Greetings to you all. We hope you find some interesting bit of news of our family and what we are up to. May the Lord bless you and keep you.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

A Typical, or not so typical, Day.

This is a completely fictious story.  The elements are true in that you will often find a backpacker change his plans for the sake of the unexplored but the story itself is made up.  God is moving in the lives of these young travelers but they need followers of Jesus to be there in their moment of questioning. 

"The bus leaves at 6:00 am.  I guess I had better get up if I'm going to make my train."  The hostel room is a bit chilly this early in the morning and the stumbling around in the dark looking for a clean pair of underwear and a not so smelly t-shirt seems to make more noise than it really does.  Fortunately most of the other travelers in the room are sleeping off a late night of partying.  There is that clean pair of underwear, down in the bottom of the backpack.  After getting half dressed in the dark the somewhat awake backpacker decides it is just plain easier to get dressed in the hall way where he can see what he is doing.  Once out in the hall he sees that another traveler had the same thought.  She is just pulling on her jacket but looks down in time to see that she forgot her shoes.  The holes in her socks show that she has been on the road for a few months now. 

"Are you catching the 6 o'clock bus too," asks the young man?

"Yes, I'm going down to the coast. They have some interesting ruins down a somewhat hidden stretch of beach.  The guy in room 12 was talking about them in the pub last night.  I thought I would catch 'em early, you know, before the rush of last night's partiers."  She smiles and continues to tie her shoes.  "Would you like to come along," she asks? 

He thought about it for awhile.  He had planned to go on to the next big town but the thought of a hidden stretch of beach sounded appealing.  "Sure, why not," he said.  "I'll be down in a minute."  He walked down to the bathroom to brush his teeth.  The girl walked in behind him and walked into one of the stalls.  It used to bother him, using a co-ed bathroom.  But four weeks on the road in Europe had broken him of that uncomfortableness.  She came out and washed her hands and walked out.  He spit and wiped his mouth and walked out. 

At the bus stop he lit a pipe he had picked up on his travels and looked through the morning fog for any signs of the bus.  Buses in this part of the world were rarely late.  But this one was, by about 10 minutes.  The girl went to get a schedule and see if there was an attendant with any answers as to the reason the bus was late.  She came back with neither a schedule or an answer.  "There is no attendant this early in the morning," she said.  They stood there together in silence.  "Thank you for coming," she said.  "I saw your train ticket.  Were you going on from the station?"

"No where particular.  Besides the sound of some hidden ruins sounded exciting.  I could put my journey aside for that.  Thanks for asking me along.  So what are these ruins anyway?"

"The bus is here.  lets get on and I'll tell you what the guy told me about last night."  For the next few hours they talked about the ruins and other things.  Apparently they were the ruins of an old monastery that was attacked by vikings back in the day.  The history was fascinating.  Eventually the conversation turned to religion.  "So what do you believe," she asked him?

"Well my parents took us to church but they were never very serious about what they believed in.  My mother later got more into her religion but it was a little late for the rest of us.  I realized that god could be any god you choose.  As long as your belief doesn't hurt some one else then anyone can get to heaven.  I just don't want someone pushing their belief on me."

"Well I don't have much use for religion although I certainly see the value in some of these missionaries who go into the little African countries and take food supplies and the like.  At least they care enough to do what others won't do.  I spent a year in Africa about two years ago and worked with some real great people, however they were never able to convince me that god existed," she replied.  Suddenly the guy in front of them turned around and spoke up.

"I couldn't help but over hear your conversation.  My name is Hank.  I am also on my way to the ruins.  A friend of mine saw them last year and said they were worth it.  But I heard your views on God and was wondering if you wanted to hear a third opinion."

"Why not," the other two travelers said.

"Well I heard you talking about the monks who were at this monastery but you haven't heard the whole story.  From what I have read they were missionary monks who were going to the surrounding isles carrying with them food, furs, supplies, and tools.  They also helped the villagers to read and write.  When the vikings came the monks tried to save as many villagers as they could that came to the monastery.  The monks hid the villagers in some nearby caves, which by the way are said to have some interesting wall paintings still there.  But to draw away suspicion from the caves the monks went back to the monastery to try and turn the vikings away.  In the end every monk was killed in brutal ways.  When the villagers came out the next morning the vikings were gone but they had left the monks bodies hanging up on pikes in the monastery court yard.  The Father of the order was in the center with a cross clutched in his hand.  The villagers knew what had happened and buried the monks right there.  Then they all bowed and accepted the Jesus the monks talked about.  No king or ruler of theirs ever put their life on the line for the sake of the villagers and yet these monks did so to the end.  Today their is a small church in the village because of the sacrifice of the monks.  The ruins are left unnoticed but there have been many artifacts found and are now on display in a small museum in the village and in the national museum.  It is pretty interesting stuff.  I have been on a pilgrimage for the past month taking in most of the pilgrim trail."  The Christian traveler ended his story because the bus arrived and he got off and went on his way.

The other two travelers walked down the beach together talking about what Hank had told them.  They both seemed touched but unsure about what he said.  When the reached the ruins they saw Hank sitting in the court yard, or what was left of it.  He was reading a small black book.  He looked up and told them it was a bible.  He asked them if they liked the ruins, which of course they said yes.  He then asked them a very strange question.  He asked them if they understood the sacrifice made by the monks.  They were unsure how to answer.  He told them to ask the townspeople in the nearby village.  Then he gave them his email and said if they wanted to talk further to shoot him an email.  Then he was gone.

That night sitting in the hostel the backpacker was sipping his tea.  The story moved him in ways he didn't understand.  He had many questions.  The townspeople had very interesting stories and the girl and him talked the whole way to the next city where they were both heading, but they could not seem to find an answer.  Just then an older man sat down with a Cup 'o Noodles and a Bible.  "Can I sit here," he asked.

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