THE LAST FRONTIER (BP)–Four Southern Baptist volunteers imprisoned in a restricted-access country in Asia emerged after two days, testifying to God’s goodness and expressing an unfaltering desire to see the message of God’s salvation taken to the ends of the earth.
Government officials seized the volunteers who had been in the country for several days. The group was told only that they were being held for trying to profit from materials deemed “illegal” by the government.
Taken to a prison, the group was told a higher-level official would attend to them shortly. Emotions were high, the group admitted, as minutes became hours and clearly no one was coming to see them.
“We were hungry and hadn’t rested. It had been about four days since we last showered,” said ‘Alexa.’ “I got pushed around a bit, and that’s when the emotions got really high. But that’s also when we began to recognize that it was a spiritual battle that we were in — not a struggle against man.”
Kay said it seemed almost surreal.
“It started out like something out of a movie,” said ‘Kay.’ “There was one dim light and a dirty one-room cell. But we were so at peace. Psalm 27:1 kept going through my mind: ‘The Lord is my light and my salvation — whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life — of whom shall I be afraid?’ Looking at our jailers, I knew — straight up — that God was sovereign.”
Left alone by their captors, the four gathered and prayed in the cell, making the decision to give God the glory for their situation.
“It was clear we had a choice,” Kay said. “We talked about it and prayed, then ‘Colvin’ busted out the guitar. It was an amazing time of praise and worship.”
‘Colvin,’ the only male in the group, said there had been discussion as to whether he should bring his guitar on the trip, which would involve daily trekking. Any doubt soon disappeared as the group worshiped in their tight quarters.
“I’ve led worship in a lot of places,” he said. “But this by far was the most intense. Singing the words: ‘Here I am to bow down; here I am to say that You’re my God’ will never be the same for me again. There was so much value to the words.”
The group was held for a night and a day, sitting through interrogations by several officials, who had no proof to back up their charges against the volunteers. They were given bread and water to eat.
The second night, the group was allowed out of their cell, although they weren’t yet released. In a courtyard, in full view of their guards, the group held a covert praise time.
“We all held UNO cards for a facade, but had an awesome prayer time,” said Kay. “We knew it was Sunday morning in the States and that church was starting. So we began to praise God for that, knowing people were praying for us. Then we realized it was Father’s Day, so we really had a time of thanksgiving to our Father and for our earthly fathers.”
Although all four were on their first overseas trip, the entire group knew going to a restricted-access country would not be easy. Yet all confessed a sense of peace through knowing their only course of action was obedience.
“I knew I was called to be on this trip,” said ‘Zephyr.’ “I knew I couldn’t run from going. If you know in your gut that God is calling you — go for it; don’t resist. God is going to do amazing things through you. My parents and everyone else thought all along that the worst would happen. So I truly hope this is a testimony to them.”
After their second night of captivity the group was released and ordered out of the country. As they were escorted across the border into the neighboring country, Kay said they felt as if they were replaying a portion of the book of Acts.
“We left there totally in an Acts 5:41 frame of mind,” she said, “like when the apostles left rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for Jesus. When we crossed the border, Colvin busted out his guitar again and we sang and praised God for the entire trip.”
Colvin said that although the ordeal tested them in ways they had never experienced before, not one in the group felt deterred from the task of serving God in a dangerous world. The world is a dangerous place, but the worst thing someone can do is to deny the call of God on his life, Colvin said.
“You belong to God,” he explained. “The worst thing you can do is take a life that doesn’t belong to you. You can meet Jesus out here.”
Added Alexa: Yes it’s worth it. And I want to go back. We were all broken — it was a true glimpse of God.”
EDITORS’ NOTE: Names and locations in the story have been changed or omitted for security reasons.