Higher Than The Heavens
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WarSong: Troy & Genie's True Life Story
Send In The Marines
ver the following days, the death threats got louder and more menacing.
Our native "friends" (the seasoned missionaries say all friendship here is an illusion) all urged us to pay the ransom.
Our friends said, "If the thugs want to kill you they will have to kill us first, but we can't protect you all the time."
We decided it was time to let our family and friends know what was happening.
To make our
one last phone call.
To tell our loved-ones that although we have gone a radically different path in life, we never stopped loving them.
Some of our frightened relatives wanted to pay the thugs.
But we had resolved never to negotiate with "terrorists", even if we died for it.
Any of our supporters would gladly give the money if we asked.
But we resolved firmly to never pass abuse on to our supporters.
We did not wish the thugs any harm.
We did not want the family or the U.S. to retaliate if the thugs killed or raped or kidnapped us.
We felt sorry that these workers were probably destined to burn up in the lake of fire.
We wanted the criminals to turn around and live eternally, as is our hope for all people.
We asked our loved ones to pray for everyone involved.
We hung up, trying to catch our breath because of the overpowering emotions amplified by days without sleep.
Almost immediately after my call with Killer Dad, the phone rang.
Killer Dad had called our U.S. Marine Colonel friend who had just a few hours earlier come from a personal meeting with the President of the country.
The Marine said, "I will be there in 15 minutes in a helicopter with Marines with machine guns."
"You will never have any problems in that town again.
Just give me the word.
We'll fix your problem, for good."
I said, "Thank you very much, but we don't want..."
He said, "We here at the base have talked about it. We all consider it our duty of honor to protect people like you who go to foreign lands to try to help the poor people in difficult circumstances."
We knew that it would be improper for us to use the military's help, because we have been reborn into the Kingdom of God and thus cannot accept the benefits due the citizens of the worldly nations.
The flight alone would cost the U.S. taxpayers thousands of dollars they don't have.
I said, "Thank you... but we have to decline."
The Colonel said, "Then I'll send soldiers by land."
We thanked the Colonel for his heartfelt offer but told him we were not afraid.
(We were afraid.)
The Colonel said he would be leaving the country in 3 days.
He gave us the direct phone numbers of the Navy and Marines Commanders in this country.
The Colonel urged us to call at any hour of need, day or night.
He said the troops would stand ready to evacuate us at any time we called.
In the days that followed, Genie marched around the house reading the bible and praying for protection.
We fought to stop stop our minds from playing scenes of what our military friends could do to teach these people a killer lesson on how to respect visiting aid workers.
Bible verses about "turning the other cheek" and "walking the extra mile" gave way to thoughts of revenge for the hell through which they were dragging our family and friends.
Our faith was wearing thin, not just from the death threats, but from the greater mental and emotional nightmares all night of what they might do to Genie or our boy, that would be worse than killing us.
We talked to more experienced missionaries, and some experienced military men who had worked in other countries.
We all again agreed that for us to pay for extortion would only hurt the cause of all the missionaries in the country.
So we again sent the message to the thugs, "We will die before we will pay blackmail."
This really hurt the work of the Mission over the ensuing month.
I couldn't leave the family to communicate with our mission partners.
We could only get to the internet by going down a mountain, crossing a river up to our waist (or higher) and riding a motorcycle for hours each way on flood-ravaged "roads."
Faith or no, I wouldn't leave the family alone.
Our faith was weak, but so far our health had held up.
But somewhere around this time we took a walk and left the door open, and a bunch of chickens infested the house with chicken-mites.
These little chigger-like bugs leave red sores that itch like mad all over your body, especially favoring your privates.
If you get hundreds of bites, like we did, you get rapid vomiting and diarrhea.
You can barely walk for days.
We dragged the bed out of the house into the sun, hoping this would kill the mites.
We noticed the mattress had lots of fist-sized holes.
We had suspected this, because at night you could hear the rats running around and 'thwoinking' the mattress springs, trying to build a house inside the bed.
Normally we just pounded the mattress and the rats ran out.
But now, in the sun, we could see that the rats had somehow laced their feces intricately all inside the covering of the mattress, to claim it as their territory.
So we abandoned the bed, and took to sleeping on the concrete, counting our blessings because our neighbors sleep on the raw dirt.
But we, unlike our neighbors, are soft and weak, and sleeping on the concrete was not working.
We were cracking from sleep-deprivation.
Around this time, an officer of the National Army sped up to our house on his motorcycle, a comforting sight with his muscles bulging under military green, decked in medals.
The officer said that these thugs were in fact very bad men whose threats were serious, and we needed to pay the money.
We again said, 'Not one cent for abuse!
When we speak, it's done, and we do not go back on our word.
We can leave the country any time we want.
We've almost died here several times already.
If we were the sort of people to be afraid, we would have left long ago."
More threat than we like to admit, but also out of concern for the people of the town, we warned the officer that although we would not lift a finger to harm anyone else in self-defense, our bio-family was intimately connected in the world of military black-ops, and if these guys did kill us, the entire neighborhood should evacuate because things can get out of hand quickly.
We didn't know what our loved-ones would do.
But if they did retaliate, stray American bullets could rip through 8 or 10 of the shanty-packed houses in the thugs neighborhood, unintentionally wounding women and children.
They call it 'collateral damage.'
It happens all the time.
We showed the officer pictures of the people who love us, people who topple nations for a living.
We said that we are
Priests who do no harm.
But these other people, who love us, burn cities before breakfast, without any need for Presidential approval, as a normal part of life, and we didn't want any innocent bystanders to get hurt.
We had instructed our relatives not to retaliate, but swift merciless retaliation is their way of life.
The tension inside of us was growing, between thoughts of loving your enemies, and the reality that we really did not have to put up with this crap.
Finally something had to break.
The threats reached a dangerous peak, including harm to the baby, and maybe out of fear, but we hope more out of generosity, our hearts turned to the reality that these were poor guys who had been counting on finishing the job to pay their gambling debts and to spring their brother out of prison, (in this land prison is a hellish place whether the guy deserves it or not.)
The thug's own lives were being threatened by people to whom they owed money, perhaps partly based on the expectation that they were "on salary" with us.
So we tallied up everything the workers might have spent on gasoline, motorcycle rental, supplies, and food for the job.
We justified sending them about 1/3 of what their ransom demand as a sort of a "severance-package."
We made clear that this wasn't pay-for-terror, but compensation to help them while they looked for new work, and to pay for expenses that we had overlooked.
True to their form, they shook down our messenger for the other money he had in his wallet, but more importantly, they signed a receipt acknowledging that we had paid them in full.
We hear that they spent a lovely several nights happily buying sex, drugs, and booze with their winnings.
And we finally got a few nights of sleep.
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This chapter, "Send In The Marines", focuses on the theme of
, the opposite of
Nonresistance is an aspect of
, the opposite of
The Vision For The Music Monastery