This morning at about 10:30 AM MST I was shot in the back of the head while lying face-down on the floor. A group of eleven missionaries and I were kidnapped by local rebels, and after an hour and a half of intense circumstances and conversations, we were asked to select two people from our group who would volunteer to be killed. With mothers and fathers sitting around me and as the only single man in the group I willingly offered myself up. The other person was an older woman. As we made our decisions we were asked if there was anything that we'd like to tell our families if the rest made it out alive, I immediately thought of my mom. My heart was torn in two as I thought of her hearing of my death. Tears filled my eyes as I told them to tell my parents and my sister and brother how much I love them and to reassure them that I willingly offered up my life for the sake of the Gospel. One of the other women in the room started crying. She was thinking of my mother and how she would feel to lose her own son. Soon one of our captors came and we were quickly rushed out of the 8 ft. x 8 ft. enclosure. He told us to lie on our stomachs. I barely had any time to whisper a prayer before the shots rang out and I realized that my life was over.
While this may seem humorous, believe me it was anything but. For many of the people who were a part of this mornings simulation this scenario is a potential reality. Many of those here at training are going to volatile countries. While the Czech is fairly stable, anything is possible and so we took this exercise very seriously. It made me face the idea that I could potentially die in this manner. There are no guarantees. It also gave me an urgency to tell my family that I love them and to talk about these issues. I was so encouraged as I talked to my parents this afternoon and told them how much I loved them and to let them know that if I were ever in this situation for real that I would respond in the same manner. Both of my parents were very encouraging and said that they have actually talked about it already and that if I were to die on the field that they would both be devastated, but would hold fast to the hope of seeing me again in heaven and in knowing that I died for the Noblest of Causes.
The funny thing is that the point of the scenario wasn't to prepare us for this type of event, but rather to see how we interact with people in intense situations. It was hard for me today. God taught me a lot about who I am. He is continuing to peel away layers of my heart and reveal things that I didn't know about myself. It hurts, but I know that it is good and that it is part of God's process to make me more like His Son.