Welcome, Reading Friends and New Subscribers! We have D.I. Telbat’s final chapter 3 of his Christian short story “Get Ready”! He also has an author note at the end with background of this Christian fiction inspired by a true story. (You can find Chapter 1 here, and Chapter 2 here.) Be sure to read our Novel News and Celebration Update after the story!
by D.I. Telbat
The following Saturday, Jill went to her family’s church at a time when she knew one of the elders would be there with his wife, preparing the sermon for the following day. The man’s name was Millard, and he’d been a preacher at the church since before Jill was born. As a child, she’d been terribly intimidated by the boisterous speaker, but on this day, she firmly shook his hand and seated herself in front of his desk. She guessed her newfound confidence had everything to do with knowing what God wanted her to do.
“This is a first, uh, Jill.” He sat back in his chair. “I thought you’d switched churches. Haven’t seen you in some months.”
“I was doing some research.” Jill held her worn Bible on her lap. “I came to talk to you about foreign missions. I understand a lot of churches across South Dakota, Wyoming, and Idaho don’t really favor supporting missionaries.”
“That’s right. It’s because there’s no future in it, not to mention accountability. A missionary overseas could be taking church money and living on some beach in Southern France, and we’d never know it. We have to be good stewards of God’s money.”
“What if there were accountability? What if you had someone who could check on and vouch for what a missionary was doing overseas? Would you support him then?”
“Him? What’s this about?” He leaned forward and shook his finger. “Is this about that Syd Garson boy? I always thought you were an odd child, Jill. You were infatuated with him. It was the subject of some talk at one point, the way you used to follow him around.”
“Talk between whom?” Jill laughed and glanced at the open door where the man’s wife sat at a desk preparing Sunday’s bulletin. “Who did you talk to about a young girl’s crush on a boy?”
“Not just any boy—Syd Garson. Everyone he attracted went against me, eventually. They all left the church. Why do you think I had him stop teaching adult Sunday school?”
“What? I thought he quit to get ready for Libya.”
“No, I made him quit because he was teaching inappropriately through the Book of Acts. I told him not to. People always become misguided, then they run off and abandon their home church. We have enough people to reach for Christ right here in Wyoming—or anywhere else in America. But, Libya? Africa?”
Jill frowned and looked down at the carpet. How had this man ever preached from the Bible if he didn’t approve of missions?
“Well, Pastor Millard, I guess you won’t like what I have to say next, then.” She took a deep breath. “God has called me to Libya as well.”
“I knew it! Syd has been writing others, hasn’t he? Poisoning everyone against me!” He roughly opened a drawer and yanked out a bundle of envelopes with foreign postage stamps. With a sneer, he threw them on the desk. “Go ahead. I’m sure there’s nothing there you haven’t heard from him already.”
“I can have these?” Trembling, she picked up the dozens of envelopes held together with a rubber band. She thumbed through them, recognizing Syd’s slanted handwriting on the front. “These aren’t even opened! You didn’t read them?”
“Why would I? He left us.”
“What if he needed something?” Jill shook her head. “What if something went wrong? You’re a coward and a bigot, Pastor Millard! How dare you condemn a man who gave everything to serve Christ! You’ll answer to God for this!”
Clutching her Bible and the letters, she marched from the office. His wife sat at her computer, her mouth agape, having heard every word.
In her car, Jill leaned against the steering wheel and prayed for calm until her trembling ceased. Then, still in the parking lot, she read Syd’s first letter, post-marked two years earlier. He’d been living with a Berber family, taking Arabic lessons. Another letter said he’d found a job in a cement factory. Later, he asked for prayer since he’d been fired for sharing the gospel. In Tripoli, many people spoke English, so, with their help, he learned to speak Arabic fluently.
The rest of his letters were an epic story of a man living by faith, through heartache and isolation. A Bible study was started in one home. Three families attended. It lasted four months, until the apartment was fire-bombed by Sharia loyalists. He himself was ambushed one night and attacked with clubs. He’d survived only by outrunning his attackers, and stitching up his own cuts.
When he led another family to Christ, he kept their conversion secret and had a private Bible study with them, which lasted for six months. It ended when the father believed he should return to his home city of Benghazi where his extended family lived—to teach them about Jesus.
