Angel in the Bush Part I – Vietnam
by D.I. Telbat
Nathan “Eagle Eyes” Isaacson aimed the AK-47 assault rifle at the group of villagers coming down the trail. There were ten armed men, mostly with clubs and machetes, but a couple had guns.
The jungle of the Cuu Long River—or Nine Dragons—in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta, choked the ancient trail. Foliage hid Nathan so well that if he didn’t make a sound, the band of villagers would pass him without notice.
Raising the muzzle, Nathan aimed it over their heads. He had bought the rifle in Tan An, a city southwest of Saigon, for this very mission. The weapon would’ve been deadly in anyone else’s hands, but not in Nathan’s hands. The ex-Marine with thick, angled eyebrows wasn’t in Southeast Asia to kill, but to protect.
He fired a burst of gunfire above the approaching men. They dove into the bushes as Nathan’s thirty round clip clicked on empty. The jungle would have been quiet again if it were not for the screeching birds, but they soon settled. Nathan tossed the rifle into the brush. The noisemaker had done its job; it was no longer of use to him.
“I think we got them!” Nathan yelled in Chinese, a phrase he had memorized for this one occasion.
Making enough noise for five men, Nathan barged through the vines and trees away from the trail. Pausing, he changed the tone of his voice, and yelled the Chinese phrase again. A few seconds of silence passed. If the diversion didn’t work, Nathan didn’t know what else to try.
Suddenly, the jungle was alive. Men were yelling, a couple wild gunshots were fired in his direction, and the villagers crashed through the trees toward him.
Anyone else would’ve fled in panic, but Nathan smiled. The COIL agency had been contacted to protect the bi-annual baptismal ceremony of Christians in the area. The Commission of International Laborers had responded by deploying Nathan and Juan “Scooter” Blanco.
Normally, Nathan would not have attempted a diversion alone. Drawing communist aggressors away from the otherwise secret ceremony was a two or four man job, but Scooter had been needed north of Saigon on another last-minute mission.
Nathan charged ahead of the armed party, making much noise. The sun was setting. If he could keep the diversion up for a few more minutes, no one contrary would reach the baptismal party in time to catch the Christians, and their identities would remain intact.
Though too young to have served in the Vietnam War, Nathan was a veteran of numerous campaigns and missions with COIL—for Christ.
As dusk settled over the jungle and the canopy above would hide all moonlight, he donned a night vision headset over one eye. Otherwise, he carried only a canteen and a few nutrition bars.
After a half-mile, Nathan stopped to let his pursuers catch up some. He took a swig of water and closed his eyes. For a moment, the humidity, insects, and danger were blocked out, and he focused only on his Lord, whom he served. And he prayed that Scooter’s mission was also proceeding as planned.
Lives were at stake, true, but COIL men and women served a higher need.
THE END of Angel in the Bush Part I
Read of true stories of persecuted Christians at Open Doors.