My 9/11 Story

My 9/11 Story

In the Fall of each year for the last 15 years, I have taken Bibles around the world to dark and sometimes dangerous countries.

I travel with a dedicated group of people guided by a dedicated ministry and, with a hat tip to Dr. Suess, oh, the places I’ve been.

This native Texan who’d never traveled anywhere you needed a passport until these trips has now been to China five times, Indonesia three times, Vietnam, Cambodia twice, India, Ukraine, Thailand, Ecuador and the Amazon basin, Russia, Nigeria, South Korean, Senegal, Philippines, Kenya. Today we begin our journey back to a heavily Muslim country in Africa (more on that in the days to come).

There’s another country I’ve visited that I didn’t mention. I left that country out to tell you where I was on September 11, 2001.

There’s a game we play. It’s called the “where were you when” game.

I remember sitting in church in the Fall of 2001 and hearing a man a couple of rows back, very close to the beginning of the service, speaking so loudly that it was obvious his intended audience was not just the little woman he was facing.

Where was she when it happened? This little woman was a retiree and was likely the same place on September 11th that she was every day. She was at home.

But he had a story. Boy did he have a story. Where he was when.

I’m sure that at some point, though I wasn’t looking, she began glancing toward the front of the church as if to say, “That’s fascinating…but church is beginning.”

As the music played and he was forced to wind down, I elbowed my son who was sitting next to me and leaned in to say, “I can beat that, but church is starting.”

We were in China on September 9th and on that evening we were in a very serious meeting. Six from our group had been selected to go into a country that I’d never thought I’d see (which in that sense was the same as every other country I’d ever visited).

As our small group prepared to be briefed about our next day, one person was missing. It was the husband of the couple that was set to take us across the border from China. We were hearing the things that we’d need to know as we traveled out of China and into an even darker world. Chief among those things was how very dangerous the next few days could be.

Instructions were given about how to behave…how to look…what we could say. But also what was forbidden. What was dangerous.

I have been in many meetings like this over the years. Any time you enter a communist country for the reasons we go, there are risks for you. But there are greater risks for the people you will meet. These people are Christians who, daily, risk everything…even their lives…to tell people about God and put Bibles in their hands.

Each of the briefings I’d attended in the past had warnings…each had guidelines. But this was different. More serious. Even ominous.

So, the absence of one of the two people who would be taking us across the border was even stranger to me given the grave tone we were hearing.

Someone asked where he was. We were told that this young man was rushed to the hospital with chest pains and they’d not heard about his condition. We prayed.

When the meeting was over, I said, “I’m sorry to hear about your husband. Will he be going with us tomorrow as we cross the border?”

She said that she thought he’d be fine but that his heart had begun beating so rapidly and so wildly that they rushed him to the hospital where the doctors were giving him medication. She thought that would help him.

We were glad to see her face with signs of hope and, in an effort to lighten the mood, I said, “I hope his heart situation is not because of where we’re going tomorrow.”

“It is,” she said.

Again, ominous.

The next morning was September 10th and it was on that day that we crossed the Tumin River from China into North Korea.

The immediate punishment for this couple if it were known why we went there would be death. A bullet to the head right there on the bridge.

North Korea is truly the darkest place on earth.

We didn’t find out about September 11th until September 13th when we returned to China. We were then stuck in China another five days.

There is more…so much more…about that experience. But I tell you where I was on September 11, 2001 to remind you of the dedication that people have to get God’s Word to the people who need it most.

I am not speaking of me. I direct your attention to the people on the ground in dark places. The people who know that if things do not go well, death awaits them.

They know…and yet they go.

Please pray for us as we leave today for another place of persecution…where there is fear. And yet, God Himself gives strength to those who risk it all.

If you’re in the center of God’s hand, a dangerous place is a safe place; if you’re not in the center of His hand, a safe place is a dangerous place.

If it sounds crazy, I understand. If it sounds foolish, likewise.

Jim Elliot said, “He is no fool to give what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.”

The Apostle Paul said, “For me to live is Christ and to die is gain.”

I am about to spend time, for the 15th consecutive year, with people who know that truth…but more importantly, who live that truth…every day.

Pray for our safety. Pray for our health. Pray that we will be faithful in our task. More importantly, pray for those who will take these Bibles into even darker places than we will go and risk so much more than we can imagine.

I tell you I was in North Korea on 9/11 not as a way to trump any and all “where were you when” stories. I tell you this to challenge you to join me sending Bibles.

Please join me in doing what is so easy for us to do so that others will know the saving message of Christ.

Someone is praying right now that you will send Bibles.

You can answer that prayer by clicking here.

God bless you.

Scott Wilder

Published in: on September 2, 2011 at 12:05 am  Leave a Comment  

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