The train lurched forward as it roared into action. Not a mile from the station we were jarred from our beds after running over a cow that had wandered onto the tracks. This would be an eventful trip.
The language barrier was an apparent hurdle from the first full day of the three-day expedition. We so desperately wanted to talk to the car full of nationals, but hand signals and charades only last so long. In our one small suitcase, we had small gifts for the children. They were received with great delight.
Then it happened — Mom pulled out one of the Bibles we had hidden in our luggage. Not knowing where this would lead, I held my breath as she began turning through the pages. The lady’s eyes opened almost as wide as her gaping mouth.
Mom took a huge chance. The New Testament was not in the national language. It was in one of the hundreds of rural, indigenous languages. We were at a disadvantage, not knowing how to identify people who could read the books or tell the books apart.
My head was on a swivel checking for new faces in our car. I asked Mom how she knew this lady would keep our secret. She said, “Honey, can’t you see the difference in their eyes?” Upon closer inspection, she was right. Hope lives in the eyes of those who know Jesus.
Our new Asian friend stayed up all night absorbing God’s Word. The next morning she was standing at the foot of our bed weeping over the Gospel of John. We could not talk to her about her faith, but we could sit and pray quietly with her the rest of the trip.
Over the course of the next few days, a uniformed policeman approached us. Mom asked the leader of our trip if he thought it would be all right to give him a Bible. It was a risk she wanted to take. “If we perish, we perish,” he said.
The policeman needed a Bible for his wife who was a Christian, though he was not. With great gratitude he held the Scripture close to his chest.
At the hotel, two army generals met team members in the foyer. They were on assignment to receive and deliver the suitcases full of Bibles for their discreet, secondary roles as members of the underground Church.
Today, it is with great humility that I reflect on the stack of Bibles gathering dust in just one room of my house. This stack numbers 22 Bibles — close to the same number we delivered in our luggage to rural areas not so long ago.
Little did I know that just over a decade later I would be devoting my life to bringing God’s Word to people still waiting.
Editor’s note: Kim and Miki Clement are a dynamic mother-daughter duo. Kim joined our staff in 2010, while Miki contributes as a contract writer.