Crossing borders


Crossing bordersWe hit the Honduran-Nicaraguan border at 5:30 a.m. We had been warned: the Nicaragua border officials would try to exact a bribe.

Crossing BordersSure enough. Our marching band instruments weren’t listed on a document stating their purpose was performance. Thus, the officials said, it was assumed they were merchandise and would have to pay tax. At this time I had been a Central American missionary for 14 years and was familiar enough with political corruption to not get outraged. I also knew how to game it.

Crossing bordersPlaying dumb, I pretended that the officials weren’t sincerely sure that we constituted a marching band heading to Managua to outreach. I gave the order for band members to grab their instruments and assemble in formation “for a demonstration.” Border officials hadn’t expected this. But at 5:30 a.m., neighbors weren’t going to want to wake up to banging bass drums and blaring trumpet.

Lighthouse Christian Academy marching band

Since returning to the States in 2011, we have formed a marching band for local July 4th parades. Unfortunately, kids have too much Nintendo, and not many want to get involved.

It took just one song for red-faced border officers to growl at me (still playing dumb) about some law prohibiting trumpet blowing on the border. “Get out of here!” they muttered through their teeth. I was later told that people who don’t want to capitulate to bribe-seekers usually have to wait hours to wear down the bordermen’s patience. It hadn’t taken us but minutes to slide through like a duck into water.

The pastors who were with us on the evangelistic team were impressed. But the key was to NOT panic, to have a quiet confidence that we WILL get over the border without any hitch, and that I could find the right words and actions to help the process.

There is a lesson for prayer here. When it SEEMS like we’re getting a “no” from God, keep patiently praying with CONFIDENCE. That is faith. Of course, God is not a corrupt border official (neither is He the unjust judge of Luke 18:6, but He compares Himself to such to make a point).

  1. Don’t panic. Don’t start thinking God doesn’t want to give you the desired answer.
  2. Keep your cool.
  3. Remain believing, confident of the answer, expecting His goodness.
  4. Don’t use vain repetitions but seek new expressions of your love for Him and your desire to see such-and-such an answer given.
  5. Keep at it until you’ve gotten the answer.

You’ll probably think less of my “spirituality” for saying this, but it’s hard not to chuckle at those border officials. I joined their poker game and laid out the winning hand.

It’s hard not to enjoy the wonderous miracles granted by God to His patient servant who prevails in prayer.

Maybe you need to cross a “border” in your life. Remain confident and pray calmly.

52 responses to “Crossing borders

  1. Well Done!!! God answers prayers in many different ways and forms!! And who doesn’t want to hear a marching band at 5.30am!!! God does!!!!

  2. Ah! They were afraid it was Gabriel! Lol. You’re great. God knew who He needed when He chose your family!

  3. Haha… what fun to beat down the baddies in such a good humored way. πŸ™‚

  4. yourothermotherhere

    Josh won the battle at Jericho, Jericho, Jericho…

  5. Wow! This is one of the best posts you’ve written. I’m sure you were quietly praying for guidance and wisdom during this experience. There are biblical examples of using the wisdom of God’s people to overcome evil and when in heaven, I’m sure you’ll see this in that Hall of Fame! Well done,

  6. That is awesome! My husband just signed up as a follower of your blog. I can’t wait to talk about this one with him! Love it! Keep on marching, brother!

  7. Hilarious and good πŸ™‚

  8. It is the same way with us in Uganda. When we are stopped by traffic police, we end up sitting for 15 minutes or more waiting for a policeman to tell us what is wrong and then he wants a bribe. We sit longer and eventually he tells us to go. Last time a policeman stopped us and wanted a bribe and when we didn’t give home any money, he told us we needed tires on our van or the next time he would confiscate the van. All it takes is a little patience and it wears them down. Thank you for your post today.

  9. Wow!! This is a great story and message! Thanks for sharing. :0)

  10. I love the prayer checklist! As a military veteran, I can work with a checklist. I’m not sure what wins – the checklist or the impromptu concert!

  11. I’m reminded of Psalm 59:8 and other passages that speak of God laughing at those who oppose Him. Also, I’m very interested in the flag and word, “Japon” that appear in your picture. Japan certainly doesn’t share a border with Nicaragua!

  12. Maybe put “Amazing Grace” on the list of songs to play with the band at the border

  13. This is great!!! Thanks for posting!

  14. Pingback: How do you want to feel today? | My daily thoughts

  15. Truly amazing!! So inspiring too! Bravo!!

  16. It seems you have a good work going on here. I too am connected to a web-ministry and really appreciate what goes into one. Good luck with yours…

    Steve

      • It is very kind of you to help me with my new site! I’ll be visiting your site often, I like the way you present biblical messages!

        Take care,
        Steve

        • If you every have any questions, I have learned a few things. Not everything though.

          • Thanks. Same to you as I have worked and studied for years in the scriptures. I don’t know everything either, but I’ll be happy to share my Lord with you…

            Thanks,
            Steve

            • I meant, if you have any questions about blogging.

              • Oh, yes I appreciate that. I certainly need to know a lot more, and you have obviously have learned how to become successful here.

                In fact, I will ask what you think are the top two or three most important things I should concentrate on in this my first month…

                Thanks so much,
                Steve

                • It all depends on what your goal is. If you want to gain followers, then I suggest you pass out “likes” as if they were business cards. There are so many bloggers that don’t get hardly any “likes” so they really appreciate it if you do it. They’ll often come back to your blog and “like” yours. A percentage of them will sign up to follow you. When they do this, follow them. What it took me a while to learn was this: I should spend equal parts writing and visiting otehr people’s blogs. I didn’t know that at first. I thoght that if I just wrote well, I would attract a following. Well, it doesn’t work that way. In my case, I cut down posting and stepped up “liking” and commenting and reading and re-blogging — all ways to being people to follow you. It is not an overnight process. But you can get 100 followers in two weeks if you’re diligent. πŸ™‚

  17. I’ve met those customs officials! One of them owns the extra set of guitar strings I brought with me!

    Thanks for sharing!
    \o/

  18. noordinaryjoy61

    I needed this today… thank you! And I even got the point without having to hear a marching band at 5:30 a.m. I’m one smart Canadian :).

  19. Well done, and its biblical. You were as smart as a serpent, and gentle as a dove! I love it.

  20. I LOVE this! They were playing a game, it is perfectly fitting that you played a game right back at them. Both sides knew the rules. Beautifully done!

    Cheers! πŸ™‚

  21. Inspiring post! Good thinking!

  22. I like the close of the post, the application of borders in our life.

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