Syd found a job as a janitor at a Muslim university where he’d worked alone on the night shift. He said it made no sense why they’d hired him, unless it was to put an infidel in his place, which Syd was just fine with. After his shift, he would stay through the mornings to witness to students. But after a warning, he was caught sharing Christ again with students, and was fired.
When it was discovered that almost a dozen students had converted to Christianity, Syd wrote that he’d been questioned by police. When he was released under threat, he suspected his arrest was imminent, so he left Tripoli. Since he’d spent most of his money on printing Christian literature in Arabic, and buying Arabic Bibles on the black market, he had only enough money to flee to Misratah, farther east on the coast of the Gulf of Sidra.
In the most recent letter, Jill yelped aloud at the sight of her name. She read it again, slowly. He was still living in Misratah, saving up money to buy more Bibles, working as a stable boy at an Arabian horse racing estate. Since he knew horses, the owner didn’t care that he was a Christian, and actually enjoyed talking “religion” with Syd. But the owner kept requesting that Syd contact the woman he kept boasting about—the woman back in Wyoming who was a horse expert, Jill Baxter.
“My rich boss’s demands to fetch Jill must be what I’ve been prayerfully waiting for,” Syd wrote. “It must mean Jill is ready to come over here and help with the ministry. She can reach out to the women and children on the estate, like I haven’t been able to do, and introduce them to Jesus. Please tell Jill I’m coming back for her. Everywhere I turn, God is opening doors, even though on the fringes there is danger and opposition. The Word of God cannot be stopped!”
At the bottom of the letter, Syd wrote the day he would arrive back in the States for two days—just long enough to collect Jill and take her back with him. Jill checked her wallet calendar, knowing there were no accidents with God. That was the very day he was returning!
Before Jill drove to the airport, she sobbed tears of joy into her hands. God had made her two years of preparation pass so quickly, and now she would be serving Him by working as a vet in Libya—alongside the man who owned her heart!
Fully committed to God and called to Libya herself, Jill better understood now, with God behind them, they didn’t have a choice but to respond for Christ’s sake. She would go now even if Syd wasn’t there. Of course, it was preferable that he was!
Jill started the car and drove to the airport. She worshipped her Lord aloud the entire way. He had prepared her to answer His call in His time!
The End of Christian Short Story “Get Ready”
Author D.I. Telbat’s Note:
“Get Ready” was inspired by a true story. Several years ago, a young Christian man who lived in the Western US represented Voice of the Martyrs (VOM), visiting various evangelical churches across several US states. Armed with a slide show to encourage congregations to pray for the persecuted church, he found a barrier erected against him. Pastors by the dozens denied him entry to their church to speak about overseas missions. Of the approximate 200 churches he was commissioned by VOM to reach, less than ten permitted him to speak, and those few allowed him only a few minutes to call attention to the Great Commission.
Undaunted, that young man committed himself to the task that so many churches today reject—the gospel outreach. With Vision Beyond Borders, he smuggled Bibles into dangerous countries, braving customs agents many times, and almost getting arrested. He also served on an outreach with Samaritan’s Purse. Today, he continues to live courageously for the Lord, urging whoever will listen in America to answer the call of God upon their lives.—David Telbat
NOVEL NEWS: Dark Vessel, Book 4 in The COIL Series, is NOW OUT in Paperback! You can find it at our CreateSpace eStore here. (Subscriber, be sure to use your discount code for David’s paperbacks from our eStores. If you no longer have the code, feel free to contact Dee for it again.) Dark Vessel is also available in paperback from Amazon here! (aff) Book 5, Dark Zeal, will be out in paperback later this year.
2016 CELEBRATION NEWS: We are finalizing details for our 2016 Celebration & Giveaway! YOU are officially invited to help us CELEBRATE our 5 Years of Blogging, our New Website, and D.I. Telbat’s two newest eBooks in his new series, The COIL Legacy! The 5 Prizes will include FREE e-copies of Distant Contact, Custom Short Stories (we call them Last Stand Chronicles), a future novel character named after a winner, and more! Be sure to join Dee April 28 for final celebration details on how and when you can enter! Visit our CONTEST & GIVEAWAY PAGE HERE.
COMING UP: Join us Apr 28th for a Dee Peeks post with details about our 2016 5-Day CELEBRATION & GIVEAWAY! She’ll share the list of prizes as well as dates. Next Monday, come back for an “Inside Look of New Novel, Distant Contact.”