Newsletters - Apr 2004
Alongside Ministries en Nicaragua
Evangelism Through Relationships
Halle and Kathy August, Missionaries
The answer is ‘shrapnel’. What’s the question?
Last Saturday morning Halle and Kathy headed out together – the first time in a long time – for a cup of coffee, errands and grocery shopping. It started out as a relaxing and enjoyable morning. After coffee (thankfully!) they were headed up the street to find a money changer. Driving on the inside lane Halle was slowing down, nearly to a stop, to make a left turn. As he looked in his rear view mirror he knew trouble was coming. The car directly behind us had come to a stop about 2 meters away but the car behind it didn’t notice that we had stopped and, at a pretty good rate of speed, rear ended the car behind us which pushed it into our truck. The woman driving the middle car hit her forehead on the steering wheel splitting it open so there was plenty of blood but not a serious injury. The ambulance showed up and took the woman to the hospital. The police showed up and took information. After the dust settled we ended up at the police station giving our testimony of the accident. There were two false witnesses that said we had pulled out of a side street, causing the accident. We never heard the testimony of the 3rd driver who was in the police office for only a short time. In the middle of our meeting with the investigating police officer he suddenly said there had been another accident involving a fatality and he had to leave and we would need to wait. The police officer got into the car with the 3rd driver and left. We were told the police office didn’t have any other transportation to get to the accident and this man was just doing him a favor. About 20 minutes later they returned, the police officer got out of the car and the 3rd driver left, never to be seen again. A short time later we were told that we were at fault for the accident since it was our slowing/stopping that caused the accident. There was a short time when we thought Halle might be spending the night in a jail cell. Then we were told our pick-up truck would be impounded. At about 3:30 in the afternoon we finally left the station with Halle driving the pick-up! Unfortunately the incident has not been completely resolved. We are waiting for a final judgment and while it is looking more and more like we won’t be held liable we have learned that we can’t count on anything down here until it is done.
We enjoyed the next couple of days with our good friend, Steve Fish, who had been visiting for a couple of weeks. He was scheduled to leave on Tuesday morning so we wanted our last time with him to be fun, especially since our plans for Saturday had been so rudely interrupted.
Tuesday morning arrived . . . more shrapnel.
Halle got up as usual to unlock the storage shed and greet our workers as they started their day around 7:00 am. The first thing that caught Halle’s attention was the open shed door. Then our neighbor yelled good morning from the gate in the fence but the gate, usually locked with a padlock, was wide open. Upon further investigation Halle discovered that all three locked gates had been broken open and our storage shed had been broken into. Most of the power tools and welding equipment which could be carried, were stolen – a value of about $1000, along with a bike. It looked like there was a failed attempt to steal the spare tire off the Isuzu and the plastic chairs from our front porch, right outside the living room window, were stolen. Near the gate our neighbor pointed out a bag of poisoned meat meant for any dog that might start barking. That meat poisoned and killed 2 of our neighbors’ dogs before it could be removed. The police, who were called right away, finally showed up around 9:30. They did a quick investigation but haven’t been terribly proactive in asking questions around the neighborhood. Thankfully, because of the friendship and trust that we have developed with our workers and neighbors we have found witnesses (who are afraid to testify to the police but will talk to us) and others who have given us second hand information that has led us to be fairly certain of at least one person who is involved. We continue to call and talk with the police to get them to continue this investigation so that, whoever it is, will know we will not just react with fear and work to protect ourselves against the next incident but will respond actively to discover who is involved and to try to see some justice carried out. It is very foreign to our Nica neighbors to become involved in trying to stop something like this from happening again. They are fearful, and rightfully so, of the threats to them and their family should they testify about something they saw or of what they know. This whole incident has brought a measure of fear into our lives as well. We haven’t been sleeping well as we try to distinguish sinister noises from the noise of the wind, rustling leaves, falling mangos and Amanda’s new dog dragging his chain or playing with a plastic bottle. It is not a fun or relaxing way to live.
The answer is shrapnel. So what’s the question? Why do bad things happen to good people? It’s a question I’m sure we’ve all asked at some time or another. Recently our pastor, preaching from the book of Jeremiah, shared his opinion. It’s the shrapnel from incoming fire. We live in enemy territory. This earth is governed by the prince of darkness. There is a battle going on and we’ve been trying to make our home on the front lines. Why are we surprised when some of the effects of the battle interrupt our lives? The real question we should be asking is how will we choose to live knowing what we know about this battle zone we call home?
In the book of Joshua we find a good response. Moses had died but rather than retreating, God told Joshua to get up and go into the land that had been promised. It was enemy territory but God said, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
We know and trust that God is telling us the same thing. He has not abandoned us but has led us to live here and is working in and through us in all things. In Him we can be strong and courageous. In Him we can rest and not be terrified. In Him we can find the energy and perseverance to continue without discouragement. God is with us and God is with you! We will always watch for incoming fire and try very hard to duck from the shrapnel but until that day when we can finally say we are really home we will continue to live in faith and trust in God.
Prayer Needs Financial Needs
Kathy’s preschool project Sports Center
Physical safety Replacement cost of tools
Mental, emotional, spiritual strength
Thank you for continuing to partner with us. While we often feel the great distance that separates us physically we know we are supported through your thoughts and prayers and are so very thankful!
Halle and Kathy August
Alongside Ministries en Nicaragua
Thank you for supporting our ministry in Nicaragua.
Your gifts, sent to Eastside Development (formally The NEO Foundation),
will be used for our general ministry activities or wherever you designate.
PO Box 301471
Portland, OR 97294