Saturday, December 23, 2000

God at the Gazebo

Becoming a Real Soldier

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 2 Corinthians 10:3-4

Many in our team had an opportunity to encounter other groups and individuals in the campground. On the second evening, two of the young men with us were approached by an inebriated group of revelers. They offered them some drinks and continued with slurred conversation. Jon Mark and Tim politely turned down the drink offer but did talk with them. Out of the group, one young man sobered up enough to express real interest in the reason these two had traveled so far to Russia to be with a bunch of miscreant kids. Jon Mark wisely suggested they meet the next day, when alcohol wasn’t an influence and he would answer any questions the youth had.

Jon Mark was excited telling us about the guy. “He really seemed to have a hunger in his eyes”. We joked and said “vodka does that sometimes”. Undeterred by our sense of humor and strengthened by our commitment to pray for the situation, they met under the gazebo in the midst of the tall pines.

For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them." Matthew 18:20

This went on for several days. Each day when the children’s program was through, and before dinner, the inquisition took place. Jon Mark learned that the boy he was talking with was much older than he appeared, and had already completed his conscripted tour of military duty. The former soldier explained that all of his life he had such uncontrolled anger in his heart. “Too many questions that have no answers. I thought that the army would at least give me a chance to get rid of some of the anger. But it hasn’t. It is still there”.

But I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Romans 7:23-24

Jon Mark explained the good news and took this young man down the Roman road of salvation. By the fifth day, the soldier had enlisted in the Lord’s army. What a joyous day for all. The day we left for the train, the new believer was so excited about the choice he made he took off his military issued dog tags and presented them to Jon Mark. He said “I don’t have use for these anymore, for now I am in the Lord’s army”.

They will make war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will overcome them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings-- and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers. Revelation 17:14