As a young man I worked for an oil company in the Middle East. My work was in Yemen, just at the south west tip of the Arabian Desert or Empty Quarter. This was the ancient land of Sheba (like “Queen of”). It was a mighty civilization 10,000 years ago but has been going steadily downhill since then. In the local market you could get diapers, cigarettes, an AK-47 machine gun for $500, or a rocket launcher for $5000. Almost every man (or boy over 12) carried a gun.
Christmas morning 1988, I was headed out to a well site. The directions to get there were drive two hours along the paved road (they actually had a plow to remove the encroaching sand dunes), head west into the desert for an hour, then head northwest when you come across the (only) tree.
I never made that far. While travelling along the road, I saw a Toyota pickup coming up fast behind me. As it passed, a local man in the passenger seat with his scarf draped over his face looked directly at me. Then he pulled up an AK-47 and waved for us to stop. Like any stupid young man I floored it and started to pull away. A volley of fire hit my vehicle, bullets pinging off the fenders. A local worker travelling with me who spoke only Arabic, said, in perfect English, “Stop now.”
I pulled over and the two men in the pickup pulled us out of the car and laid us face down in the sand on the side of the road. One let out a loud whoop and shot a burst of fire into the air. He got in my truck and drove off into the desert. A transport truck came along in about an hour and gave us a lift to a nearby refinery.
Not your typical Christmas story but it had a big impact in my life. More importantly I learned two lessons. One, God has a plan for my life and I need to give him every opportunity to reveal it—he has me alive on this Earth for a reason. Two, I realized that any day could be my last and my most valuable possession is eternal salvation through Christ. Jesus is my lord and Savior, is he yours?
“For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain”
~ Phil 1:21
David Hunsinger, Sound Guy