Monday, November 26, 2012

Angels in the Jungle



                                                Angels in the Jungle


          Six days and not a thing to eat; if not for the occasional drops of water that Drake collected through the broken glass, he knew for sure he would be dead. The bars on the window and the steel door with the lock and chain had become his prison. Sleeping on the damp, cold packed dirt was taking a toll on his bones. He also knew that he was at least fifteen pounds lighter since arriving in the jungle. The Lord was supposed to keep missionaries safe, so why were his four friends along with him, suffering in this place. It had not stopped pouring for the past three days and to Drake it was like manna from heaven. He tried to encourage his companions by reciting from memory, verses from the bible. They discussed, and now understood how the apostles of Jesus had felt and suffered for their belief. Nights were long and the darkness was eerie with absolutely no light and no contact from their captors. It had been two days since anyone had come to look in on them and they counted that as a blessing. For the first four days they had each been taken one by one, beaten and treated like spies. Questions about things the group knew nothing about or even heard of. The group was weak and every man had severe injuries on different parts of their bodies. The worst was Ted, the doctor who had put everything on hold to help those in this remote part of the world. They all knew the risk before coming here to the Philippines. They had heard all the stories and still they chose to serve. Ted had been beaten across his thighs with a bamboo stick and Drake feared he was developing blood clots. Drake was nursing his own injuries that were quickly infecting his back, from lashes that ripped open his skin. The rest were in no better shape with similar injuries. As he nursed his injuries he prayed for the entire group including the one that was not captured.
          It had taken Joel five days of traveling in the cover of darkness before he emerged back in civilization. Another three more days before boarding a flight back to the states. Joel had served in the Rangers Special forces for twelve years before retiring with two purple hearts and a few metals of valor. He was highly respected and was still missed by the men he had served with; and on a phone call, anyone of them would give their lives to come to his aid. He was counting on that before he knocked on the door. Colonel Sanchez had been his best friend and commanding officer his last eight years of active duty and till this day had always stayed in touch. Sanchez opened the door, looked at the man in front of him and with a big smile he said, “Hey there Rigs, looks like you have trouble written all over your face.” Joel shook his commander’s hand, padded him on the shoulder and stepped inside. Driving anything that moved on wheels or tracks, plus the expertise Joel had with explosives, earned him the code name “Rigs” After Rigs had laid out his situation, Sanchez picked up his secure phone and dialed. The voice on the other end answered, “Hello Boss Man, what up?” Sanchez replied, “Seeker, round up the old team and meet at the location at 0600 sharp, wheels up at 0630, will brief in the clouds. BTW, we go black and Rigs is point on this one.” The voice was loud enough for Joel to hear his old friend. “Rigs, That old dog still barking and leaving his mark?” Boss Man stared at Rigs then replied, “That old dog can still bite and hard, wouldn’t want him jumping over my fence.” The two disconnected and Sanchez asked Joel to follow him to the basement. When they were in the cellar, Sanchez entered a code on a key pad and a steel door sprang open. Joel looked inside and then at his friend and said, “looks like you have enough here to start your own little war.” Sanchez smiled, padding Joel on the back hard then replied, “You brought it.”
          Three weeks had gone by, was the best estimation Drake could figure. He had lost count on day ten, drained and in pain his mind was starting to fail him and the group was starting to lose hope.
          Seeker set his tripod and 50 caliber sniper rifle on a small ridge about a half mile from the rebel’s camp. “I have eyes on our bogies and nothing moves unless I say so” Seeker whispered into his comp. Rigs took point with Boss Man, Sliver and Tank bringing up the rear; following in single file to the east side of the camp. Bull, Stalker and Eagle, named for flying gliders on his furloughs, took off at a jog heading west. Drake and his colleagues were huddled in the corner where Silver had told them all to be; dressed in black and his face painted as not to be seen, had told them to huddle at 0200. Sliver had drew the task of recon, with the ability to move around undetected and known for crawling through tight spaces; at Five seven and one hundred and sixty five pounds he was unusual for a special forces. Silver had proven himself with skills most men only wish to posses, martial arts combined with the agility of a mountain lion, he claims and scales walls without ropes or gadgets. He always tells his comrades, Parkour has nothing on me, I invented the sport. He had found his marks and had dropped off MREs, power bars and some meds while delivering the news that the Calvary was lurking and at 0200 all hell would break lose.          Drake and company prayed for the last two hours since eating their meals, which would give them energy to move when the time came to leave. Armed with his M-4A1 assault rifle, Rigs approached the bunkers where his friends were being held. He applied a small piece of C4 to locks and hinges, set the timers for one minute, tapped on the door twice as instructed and took cover a few yards away. The explosions were small, contained and the door barely moved till Rigs walked up and kicked it in. He stepped into the room with Tank on his six and whispering into the comp, yet loud enough for those in the room to hear and said, “That’s why they call me Rigs.” Drake recognized his friend’s voice the second he heard him speak. “I thought you were dead for sure old friend” Drake said while hugging him. “Sorry it took me this long to get back, but I had to go and enlist some old friends” Rigs replied padding him on the back. “Bogies closing in at three o’clock Rigs” Came Seeker’s voice over the comp. “We have to go” said Rigs looking at his friends. “Ted can’t walk” one of the men said, as he helps Ted to his feet. Larry could bench press three hundred and fifty pounds on a bad day, dead lift five hundred pounds on that same day; walk forty klicks with an eighty pound backpack and not break a sweat, earning him the code name Tank. He walked over and without any effort through Ted on his shoulder and brought up the rear. All Drake could hear is the sound of gun fire and bodies dropping like flies. When they were in the cover of forest he asked Rigs “who is doing all the shooting.” Rigs replied, “It’s just our angel name Seeker leaving his mark.” Seven loud explosions and a few more three round burst of automatic gun fire and the night went quiet. Drake saw six more men join the team in two sets of three’s, appearing from opposite directions. When all were accounted for, Rigs took point and speaking into his comp, “fifteen klicks to rendezvous at 0400 so let’s pick up boots and drop the dirt.”
          Drake woke up in his own bed two days later sore and not wanting to move. The phone rang, he reached over to the night stand, picked up and said, “Hello, Drake here.” There was a moment of silence then the voice said, “Hey buddy how you feeling?” Joel asked and Drake replied, “Like I been in a war, so who am I talking to, Joel or Rigs?” Drake asks with a little laughter in his voice. Nah this is Joel, I left Rigs with God and Angels, back in the Jungle.





