After another flight, a taxi and three bus rides, I reached base just after 2 AM and found the Bible smugglers gathered in prayer. The passage rate for the Bible smuggling runs had dropped to a trickle and on Wednesday only one of the Bible smugglers had made it across the border with his load. Since 11:30 PM, all Bible smugglers had been praying together for the Lord to increase the passage rate.
The faces of the gathered Bible smugglers bore the seriousness of the situation and the intensity of the spiritual battle. They asked about my trip so I recounted highlights of the Lord’s provision, guidance, Satan’s inability to contain the Gospel in the region visited and the brave Christians I had met. Their spirits seemed to lift and the prayers continued until 5 AM, this time including praises to God for what He is doing in the interior of the target country.
Thus dawned my last day to serve among the Bible smugglers. After a bit of sleep and then praying on my own, I went to the warehouse and found it standing room only after the arrival of a team of seven guys from a small northern European nation.
A local leader had just finished the orientation and briefed them about the tightness of the border. I looked around at the faces and saw concern, perhaps tinges of fear, especially on the faces of those who were about to go on the first Bible smuggling runs of their lives.
All ten of us bowed our heads and began to pray, and prayed for over an hour and half. It was a powerful time of seeking the Lord. Then followed a flurry of activity as we packed our bags in relative silence punctuated by the sounds of boxes being cut, ripped, Bibles being stacked, zippers zipping, clasps opening and closing.
Personally, I had been praying for this run throughout my trip to the interior (see Bible Detective), during which the impression that I should haul the heaviest load I can physically haul had strengthened. I had shared that impression during the night’s prayer and two of the local Bible smugglers, including a leader, had encouraged me, saying that the lone passage granted on Wednesday had been to one of them while pulling the heaviest load he had ever pulled.
I pulled out the 2 largest wheeled suitcases and a large backpack, and began to stuff them with Bibles. Then something unexpected happened. One of the other local leaders saw what I was doing and invited me into the luggage room, pulled out a medium-sized suitcase and said, “You’ve been caught a couple of times now, so why don’t you carry this one instead?”
While I knew he meant well, I had a strong sense that this wasn’t what the Lord wanted. After all, we had just prayed and told the Lord that we are helpless. The only way for us to get across was by His miracles, and we had professed our faith in His mighty power. Switching to a medium-sized bag because I had been caught recently seemed an action based on the past, not focused on God and a disavowal of the faith we had expressed to God in prayer just now and last night. I politely but firmly declined his suggestion and continued to pack the three big bags.
When we had finished packing, a noticeable gouge had been made in the wall of Bible boxes. Over a ton of Bibles were in bags and suitcases, which along with the nine others before me was a sight to behold. All of us were in civilian clothes, but we were ten soldiers, albeit ragtag, for Christ about to charge the enemy lines.
Does God Exist?