Most inspiring (and entertaining and even humorous) were the stories told by the missionaries on home assignment. I will never forget the story told by Michael Lowery who serves, with his wife Jill, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. One night Mike and Jill were awakened by the cries of one of their children. Mike responded by saying to Jill, “Your turn.” Jill dutifully went to check on them.
Shortly, she called out, “Mike, you had better come in here and take a look at this!” Mike drug himself out of bed and sleepily made his way to the children’s bedroom. The sight he saw immediately jolted him to a state of complete wakefulness. There was a wide column of what seemed to be thousands of army ants crawling in the bedroom window and down the wall. Mike immediately had everyone flee the room. Mike retrieved a can of insecticide from the kitchen and began spraying the ants. The ants did not react well. (Mike admitted that they had been warned not to do this). The ants attacked Mike and began climbing his legs and biting. He retreated, shut the door to the bedroom, and picked the ants off his legs. The whole family went to the parents’ bedroom. Mike and Jill made some makeshift beds for the children on the floor. Everyone went to sleep but only for a short while.
The parents were again awakened by cries from the children. They had ants in their hair. Everyone got out of bed and fled to the living room. Mike closed their bedroom door and stuffed towels under it. Then he and Jill picked the ants out of their children’s hair and put them to bed on a table. Mike sat up in a chair on guard against any advancing ants, thinking about how much sleep he was losing. The flesh was week, and after awhile he feel asleep, only to be awakened by a cry from his wife from the kitchen, “Mike, you had better come in here and take a look at this!”
The kitchen was full of what seemed to be millions of ants coming from cupboards and everywhere and heading out the kitchen window. On top of the wave of ants were lizards and roaches that they were carrying off. Mike described the roaches as being on their backs with their waving feet in the air, calling out, “Help me! Help me!” Mike did not answer their calls for help. After awhile the whole column of ants and their cargo of live and dead vermin were gone. They had been “on a mission”—a mission to search for and retrieve food and return it to their colony’s nest. Nothing was going to dissuade them from their task or stand in their way.
Mike and Jill didn’t recognize it at the time, but the visit of the ants proved to be a real blessing. They had unsuccessfully been trying to poison the roaches for weeks, even to the point of almost making themselves sick with the insecticide. After the army ants passed through, their roach problem was gone. You never know how God is going to bless or who or what God is going to use as His instruments. They found other inspiration in the event, as well. Like the army ants, we as God’s people are “on a mission”. Nothing is to dissuade us or turn us aside. God has promised to be with us as we perform our mission and help us sometimes in quite unexpected and mysterious ways. May we be as persistent and dedicated as the army ants.
©2002 C. David Hess