Psalm 91


 He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress;
My God, in Him I will trust.”

Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler
And from the perilous pestilence.
He shall cover you with His feathers,
And under His wings you shall take refuge;
His truth shall be your shield and buckler.
You shall not be afraid of the terror by night,
Nor of the arrow that flies by day,
Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness,
Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.
A thousand may fall at your side,
And ten thousand at your right hand;
But it shall not come near you.
Only with your eyes shall you look,
And see the reward of the wicked.
Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge,
Even the Most High, your dwelling place,
10 No evil shall befall you,
Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling;
11 For He shall give His angels charge over you,
To keep you in all your ways.
12 In their hands they shall bear you up,
Lest you dash your foot against a stone.
13 You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra,
The young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot.
14 “Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him;
I will set him on high, because he has known My name.
15 He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him,
And show him My salvation.”



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Monday, November 19, 2012

Who Loves You



                                                Who Loves You

          Sue was an angry child, she was bitter at the world, and was resentful and displeased with God. Nothing anyone said to her could put a smile on her face. She grew up with a father who loved to fly his single engine plane whenever her parents went on vacation. Always finding a sitter while they went off with friends, adult trips they would call them. Both of her parents work long hour building their careers. Making fortunes always came before love and their little family. Sue always felt alone, and more at home in a friend’s house, then at her own. By the age of thirteen her parents stop going to church in pursuit of financial freedom. It had been a year since Sue or her parents had attended any services, and the change had not been missed by Sue. Sue remembers her parents early days when wealth was not their priority. The times when Sunday was the Lord’s Day, and nothing else mattered. Sue spent her fourteenth birthday alone while her parents went off on one of their mini weekend vacations with another couple. Her parents never returned from their trip to the Bahamas. Shortly after, Sue found out that her parents had accumulated more debt than wealth. With no family members willing to take her in, she became a ward of the state.          
       Now at twenty-two and tired of life, Sue stared down at the river below, over two hundred feet below the upper deck of the George Washington Bridge. “Lord forgive me for what I’m about to do” she said looking up to the heavens. Unaware that standing to her right, stood a man dressed in a white robe with a purple sash across his chest and sandals on his feet. “I do forgive you” he replied, in a soft and gentle voice. Startled, Sue grabbed at the rail behind her,turned to her right and stared at him for a moment. “I have no doubt of who you are, but this is when you finally decide to show up” she manages to say with a tremble in her voice and her entire body reacted in unison. “I have been with you always Sue,” He said while placing his left hand on her right elbow. “Really?” She replied with a bit of anger in her tone. “I was with you since your birth, made sure you were born healthy” He said with a smile. “And the rest of the time, was it Your idea to abandon me?” She replied sarcastically. “Well your first foster father abused many of the girls before you arrived and we both know where he is serving time today, I never allowed him to touch you. Also the time your friend drove her parents car drunk and ended up wrapped around a tree; whose hand do you think protected you?  Oh and let’s not forget your near drowning at spring break on your eighteenth birthday, night  time and no life guard, yet you woke up on the shore.” She looked at him with tears in her eyes and said; “I’ve been angry with you since the day you took my parents.” Jesus looked straight in her eyes with compassion and replied with a smile;Of that I am guilty, only because they both repented, before they died.”




