As we sat on the bed staring at this sign on my daughter’s bedroom wall, peace did come during the most frightening experience of our life.
Our family of five had come to Guyana, South America, about nine months earlier to work with a church-planting team among Hindus and Muslims. (Guyana is located on the north coast of South America.) People began accepting Christ as their Savior and four to six churches had been started. The house where we were living was in an isolated area with no close neighbors and no phone. We were still adjusting to life in Guyana when four bandits gained entry into our home through our son’s downstairs bedroom. Only our thirteen-year-old son, Jon, was there; our older son was away for a visit in the states. You can imagine how frightened we were when we heard our watchman cry out, “Thief, Thief!” at 1 a.m. The men rushed up the stairs with our son and our watchman walking in front of them. They had various weapons and were masked. We were hustled into two bedrooms.
As Bekah, our fifteen-year-old, and I sat on her bed, I began to pray. My eyes drifted over to the “Peace” poster on her wall, and I pointed it out to her. Verses from Psalm 91 came to my mind, such as, “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.” I even spoke to the man in the room who was dumping out drawers and who kept asking, “Where’s the money? Where’s the money?” as he showed me the gun. When he saw my wedding band, he snatched it off of my hand. Although I was shaking from fear, I began to sing softly to Bekah a chorus by Steve Green we had learned years ago: “When I am afraid, I will trust in You” (Psalm 56:3). Though we were both frightened and didn’t know what was going to happen next, God gave us a wonderful peace.
It seemed like hours before we heard a car drive up. The men gathered up all the “goods” they could carry and then left. When we were sure they were gone, we got dressed and hurried to get help. The men were never found. Although they took items of value like a VCR, jewelry, money and other things, they didn’t take what was of highest value to us: our lives, our salvation, our family or our purpose for being there—to share Christ’s love and make disciples.
God has given us many opportunities to share this story, and some have even come to trust in Christ because of it. We spent over fifteen more years teaching and discipling the people of Guyana. While it is a night we will never forget, we certainly experienced God’s peace in ways we never expected (Psalm 56:3,4).
By Terri Potter