Hi Reader Friends! David here. Many of you have become attached to popular COIL operative, Nathan Isaacson, one of the leading characters in my COIL novels. I caught up with him for an interview in Hanoi, Vietnam, after he ran an operation in the Coral Sea. [For those who have read Dark Rule, COIL #3, this interview took place during the two-year period between the Gilgal and Zalzuna Missions.]
The coffee house where we met was in the Old Quarter of Hanoi, with French colonial houses on either side of the street. Bicycles with baskets of bright flowers passed by often as we talked.
David: Nathan, it’s a joy to meet with you again. My readers probably know we’ve talked before because I’ve written things that only you could explain in such detail.
Nathan: I think it’s important to testify of God’s hand whenever we have an open door.
David: You look much healthier than when we talked after your imprisonment in Germany. [See Dark Hearted, COIL book #2.]
Nathan: Imprisonment? [chuckles and shakes head] That place was a dungeon! Again, God rescued me in more ways than one.
David: Have you adjusted to the leg brace?
Nathan: The Lord has helped me view it as an asset. You know, sometimes to carry tools of the trade in it.
David: Right. I gave my readers a glimpse of that in your Gilgal operation.
Nathan: Every operation is unique, but that one was one of the strangest.
David: Do you think about the Gillies much?
Nathan: Sure, I think about them, but it’s hard to know what to think of isolationist Christians. We run into Christians in the field who thank us for coming to help, but then tell us ‘no thanks.’ They prefer to do things their own way—which sometimes means death for them.
David: Was that your impression of the Gillies?
Nathan: Well, they weren’t exactly serving God obediently, but they were in trouble nonetheless. Scripture shows me that I need to be obedient. Whatever consequences my obedience brings are God’s business.
David: You and Luigi worked closely as he trained you. Good memories?
Nathan: Luigi? [laughs] It’s hard to define my feelings for Luigi. The guy tries so hard to be a man unto himself, but he’s needy like the rest of us.
David: But he doesn’t admit it?
Nathan: No, he doesn’t. He’s broken about his past. I think he has shame, and maybe some guilt. The guy’s an expert at espionage, but he’s an empty vessel when he’s not in the middle of a project. Only God can fill that emptiness.
David: I’ve always wondered, do you guys spar when you’re training? Like hand-to-hand?
Nathan: Sure. With my leg the way it is now, he wanted to make sure I kept my balance during physical conflict. My center of gravity has shifted some. Luigi’s quick with his hands—maybe the quickest I’ve ever faced.
David: Could you take him? Hand-to-hand?
Nathan: He’ll probably read this, so I’d rather not say. [smiles] But we both know.
David: Can you tell us why you’re in Vietnam?
Nathan: I guess so. The op is finished. A Christian family was kidnapped north of the city. Some flesh marketers were suspected. That’s why I was in Halong Bay. A pretty spot for tourism, but lust and sin prowl everywhere.
David: You saved the family?
Nathan: I wish I could say yes. [frowns] Hundreds of people are sold throughout Southeast Asia. The trail was cold when I got here. I had only a few names to work with. No pictures. I posed as a buyer and took a couple rings down, but the demand is rampant. People around the world don’t realize how bad it is in parts of the globe. I guess it reflects the human heart without Christ.
David: This is a sad reminder that COIL doesn’t always win, or always save the victims.
Nathan: The world’s an evil place, Dave. There’s nothing more heartbreaking than moments like this. We can pray and we can serve with love. We have to believe that God is who He says He is, and that He’s not far from any of us.
David: So, where do you go from here? Any leads on Trevor Niles?
Nathan: No leads. Chances are he’s on the Island of Zalzuna, but we know that place is cut off from the world. From here, I don’t know. I’m waiting for my next assignment from Corban. I hear Cameroon might need a hand with some renegades.
David: How are you doing spiritually?
Nathan: Well, I won’t lie, Dave. It’s hard and lonely out here. A couple hours of action every few weeks is followed by days of inactivity, waiting, praying, reviewing Scripture. It’s hard to not just go through the formalities sometimes, like everyone does, I guess. It takes a constant devotion, a renewal each day, to live and stay close to the Lord.
David: What do you pray about while out here alone so much of the time?
Nathan: Probably the same as others in the field: I ask God if this is His will for my life.
David: In Gilgal, you met someone.
Nathan: Yeah. Someone. [smiles] Chen Li.
David: Had any contact with her?
Nathan: Oh, some. Just texting.
David: Wish it were more?
Nathan: Hey, I wish for a lot of things, but I work with what God gives me.
David: You’re still young, Nathan. There’s still plenty of time for marriage.
Nathan: Yeah. [looks away] Still time.
David: If you could say one thing to my readers, maybe to challenge them, what would you say?
Nathan: I’d say, a nominal Christian says he’s a Christian, and lives any way he wants. But a consecrated Christian claims Christ, and everyone in his life hears and sees the gospel through him, because he lives close to Jesus. So I pray that all your readers can live that consecrated life.
David: The Lord bless you as you serve Him, Nathan. Thanks for taking time for the interview.
Nathan: My pleasure. God bless your writing endeavors.
[End of interview.]
Nathan Isaacson and the other COIL characters are a special breed of men and women who live for Christ daily. I look forward to bringing you more from these consecrated Christians! 😉
See you on the next page!
Read other character interviews here.
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