13 For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother’s womb.


 Psalm 139:13

Monday, November 12, 2012

Ryan’s Prison



          Ryan’s Prison

          Ryan Kirby was forty and accustom to having things his way. He was the youngest CEO to run World Communications Inc. He had taken the position at the age of thirty eight. Around the office, though always behind his back, he was known as little Hitler. He knew that his employees called him that and worst, but he didn't care. He loved to be hated and for everyone to fear him. Daily operations were always to be executed his way. At the weekly board meetings, he didn't ask for options or opinions, he just dished out orders and wouldn't stand for anyone to question him. He had married the founder’s daughter and had worked for the man ten years before he retired and left him to run his empire. Doing almost three billion a year in sales and service they were the third largest communication company in the country. Ryan was no different at home; his wife and children knew that he wanted everything in a certain order and knew better then to alter his rules. Everyone woke, ate and played when he said and his word was final, not even his wife had a say in anything the family did.

          Angie had grown up with a father who was exactly like her husband Ryan and it had been her father who had made Ryan the man he was today. She had met him in college at a friend's party. They had become friends and after she graduated he had stayed in touch and three years later they had married. He was a normal and nice guy back then, she often thought but after years of working for her father he became just like man she hated. Her father had raised her and her brother with nearly no love and expected nothing less than excellence. Her mother just like herself today had no say in the affairs of the day to day life of her children. She was to do as she was told to, when to, and how to, and dare she question his authority. Her father had been physically and mentally abusive, and they were not to ever talk about it inside or worst outside the house. She thought of her mother and how she had died before reaching her sixty second birthday. Her father had buried her mother and shortly after, he had a woman half his age on his arm. She thought of all the times her father dumped out his drawers and her mother had to pick up and refold all his underclothes and socks. Everything had to be color coordinated and folded to his specs. The dirty laundry had to be folded before washing, if it was going to sit overnight; he said it would have a lot less wrinkles. Now here she was living in her mother shoes and seeing no end to her nightmare. I'm not going to be my mother, I stood up to my dad and I will stand up to Ryan. The thing was to pick the right time to make her demands and to stand her ground at all cost. Angie had made up her mind that if Ryan wanted to continue this course of action, she was going to leave her marriage. She knew that with her degree in computer programming, she could make a decent living and raise the children on her own.

          One week after making up her mind, Ryan came home and announces that he would be leaving for a week to South America. He explained in no great details as always, that it would be to start negotiations on opening a hub there for the company. He told her, not asked, that she pack some luggage for him and that he would be leaving in two days.  The following night knowing that he was catching his flight in the morning, Angie decided it was time to make her demands. “We need to talk” she said a little timid and a whole lot nervous. “Talk about what” he replied with the authority he use to always take control before the conversation even got on the way. She thought about backing down and calling off the whole thing, but she knew that life could no longer, go on this way. She stiffened her back, and sat up straight and said, “About the way you treat me and your children. I didn't marry you to be pushed around and treated more like a maid, or a slave, and so that I would have to walk on egg shells. I married you because I loved you, and wanted to spend the rest of my life with you”                     “Wait a minute here” he interrupted, “in this house, I say what is, and what isn't done, and how it will be done. You're my wife, and your duty is to keep this house the way I expect it to be kept. My children are my business, and how they are to be raise, is up to me to decide, and for you to comply with my orders” Angie had started this, but just as quick, she had lost control of the situation. She sat there not believing the venom that came from her husband’s words, and the anger in which he poured them at her. She tried getting in a word, but he would raise his finger to his lips asking her to be quite and just listen. He continued, “I'm the one who pays the bills around here, and I'm the one who will tell you what you will, and will not do around here, are we clear, and that's the end of this conversation, understood.” Angie felt defeated, like someone has knocked the wind out of her sail. She got up off her seat and faced her husband to make one final attempt to make her point and said, “I'm not going to live like this” but before another word came out of her mouth, she felt the back of his hand across her jaw and she was right back in her seat. She could taste the blood in her mouth and wiped at it, and the conformation was on the back of her hand. “Don't you ever tell me what you're going to do or not do, understand” With that he turns to leave but stopped, and said. “Make sure my coffee and breakfast is ready early, I don't want to miss my flight” Angie sat there for over a half hour and just cried till she had no more tears and then just went to bed.

