Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Play Date, Sheep and Angels

An excerpt from
Play Date, Sheep and Angels
By Jeff and Christine Stanfield, Missionaries, Uganda
January-March 2015

Play Date, Sheep, and Angels
Once upon a time, long (well, not solong) ago, in the land of Kenya, lived a daddy, a mommy, a preschooler, and a baby. They lived by the river, but the preschooler’s friends lived near the top of the hill. One fine day, a friend called to the preschooler, “Come up to my house and play!” A play time was arranged.

The mother gathered up the baby in her arms, took the preschooler by the hand, and the three went up the hill. They walked on a sidewalk along the edge of a sharp drop-off that went down toward the river. Cows and sheep were grazing on the grassy roadside. The mother and preschooler chatted about the animals and fun-to-be-had with friends.

A few steps beyond a grazing ram, they approached a ewe with a small lamb hugging close to her side. After a couple more steps, the mother had a fleeting thought, “I wonder if the ram belongs to these two, and if he does, will he mind our walking by?”

Out of curiosity, she turned to look over her shoulder at the ram. She was shocked to see the ram nearly upon her, head down and running full steam toward her. She grabbed the preschooler and swung her behind herself, hugged the baby tight, and tried to dodge the ram. His hard forehead hit her square on her shin. Her leg nearly buckled beneath her, but she grabbed up the preschooler and tried to hurry off.

The ram was not to be dissuaded. He backed up, put his head down, and charged again. Again the mother, now holding a scared preschooler and the baby, tried to dodge the ram. He was quicker on his four feet than she on her two, and he hit her again.
The mother tried to limp off, but the ram hit her again. She narrowly avoided being pushed backwards over the steep drop-off. Her prayers were now audible, no longer just in her head. The ram did not let up. He took a few steps back and charged again.

This time the mother’s leg could not withstand the blow, and down she went, flat on her back. The two young ones in her arms were now screaming with terror. The mom’s prayers were escalating in volume as well. The ram backed up and waited a moment. The mother was unsure what to do. It was difficult to try to get up while holding two frightened children. She started to roll to her side.

The ram charged again. All the mother could see was the ram’s head moving in the direction of her baby’s head. The mother quickly rolled all of them to the other side, and the ram narrowly missed them.

The mother began screaming for help as loudly as she could in as many languages as she could remember. The ram charged again, and once again the mother rolled away from his head. He quickly put his head down hard on her shin again, temporarily pinning her in place. All three of them were screaming.

Then the mother heard a voice shouting, “Sheep! Sheep!” As she rolled onto one shoulder away from the ram, she saw a young man running toward her from the top of the hill. Then there were two, then three young people running down the hill to them. The ram charged once more before the men reached him. They had grabbed sticks on their way down and began beating the ram back, forcing him away from the mother and her children.

A missionary nurse ran down the hill, and she gently helped the mother let go of her children and handed them off to others. The nurse then helped the mother to her feet. She was shaken but able to stand. Her sobbing quickly diminished, and she was able to comfort her crying children. The nurse escorted them the short distance back to their home, where they sat holding onto each other in a tight grip. The preschooler and the mother kept asking each other, “Are you okay?” Both wanted to be assured all was well with all three of them. The nurse stayed and offered comfort and prayerful words of thanksgiving for protection. She called the daddy and asked him to come home and help his family, and he came quickly.

That evening in their family devotions, the preschooler recounted the story several times, always ending with an emphatic, “God’s angel ’tected us!” The family’s prayers to God were of thanksgiving for the ’tecting angels providing God’s protection from harm. They also expressed thanks for the many people around the world who pray for them, asking God to keep them safe and to help them always know what they should do.
That missionary family has never forgotten that scary day. They have never forgotten that God has ’tecting angels to watch over them. They still remember that many people around the world are praying for them.

Thank you for praying for us. We still wonder, were you praying for us in 1993? Did God ask you to pray for ’tecting angels to keep us safe from a charging ram? If so, now you know the rest of the story!

Make a difference on your knees.
PRAY: Do you pray regularly for the missionaries you partner with? Keep your missionary’s prayer card at your dinner table and pray for them before you enjoy your family meal. If you support several missionaries, rotate the cards and invite your children to take part in this missionary support as well.
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