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14 August, 2014

Play date, Sheep and Angels

Thoughts today are running backward again, flipping pages in my brain to a story of years ago. Perhaps this is a sign the story is to be shared. Here it is….

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

The preschooler (Lizz) & the baby (Chris)
This mother gathered up the baby in her arms, took the preschooler by the hand and off the three went up the hill. They walked on a sidewalk along the edge of a sharp drop off down toward the river, beside a dirt, rural road. 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. A couple more steps and 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. 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 young 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 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 both frightened children. She started to roll to her side.

And then the ram charged again. All that 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 loud as she could in as many languages as she could remember. The ram charged again and once again the mother rolled them all away from his head. He quickly put his head down hard on her shin again, temporarily pinning her in place. All three people were screaming loudly.

Just then the mother heard another voice. All she could hear was the voice shouting, “Sheep! Sheep!” As she rolled onto one shoulder away from the ram she saw a young man at the top of the hill running toward her. Then there were two, then three young people running down the hill to them. The ram had time to charge 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 was among those who 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, “Are you OK?” 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. 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 that 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 scenario. They have never forgotten that God has ‘tecting angels serving to watch over them. They still remember that many people all around the world are praying for them.

Thank you for praying for us. And today we wonder, were you one of them 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!