Joel of Jerusalem Apr/May 1970
SOME WERE EAGER TO LISTEN
My Dear Friends—SHALOM!
Recently I was called up for three days duty to instruct recruits in my specialty—mine detection and diffusion. I had to work 18 hours every day. The first day the Commanding Officer introduced me to the young soldiers and said: “This is the man on whom we depend. He has had much experience for 21 years in mine detection, so listen to him if you want to live!”
During the instruction time I was serious and businesslike, but during recess I was just another buddy with all of them. Several of the older soldiers kept an eye on me, as they already knew me from previous occasions. Some of them said to me, “You have a great responsibility with all these new recruits (actually 18 year old kids). You are to train them in a very short time. I hope you will not infect them with your “disease.”
“If you wish,” I said, “let’s go to the Company doctor to see who of us is in better health, you or I.”
It so happens that in my military record there is a notation “Health: 97%.” The other man’s record is only 70%. “You see, I am in perfect physical health, and also in spiritual health. I believe I was given this job because they have confidence in me. However, I depend not on myself, but on the Lord. Every time I go into action I commit myself into the hands of the Lord, who takes care of me in every peril. I also seek to instill into the young soldiers the same spirit, never to depend on themselves, but to be circumspect and not over confident. There is ONE who watches over all of us, and we need His help at all times.”
As we talked this way some of the young recruits joined us and listened to our conversation. However, the fanatics tried to stop the conversation, not wanting the youngsters to know what we were talking about. But the young men said: “We too want to hear what this man has to say. It is very important to us.” But the older men told me not to say a word to the recruits, otherwise they would complain to the C.O. about me. I told them the story of the prophet Elijah, whose life was threatened on Mt. Carmel, but God caused the water to burn, and who were the ones who had to die? The false prophets.
The young recruits insisted, “This is our free time, and we have the right to speak to anybody about anything we want.
As it was lunch time, the sergeant in charge of religious affairs and a few of his friends had a brilliant idea. They brought a football and invited the recruits to play football. But strangely enough, they were left holding the ball, and none of the youngsters joined them! They looked sheepish, and willy nilly joined our group again, doing everything to disturb us. This lasted until the lunch hour was over. Then, of course, I started my official instruction period again.
After supper time, at about 7 o’clock, the military chaplain was scheduled to deliver a message followed by a film. The yoUngsters were willing enough to watch the film, but said: “We have had enough of the chaplain, and would rather he would not bother us.”
Some of them came to me again to continue our discussion. And so the three days passed very quickly. I did not have one free moment to myself, but it was a great opportunity to give my testimony. I made the most of it.
Now every Saturday we go with all the family to Bible class, and have a good time of fellowship together. We always pray for you.