          Ryan was dressed and ready for his South American trip when he entered his dining room to find his coffee and bagel with cream cheese already served. Angie had fixed his usual morning meal and had retreated to her daughter's room before her husband came out of their room and into the kitchen. Ryan's bags were by the front door and after having his meal he walked to the door, pick up his luggage and left without a single word. Angie heard the door of a car slam shout and the vehicle drove off before she came out of the room. The relief was welcome, knowing that a least for a week she would have a little peace and not have to deal with his castapo attitude. How did I end up just like my mother she thought, I had sworn to never marry a man like my father and here I am right where I try so hard to avoid. Where will I go that he won't find us, and where we would be safe? That last thought was more a prayer than just some thinking, because she closed her eyes and bowed her head. When she reopened her eyes she released the tears and quickly wiped them with the bottom of her pajama shirt. Her daughter, now being twelve and inquisitive asked, “why you crying mom”
“ It's nothing sweetie, just something mothers do when they think too much” She replied knowing that answer made no sense. Her daughter just stared for a minute then went to the kitchen for her breakfast before going off to school. Angie found herself alone after her children left and fought off the urge to start packing, so she just sat and let her mind wonder, to the what if. What if, I had not married Ryan, today I would be a programmer for IBM or Microsoft. I may even have been my own boss with my own logo and running a successful company called Angelware, the thought made her laugh at her own silliness. Just as quick as that thought came, so was the return of her predicament and she started to cry and sob uncontrollably. The loneliness didn't help, but Angie didn't have anyone close enough to share her burden, Ryan made sure of that. Everyone that got too close to his family, he made sure one way or another, to make them feel uncomfortable to really be welcomed into their private circle. She sat there and prayed hoping that God was listening; after all she went to church as much as possible on Sundays and attended mid week service when ever her husband worked late. Most of the time he wouldn't allow her to take the children on Fridays to the youth service, because he needed her to do all is bidding. Ryan would forbid them from inviting church members over to their house after services because to him, they were over righteous, and nosey bodies, he called them. She really didn't have friends per say in her church, it was always hi, bye, how you doing, I'm fine and see you next Sunday (if Ryan lets me come) the last thought she would think to herself.  The pastor would often ask to visit and have a talk with her husband, and she always gave an excuse as to why that wouldn't be possible. “Sorry but he's at work, he's out of town on business, or he's not really feeling well today” and then she would feel guilty for lying in the house of God, and had to ask for forgiveness. The problem was that the alternative was worst; a small lie verses her husband's sporadic anger.
          The two men sat in their run down 1974 Renault coupe and watched the exit doors to the terminal as people made their way through. Their inside source said that she would call with a description of the Americano when he unboard. The driver was starting to get a little impatient sitting there for almost an hour. El Dorado International was always heavily guarded here in Bogotá, and already they had attracted a few stares. Fifteen minutes ago one guard had asked for the nature of their business and they had simply said they were waiting on a friend. They had been asked to move and to make their rounds like everyone else, which they had done twice, and always feared they would miss their mark. The phone rang and the woman quickly gave a brief description and hung up. Five minutes later the man came out of the terminal and boarded a cab, with the two men on its tail.
          Ryan arrived at his hotel, picked up his key and went straight to his room to unpack and settle in. His first meeting was at ten in the morning Columbian time the following day; which wouldn’t disturb his usual routine since the time is only an hour behind, then the time back in his home town.  An hour later he had hung his suits and places the rest of his clothing in the drawers, neatly and by colors like he expected from his wife. He locked the door behind him and headed down the hall to the elevator. He just wanted something to eat and then return to his room to rest and relax before the hectic business week ahead. He walked up to the elevators and pressed the down button and waited. The doors opened and the two men from the airport stepped out of the elevator, Ryan entered and rode it to the ground floor. Ryan didn’t see anyone by the front desk to ask for a good place to eat, so he just exited the hotel and ventured out on his own. He walked up the street and a block away from the hotel, found a small clean restaurant. He entered and was glad that the menu was both in Spanish and English. He ordered enough