Friday, May 16, 2014

Continue on with Fearless Trust in God Part 13

"I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living".  Psalm 27:13

     Julio was right.  Ben and the rest would eventually meet up with him today.  Rick held Sheila tight, with a gun to everyone, while the supposed Pastor Charles drove the van to a deserted area in the middle of a Canadian forest about 100 miles north of where they were.  Drew wanted to reach out and grab the gun from Rick in attempt to save Sheila, but Kyle held him back.  Kyle sensed the danger that would cause.  Ben and Pastor Manuel held silence.  Pastor Manuel prayed as they went.  Ben prayed and contemplated what to do when they got there.  Pastor Manuel, Ben and the rest had their weapons taken away just before the trip in the van.  They were helpless in their own right.  It was up to God to save them.  They had about a half an hour to get there and the drive to all of them seemed like they were riding straight to their deaths.  They were all terrified.

     Hernandez wanted Julio to handle this matter, and his orders to Julio was to "make them disappear".  Julio had known Ben a long time.  Julio was 15 and Ben was 16 when they were initiated into the gang.  Ben looked after Julio and once or twice saved Julio's life.  Now, Julio was ordered to take Ben's life.  Were they just orders from the leader or did Julio really believe that Ben was a traitor, and want him dead?  Julio was on his cell with Hernandez discussing the business at hand.  He seemed determined and willing.  Julio's mother and father died tragically in a drive-by shooting, while sitting in their 2-bedroom house, watching TV with him and his 3 little brothers.  All 4 brothers shared their small bedroom together.  Julio's father was a carpenter and his mother stayed home and watched the boys.  They didn't have much, but they had each other.  After his parents died, Julio quit school and went to work where his father worked, but couldn't feed his brothers, so a man by the name Hernandez gave him "a job".  He was able to make ends meet, but the State still took his 3 brothers away a year later, and he never saw or heard from them again.

     The van drove up and stop.  Charles turned off the engine and the men took all of them to Julio and the goons who were with them.  There were 3 others.  Ben and Julio came face to face.  Ben looked at Julio with courage and strength.  No anger shown on his face.  Julio cocked his head to one side, noticing Ben's courage.  "You betrayed Hernandez, and you betrayed me, your best friend", was all Julio said, in a very quiet voice.  Ben said nothing.  Julio looked at Sheila for a moment and said to her.  "You shouldn't have gotten involved with us, now look at all your friends".  There was a spark of fear and guilt in her eyes, but she stayed silent as well.  They were all scared, including Ben, but they believed God.  "I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living".  Psalm 27:13.

     Pete and Miranda Bartholomew had a secret, that no one in town knew.  They lived in town most of their lives, got married 30 years ago in the church they are attending now, and raised 2 kids.  They opened up the bookstore and coffee shop 15 years ago.  They opened up at 5:30 a.m., and closed it up by 3 p.m. everyday but Sunday.  What Pete Bartholomew did after hours, no one had a clue, but his wife.  His kids, Jen and Adam, who were now 29 and 25, didn't know where their dad went out on nights, while they were growing up.  Miranda kept quiet and kept everything to herself on that matter.  She knew if people found out, it would be the end for Pete.  He was in his "Study" when an urgent call came.  He went to his wife, kissed her, got his coat and keys and left.  Miranda prayed today, like she always had before, when he ventured out secretly.  She knew what he was up to, but that was about all she knew.  She never knew the circumstances or where he would be, or with whom he would be with.  She just had to trust...God.

     Julio decided that Drew, Kyle and Pastor Manuel would be the first three to die.  He wanted Sheila to watch her friends die, and he also wanted Ben to suffer the most and watch them all die, then he would kill his best friend.  They were all tied to poles in a circular form, where they all could watch each other die.  There deaths would be by a firing squad.  One shot to the head of each.  None of them spoke...except Ben.  "Julio, my friend.  Do you really want to do this?  I am so sorry I lead you astray all those years.  Will you forgive me"?, he asked.  "Wait!  What?, are you serious?  Shut up!", Julio shouted.  "Kill the pastor first, then Kyle, then the boyfriend"!, he ordered the men.  "Wait"!, Ben pleaded.  "Father, forgive them, for they don't know what they are doing"!, Ben prayed.  Julio glared at Ben for a long time.  They next sounds that were heard were five shots and screams.

     The FBI and INTERPOL came rushing in.  Five shots went off.  The three goons who were ready to kill the group of friends, and Pastor Charles and Rick were dead.  Julio was on the ground weeping, "I'm sorry"!  The agents untied them all and Ben went over to Julio and prayed with him.  "How can you still stand by me?  I was going to kill you", Julio asked while still weeping.  The agents were going to take Julio in handcuffs, but Ben put his hand up for them to wait.  He shared briefly about Jesus and hugged his long-time friend.  The agents took Julio into custody, and Ben had no idea if his short testimony worked.  Would Julio accept Christ in prison?  Ben would have to fearlessly trust God.  The coroner examined the dead bodies and took them away.  An agent by the name of Julie Stockman assured all of them that Hernandez and all his men were taken down in every international city they occupied.  She told them that there was one person in particular to thank for that.  Pete Bartholomew came in.  He had been working undercover for INTERPOL for 30 years, and no one knew, except his wife.  He told the group he knew who they were when they arrived in town and knew what was going on at his church.  He apologized for putting them in more danger and thanked God they were finally safe.

No it's not over yet.  Part 14, the final chapter will wrap up the story.  Until then.  God bless.   



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