Marcy couldn’t help but smile as she let her eyes gaze across the room. This week, 50 people came to visit their small basement church. It never ceased to amaze her how awesome God was. Just 3 weeks ago, there were only 6 people in attendance; including Steve – her husband – and herself.
Just two months ago, they moved to Africa to start their ministry in the small town. They started out with just 3 people: Steve, the local pastor and herself. They felt called of the Lord to help out local pastors in Africa. Steve and Marci had to go through extensive training; but they were ready. They were excited. It has always been their dream to be missionaries in Africa.
“Let us pray in conclusion,” said her husband. She smiled as Pastor Fahim translated. She didn’t know why, but that always amused her. Hearing her husband teach and someone else translate.
There was a creak on the floorboards above. A whisper – or was that a mouse?
Everyone became silent. Fear raced through Marci’s heart and she prayed silently, “Lord please protect these people. Don’t let them get caught.”
“Were you expecting anyone?” Steve asked no one in particular. “No,” Marci looked at Pastor Fahim, “Did you tell anyone you were coming here?”
“No, I did not. Please everyone remain silent. There is no need to fear, but Marci, can you please go upstairs to see what that noise was? Steve maybe you should join her.” Pastor Fahim instructed and translated.
Instinctively, she grabbed her husband’s hand tight, as they started up the stairs. Steve stopped and looked down at his wife, “Its okay, hun. We are children of God. Keep repeating that, I am a child of God. Keep praying too.”
Marci could not help but laugh at her husband, he always knew how to make her smile. “God please protect those people, don’t let them get caught. Heavenly Father, please protect Steve and I. Please Lord, let this be nothing.”
They continued climbing the stairs together in silence.
Marci jumped as she saw a man standing in their kitchen. Her heart could not stop racing. She kept praying, “Please Lord, protect those people don’t let them get caught.”
“Can I help you?” Steve asked. Marci stood behind her husband in submission, but kept praying continuously. “Jesus save us. Please don’t let those people get caught. They desperately need to hear more of your word. Please Lord. Please.”
“Are you Steven and Marci Boretti?” The man asked quietly.
“Yes,” he replied cautiously.
“Thank you.” The man replied. He then walked out their home; leaving the door wide open.
Steve walked to the door to close it, “What was that all abo-“. A shot rang out, as Steve fell to the ground grabbing his chest.
“Steven!” Marci raced to his side. “Honey, where are you hit?” He looked at her and smiled, “I see Jesus”. She cried out “Oh God, No! Please NO!”
She heard footsteps run in, but she never took her eyes off her husband. “Steven stay with me!” She felt hands pull her arms off of her husband. “Steven! LOOK AT ME! Jesus save us!”
Pain shot through her head as someone hit her. “JESUS SAVE US!” Marci blacked out.
When she awoke; she found herself in a dark room. She felt around and waited until her eyes adjusted. It seemed like she was in a dungeon of some sorts. Confused she tried to get up from the floor, “Steve?” Chains stopped her from moving around. She was chained to a wall.
Then it all came back to her, her mind flooded with the memories of her husband on the floor. Was he dead? Was she dead?
“Jesus, please help me. Please be with me Lord. Please be with my husband.” She stopped herself when she remembered all those people in her basement. “Jesus please protect those people. Don’t let them be found.” Marci prayed quietly.
The door opened and light flooded into her dark dungeon. “Ah, Mrs. Boretti – you are finally awake. I am so sorry that we have not met sooner.” A shadow in the doorway started to talk to her, “You see I am very interested in what you and your husband are doing here. You see, it is against the law to preach about this Jesus. It is punishable by death.” The shadow man stopped for effect.
“Now, unfortunately we had to punish your husband – excuse me, I had to punish your husband for teaching about Christianity. However, you on the other hand have never taught about him. You can be set free on several conditions.” The shadow man stepped into the room and turned on the light. “You must renounce this Jesus, and turn to our religion. Next, you must leave our country and never come back. If you do, and I find out – I will kill you as I killed your husband.”
Marci cocked her head to the side, the shadow man was not tall or scary – just sad. She could not help but notice how sad he was. I see that I got to you, what I will do is leave and give you some time to think about -“
“I don’t need to think about it. I know my answer,” Marci replied with determination. “Jesus Christ came to this earth to save my soul, and I will never stop telling the world about Him; and I will never leave. If you force me out, I will return. God’s word needs to be preached to all, even – no especially you. God loves you and -”
“ENOUGH!” the shadow man yelled. “Do you think this is a joke? I could kill you now.”
“Then please do. All I have to say is: may God have mercy on your soul. May your eyes be open to your sin and you give your life to Christ. God loves you, I love you.” Marci closed her eyes waiting for a shot to ring out. After several seconds she opened her eyes.
“Mrs. Boretti, I will not kill you yet. My men are scheduled to spend some time with you. Maybe you will change your mind before then.” The shadow man gave her a sinister smile and closed the door.
“Jesus, I pray for that man. Save him please. Open his eyes so that he may see his sin. Save him Lord, please save him.”
Several days went by – or what seemed like days – and several atrocities occurred – but Marci kept praying for him…and for the soldiers committing those atrocities. “God please save them. Save their souls. Open their eyes to their sin.”
The shadow man finally came back. “Stand up Mrs. Boretti.”
She could no longer move. Her ravaged body could take no more. The shadow man walked over to her and placed her in a chair, “So Mrs. Boretti, have you decided to change your mind?”
Marci looked up at her captor, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. God loves you, may your eyes be opened to your sin and to the ultimate love He has to offer you. I have never stopped praying for you and your men. May God save you.” She closed her eyes and waited for the end to come.
Quietly she started to sing the only song that came to mind, as tears rolled down her face, “Jesus loves me this I know. For the Bible tells me so, little ones to Him belong. They are weak but He is strong. Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me. The Bible tells me so.”
After she finished, Marci looked up at the shadow man, “Aren’t you going to kill me?”
“Why do you say those things to me? We have done such horrible things to you. We…” the shadow man lowered his head in shame.
“Jesus loves you, and he is waiting for you to accept Him. Who am I to say I can’t pray for you? Who am I to say anything accept: God loves you and He wants you to know Him and accept Him. Open your heart to the only one who can heal it.”
The shadow man unlocked her chains turned around and walked away. She stared in amazement as he walked out the door and left it open.
She stayed in her chair wondering what to do next. “You are free to go child.” Marci jumped at the voice. She turned her head to see where the voice was coming from. Standing in the back corner was a man dressed in white. He had such a kind face, and it seemed familiar somehow – but she did not move. “What?” she asked suspiciously. “You are free to go Marci; your faithfulness has set you free.” She smiled, stood up and walked out the door.
Deu 31:8 And the LORD, He [is] the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.