for two meals, paid and headed backed to the hotel. He entered the hotel lobby and noticed once again that no one was manning the front desk, but thought nothing of it and proceeded to his room. He unlocked the door, stepped in shutting it behind him. When he looked straight ahead he was shocked to see a man sitting in one of the chairs and a revolver pointing at his chest. Another man stepped out of the bathroom to his right, he also held a hand gun, and a devious smile on his face. Ryan saw that his suit cases where on the bed, and that all his clothes where thrown in, like dirty laundry in a basket. The man sitting down said in his broken English, “is everything in the bags; we want to make sure we leave nothing behind” Ryan didn’t know what to make of the situation, so he asked, “Are we going somewhere” Again the man sitting down responded and seem to be the one in charge, “you will be our guest for a few days, now you can come the easy way, or the not so easy way. Which is it going to be” Ryan replied “how about I just stay, and you can go without me”  The man by the bathroom put his gun in the back of his waist band, walked up to Ryan, and without warning, punched him in the gut so hard that he buckled over dropping his bag of food and throwing up on top of the bag. Ryan fell to his knees and was trying to regain his breathing, when the man grabbed the back of his hair and made Ryan look at him. “Now just so you know who is in control, you will get up, walk to the bathroom, get a wet towel, and clean this mess up. Because we don’t want to leave any evidence that something happen here, understand” Ryan understood just fine, because unlike the man sitting down, this one spoke perfect English. Feeling smaller then his five foot six inch frame, and no longer having the napoleon syndrome he was accused of exploiting, he cleaned up his puke.
          The two men had driven for over three hours the last time he had a chance to look at his watch, because the brute had confiscated it along with everything else. For the first time Ryan was not in any sort of control, and the feeling was a sinking one. He feared he was going to die because neither man did anything to hide their faces. When they finally came to a halt they were in the middle of no man’s land. All Ryan could see was mountains, he wasn’t even sure that he was still in Columbia. The two men stepped out of the car and didn’t even bother to ask him to follow them. He sat there for over thirty minutes before he got up enough courage to step out himself. The brute came stomping towards Ryan like he was about to do more damage and stop right in front of him. “Did I tell you that you can get out of the car” Ryan was so nervous and scared that he didn’t answer the man, which earned him a slap across the side of his head. “Around here I’m the one who will tell you what you are to do, when you are to do it, and how you will do it, do we understand each other” Said the brute, with a tone that had business written all over it. “Now you sit in that car till I tell you to come out” Ryan stood there for a minute and stared not really knowing how to react, he was not use to taking orders and that earned him another fist in the gut that finish empting what little was left in his stomach. He was grabbed by the collar of his shirt, and shoved back in the car with a headache that came from bumping his head on the top edge of the car. The brute slammed the door and that caused Ryan an ankle injury when his foot fails to enter the car with the rest of his body. Ryan was left to sleep in the car all night, and it wasn’t till midday on day two, that brute came to give him new orders. The door opened and brute stood there and said, “okay its lunch time, are you hungry” Ryan didn’t answer, he just shook his head, and that earned him a slap in the face, then brute snatched him out of the car, stood him up and said, “I don’t really care if you’re hungry or not, but you will fix lunch for my partner and I. looking down at Ryan, brute said “see all those gardens over there, well we grow everything we eat, and everyday you will pick what we will eat” Brute waved his finger at Ryan indicating for him to follow behind as he entered the house. Once inside he showed him the kitchen and then took Ryan out back to a basin and said, these are the dirty clothing and you will hand wash them daily. Ryan asked “why did you choose me” Brute laugh and said, “well I studied in your country, and I needed someone who will help me keep up with the language, and you were the only American who showed up. Now around here you don’t ask you just do what you’re told and we will all be happy, comprende” Ryan asked, “do you know who I am”
“Yes you’re Ryan Kirby from the U.S of A” brute laugh at his own joke. He knew Ryan’s name from the flight manifest and that’s all he knew, but Ryan didn’t know that’s all the information the two men had on him.
          Two days had gone by and Angie had not heard a single word from her husband. She shucked it up to the fact the he left being angry with her. The phone rang and sitting right next to it she reached over, picked up the receiver and said, “Hello”
“Angie, this is Dale, how are you”
“I’m fine thank you, what can I do for you” She replied. Dale was her husband’s VP and also his most trusted employee.
