Friday, July 5, 2013


Based on Psalm 27

     They drove to another small town, to another small and homey motel.  They were all getting tired of running and were very discouraged.  It was 1p.m. and they hadn't eaten lunch yet.  They had to wait a couple of hours to check in at the motel, so they went to get a bite to eat and sight-see a little, for a little bit of relaxation.  They went to a sandwich and ice cream shop for lunch and a little dessert.  The town looked like something out of the Old West.  There were few cars parked on the street and even less people on the sidewalks.  They ate their meal and went looking in the bookstore next door.  Turn The Page was the name of the store.  They had antique collectible books to new and modern books.  You could take books in and sell them to the store.  The lady was very nice, a Mrs. Bartholomew.  She was about 50 years old and very soft-spoken.  Kyle thought she must have been a librarian at one time, because of the hushed voice she had.  "How may I be of service to you?", she practically whispered.  Sheila answered, "Thank you.  We're just browsing".  There were books, still in rather good condition from the 19th century.  They were all amazed to carefully browse through them.  "If you have any questions, just ask", Mrs. Bartholomew told them softly.

     In the back of the bookstore, there was a coffee shop, and Mr. Bartholomew ran that part of the store.  Sheila, Drew, Kyle, Ben and Pastor Manuel got a table and ordered their favorite coffees.  This coffee shop had exquisite service.  Instead of standing in line, Mr. Bartholomew and his waitress, Kelly came to the tables and took their orders.  "What would you like to drink today?", Mr. Bartholomew asked in a pleasant but gruff and booming voice.  He was a total opposite of his wife, though, both were very friendly.  "Are you new to the area?", Mr. Bartholomew asked.  "We're just passing through", Pastor Manuel answered.  "Oh!  Travelers!  Wonderful!  Welcome to our neighborhood!", Mr. Bartholomew greeted them.  They were kind of uncomfortable because he came over and wanted to talk.  They didn't want to give him too much information, but they also didn't want to seem rude.  They all ordered something to drink and Mr. Bartholomew, in his booming voice, want to chat with them.  "Where are you from?", he asked.  They all said, "California".  He told them all about the town and how long him and his wife lived there, and how long they had the store, then asked, "How long will you be staying in this fine town?"  They had no idea, so Drew came up with an answer.  "We're all taking a road trip through Canada.  We're all friends who had vacation time.  We have three weeks to travel, so we're only staying the night", Drew lied.  They all were conversing with him, then he had a few more customers to tend to.

     They left and continued down the street, looking at all the different shops.  It seemed as though people were staring at them, and their suspicion arose.  They were hiding and felt like everyone knew it.  At 3p.m. they went to the motel and checked in.  There was a big screen TV in the lounge, across from the front desk, that had on the international news.  They froze at what they saw.  All of their pictures were plastered on the screen.  Though they changed their appearances to some extent, they still had panic inside.  Drew remembered Psalm 27:9, and prayed that verse to himself.  Do not hide your face from me, do not turn Your servant away in anger; You have been my help; Do not abandon me nor forsake me, O God of my salvation".    Drew asked Pastor Manuel, "What do we do?"  Manuel had no answers, except to trust God.  They again got rooms and grouped up as usual.  The rooms were like the old country look.  They had all kinds of toiletries and towels and supplies at arms length.  They had a coffee pot, microwave and refrigerator.  Two beds in each room.  They again gathered in Manuel and Sheila's room for devotions and prayer time.  "Father, grant us safety, that we might further Your gospel", Pastor Manuel prayed.  They continued in Psalms, chapter 27.  Verse 9 came up, and Drew smiled.  He was relieved to know that God was listening.

     They discussed the Bible passages and discussed how to work out their plans to stay away for awhile, but they soon had to return.  Manuel called his wife a day ago and the kids and her were worried.  Drew thought his Aunt Rita would be beside herself by now.  Kyle didn't know how his dad would handle this, with losing his wife, now Kyle, his son missing.  They grieved together.  Ben also grieved for his family, even his dad, and especially his Christian mother.  He had hoped that when this was all over, he might have the chance to bring Christ into his dad's life.  The faith in all of them grew each day, and they knew that without this trial in their lives, it wouldn't have been possible to have this much faith.  Pastor Manuel even knew that his faith was very weak until he met Drew.  They talked for two hours.  It was now around 6p.m.  They turned on the news and found that the story was still being told, and all of them had a little bit of fear.  The newscaster for CNN now claimed that they all, including Sheila, who they still think is dead, were kidnapped by the same people, but didn't know the connection with the pastor and the rest.  Drew, Kyle and Manuel were still presumed alive and the FBI were looking for some kind of connection with all of these victims, to find them soon.  The Puerto Rican police were investigating this as well and questioned Pastor Manuel's family.  They were terrified they would end up telling the truth, just out of fear.  Thankfully, the police left their home with no idea.

     Sheila was afraid, but not terrified like she had been, and that was thanks to the rest of her friends, especially Pastor Manuel and Drew.  She didn't know if she could have survived without them...and Jesus.  She might not have.  They all took a walk around the town after dinner.  There was snow of about 6 inches, but they didn't care.  It was cold, but crisp, and they enjoyed the scenery.  Nothing could be better than this, they thought...except to be with their families again.  They went to Pastor Manuel and Sheila's room again for a bit.  Pastor Manuel, Drew and Ben had all thought to stay a couple of more days here.  It was pleasant at this motel, the town was nice and the people were very friendly.  They still weren't certain why they all got stares from people, but Pastor Manuel pointed out to them that it just might be they were curious about tourists in their small town, and nothing more.  They all sighed in relief at that.  They watched a little TV together, before going to sleep for the night.  Sheila missed her parents and had another nightmare during the night.  She woke up screaming, which she hadn't done in a few days.  Drew, Kyle and Ben heard her, and of course, Pastor Manuel got up to console her.  It was around 1a.m. and Drew was knocking at Sheila's door.

     Pastor Manuel went to the door and let them in.  There were several people who peeped out their doors, not very happy.  Sheila was crying out for her parents.  It had been over 3 months since she had seen them, and now Sheila was presumed dead.  She told them she had to call her parents.  Ben wasn't sure.  He knew Hernandez, and if he found out, they would all be dead.  Pastor Manuel knew that as well and discouraged it, but they also saw how upset Sheila was.  No one knew what to do, including Sheila.  "They have to know!", Sheila pleaded.  The rest of the group looked at one another with concern.  Drew looked at Pastor Manuel, then took Sheila's hand and reassured her.  They went inside the room, while the other motel guests calmed down and went back into their rooms.  "Sheila, we have to be brave and hold out on telling anyone right now.  When your parents find out you're alive, and all this is over, we will all celebrate!", Drew calmed her.  She shook in his arms and sobbed.  They all stayed up with her that night until 5:30a.m., when she fell asleep.  Drew wondered how they would get out of this.  He wondered how they would finally let the authorities know, without retaliation from Hernandez and his gang.  They needed to be put to justice, but how?  No one had the answer.

     *I will continue with Part 10 soon.  My blogging and writing life has been cut back a lot due to health issues.  I will, from time to time, catch you up on how things are going.  Hopefully Part 10 will be done this coming week.  God bless you all!




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