Thursday, July 25, 2013

At the Border of Faith and Doubt

Stuart McAllister:
It seemed like yet another routine border crossing in what was then Communist-ruled Czechoslovakia. The year was 1981; Leonid Brezhnev was the head of the Soviet Union, and half of Europe languished under the Communist vision and control. As a young and eager Christian, I had joined a mission whose primary task was to help the church in Eastern Europe. This involved transporting Bibles, hymn books, and Christian literature to believers behind what Winston Churchill called the “Iron Curtain.”

It was indeed an iron curtain: a vast barrier made of barbed-wire fences, mine fields, exclusion zones, guard towers, heavily armed soldiers, and dogs. Although designed allegedly to keep the West out, it was in actuality a vast system of control to keep those under this tyranny in. On this occasion my task was to transit through Czechoslovakia into Poland to deliver my precious cargo of Bibles and books to a contact there.

The literature was concealed in specially designed compartments, and my colleague and I had gone through our routine preborder procedures. We bowed our heads and prayed that God would protect us. We then proceeded to the border crossing between Austria and Czechoslovakia.

It was a cold, bleak, early winter day. It all seemed normal. We entered Czechoslovakia, and the huge barrier descended behind us. We were now locked in. As usual, the unfriendly border guards took our passports, and then the customs inspector arrived. I had been trained to act casual, to pray silently, and to respond to questions. I sensed this time it was different. 
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