“Well Angie I’m calling to find out if you heard from Ryan, he missed both today and yesterday’s meetings in South America and frankly I’m a little concern” Angie sat paralyzed and speechless and finally said, “no I haven’t talked to him since he left two days ago, and I’ve been worried but figured he was busy and would call when he had a chance” The truth was she was glad he hadn’t call, thinking he would still be mad and would just call to harass her. Though at times her husband could be overbearing she would never wish him ill. She was lost in her thoughts when Dale interrupted her. “Angie I don’t know what to make of this, it’s not like Ryan to be irresponsible. We are going to lose the bid on the contract if he fails to show up and with a real good reason for unconvincing our future partners over there” Without an answer to convince Dale of her husband absences she ended the call. Ryan had left a hotel number in case of an emergency so after hanging up the phone with Dale she dialed the number. The clerk on duty simply said that Ryan had checked out the same day and never returned.
          Three days and Ryan was hurting from the abuse the brute laid on him every time he failed to do exactly as he was told. The brute seem to take pleasure in dishing out pain and punishment, if things weren’t done to the letter of his every command. Ryan started to feel degraded after day four and by day six he was totally defeated and the brute had him eating out of his hand. The brute would call and Ryan was there in a flash knowing by now that the brute would hurt him if he was kept waiting. Ryan had to be in bed at ten at night when all his chores were done and up at five to collect the chicken eggs and clean the pig pens. Then it was over to the gardens to pick the veggies for the day’s meals and then all the cleaning, wash clothing and on and on and on till ten at night and lights out. At the end of day seven Ryan went to his room closed the door and for the first time in over thirteen years, he kneeled down and prayed. “God help me” were the first words out of his mouth. “Why is this happening to me, what have I done to deserve this injustice” In an instant he wished he hadn’t asked that question. The voice was like the wind and like thunder all wrapped in one and Ryan heard it clearly. “Do you not see how you treat people? Do you not know how you degrade your employees?  Do you not see how your words and your actions demoralize your fellow human beings? Do you not see how you destroy the characters of others by making them feel inferior to you? Oh, oh and don’t get me started on how you treat my lovely, humble, and one of the most meek human beings to ever love me, do you know whom I speak of”? The room went deadly quite and Ryan stayed where he was and didn’t dare move. Then the voice returned and this time it had anger in the thunder. “Answer ME now Ryan or this will be you judgment and your punishment”
“My wife, it’s my wife you speak of” Ryan replied while swallowing his own tears and mucus.
“And why should I help you as you first asked”?
 “Because I promise never to be who I was, or act that way again.” The room went silent and Ryan stayed on his knees till he was drained and passed out with only his face on the hard thin mattress.
           When Ryan woke up he realized that he had over slept and fear made him jump knowing the brute would inflict pain if his breakfast wasn’t on time. The sun had long been up because its rays were deep into the room. With more panic then a rat with a cat on its tail, Ryan ran out of his room and found the house silently empty. He walked outside and saw no one, over to the chicken coups and only the chickens and the pigs in their pens. The two men were nowhere to be found. Ryan walked back in the house and still no sign of the two men. He walked into his room and stared at his luggage took three steps, grabbed his small carry on, his wallet, passport and took off running. The car was right where it had been since the day they arrived. He jumped in the driver’s seat, thanked God for the keys in the ignition and the airport was his next stop.
          Eight days since Angie had seen or heard from her husband and she had every police from New Jersey to the equator looking for him. No one was able to give her an answer as to his whereabouts. She had everyone in her church praying that he would turn up, and at this point, dead or alive she just needed to know. The bell rang and Angie got up, walked to the door and answered thinking it would be the police with the news that they had found her husband. The man standing there was a half haggard and run down version of her husband, but it was him. She looked at him and knew immediately that something had change. He didn’t look bossy but more like a bruised up, college days, I’m a nice guy and my name is plain old Ryan. “Where have you been, and what’s happen to you”? Angie asked as she stared and started to cry. I have been learning the art of proper manners, respect for my fellow men, etiquette, and most of all, how to honor, respect, treasure and love my wife. 



43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 
44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,
 Matthew 5:42-44