Thursday, September 24, 2009

Camouflaged Angels

Camouflaged Angels
by Judy Vandiver

Steve looked out the window of the white truck at the endless miles of sand. Daily he drove the two and a half hours from Kuwait City to southern Iraq. As advisor on a military contract, he analyzed conditions at refineries producing Liquid Petroleum Gas.

The convoy drove through a military entry point on the border. “Alpha One, this is Lima 12. We are crossing the border,” Steve spoke into the radio. Paul, the driver, flashed the headlights on the truck, and Alpha One, a private security team, fell in behind their vehicle.

Breaking from the main convoy, Steve’s smaller convoy and Alpha One continued north, when six pick-up trucks approached from the opposite direction, pulling off to the side of the road.

The radio crackled. “They are getting out of the trucks and throwing large rocks at us,” warned the man in the lead truck. Paul maneuvered the vehicle close to the one in front of him, allowing little room between the trucks.

Steve watched as angry men pelted the trucks with rocks. Glancing to his right, he saw an Iraqi man stoop, pick up a large rock, then straighten as his arm raised over his head preparing to throw the stone. Steve’s eyes locked with the Iraqi man’s and he remembered a bible verse. “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” With that thought, Steve used his only two weapons, prayer and kindness. “I sure hope this works, Lord,” thought Steve as his face spread into a wide grin. Lifting his hand he waved in greeting, smiling to the Iraqi man.

The stranger stopped with the rock raised over his head. When he moved again, he shook the rock in a threatening manner, but let Steve and Paul pass. The vehicles in front of and behind them had been damaged by rocks, breaking out the windows in some of them, denting others badly. All trucks were still operational and no one was injured. The convoy kept moving further into Iraqi.

The last truck in the group reported via the radio. “The Iraqis are getting back in their trucks and headed in a different direction. Looks like the border is clear again.”

Shortly after arriving at the job site Steve’s cell phone rang.

“Load up,” the voice spitted out. “There’s too much trouble there. Pack up your team and get out of Iraq as soon as possible.”

Scrambling to load their gear, the small convoy, lead by Alpha One, soon sped down the road. Twenty minutes later the men had not seen any of the trucks that had broke from the larger convoy earlier. A column of black smoke rose ahead near the border crossing.

“This is Lima 12. We’re approaching the border. Can we get through? Over.” Several times Steve sent the message over the radio.

Finally an answer came sputtering back. “The border is closed. You can’t get through. Rioting has increased. Turn around and head north. Find a military base and shelter there. Over.”

As the small convoy turned around, and continued bouncing down the road, Steve prayed. “Help us, Lord,” He thought of Psalm 91. “For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways;”
Steve radioed Alpha One. “Where are we headed?”

“Shiba,” came the answer.

“We have to go through Zubair to get to Shiba. Too dangerous,” said Steve. “Find another place.”

 An unfamiliar, but distinctly American voice came over the radio. “Lima 12, give us your location. We will give you military escort and try to get you into Kuwait.”

Within two minutes, Steve saw American soldiers headed in their direction. “Turn around. We’ll lead you to the border. When we get there,” continued the Sergeant, “you guys make a run for it. When the border patrol sees the U. S. military with you, they will open the border. If necessary, however, we’ll cover you and shoot your way into Kuwait.”

As the group got closer to the border, Steve saw several basketball and baseball size rocks scattered in the along the roadside. Tires burned in the roadway. “There are people in the road ahead. Get ready to floorboard it,” Steve cautioned Paul.

“Hey Steve, look,” said Paul. “God not only sent the U.S. Army to help us, those are British allies ahead.”

The British soldiers had dispersed the rebels, and were attempting to wet the fires with bottled water, the only thing available. An 18 wheel truck sat disabled on the side of the road, apparently damaged by the insurgents. “That could have been us,” thought Steve as he thanked God for their safety.

“God is so good,” whispered Steve. “I just never knew his angels wore camouflage.”

Ephesians 4:32
Psalm 91:11