiful messenger to encourage and strengthen us.

No matter how unreasonable the road before us appears to be, when God is leading He will give us the strength needed to continue. I encourage you, my brothers and sisters, stick with the work the Spirit has laid upon your heart. God will encourage and comfort and it will be the sweetest of rewards.

Despite how difficult the first journey was, we’ve committed to doing it again. Perhaps we’re just a couple of crazy old fools…but I don’t think so. Turned out that the deep south loved the books. And no one since that time has ever said that the characters were “stupid.”

I think there may still be someone out there who needs this ministry. And God, in His supreme Providence, is sending us out to find them!

© 2017, Ta`Mara Hanscom

www.TaMaraHanscomBooks.com

 

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