Newspaper Article Archive of
The Kalona News
Kalona, Iowa
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Newspaper Article Archive of
The Kalona News

November 1, 2018 Long-ago lesson reinforces importance of freedom to worship in United States
Article Pages -- as published on the The Kalona News website.

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ARTICLE DESCRIPTION:

Summer disappeared way too quickly and now fall has fallen and appears to want to rush through its season at warp speed.

While I love snow, I must admit I wasn’t too thrilled to see it snowing the other night at midnight. It was beautiful – falling swiftly and silently only to dissolve on contact with the lush green grass.

Our lawn was way overdue for a mowing as we hadn’t been able to get to it between the rains. It was a bit unusual to see snow falling while the trees are still full of leaves and the lawn looks like mid-summer.

We had our annual Teen Church hayride recently, and the weather was perfect, with the sun still giving just a bit of warmth to take the edge off the chill in the air.

Riding on the hayrack as we traveled an old railroad path, listening to the chatter and shouts of the youth, brought back memories of hayrides and youth events when I was a teenager. Our youth group was large and boisterous, and we did a lot of fun events.

One fall evening we had a Persecution Party. The object of this exercise was to pretend we lived in a country where Christianity was against the law. If we wanted to meet with other Christians for a Bible study it had to be done in secret, and in addition, we must avoid getting caught by the authorities.

A barn was our designated meeting place, and after parking in a field down the road, we were to make our way in the dark with our Bibles hidden and try and outfox the “guards” patroling the perimeter.

If caught, our Bibles would be confiscated, and we would be taken to a “holding area,” in the loft of the barn. We would not be released until we could come up with some form of payment.

I met up with two of my friends, and we circled around toward the back of the barn, trying to avoid cow pies in the dark and stifling our screams every time a dark shadow passed by us.

It started raining, which was not in the plans, but added to the sense of danger of the game. We had avoided contact with any soldiers, when suddenly a shower of sparks lit up the darkness right at mid-thigh, and jolts of electricity shot through all of us, since we were also hanging on to each other.

We had run into an electric fence, and the rain magnified the wattage of the current hitting our legs. By the time we quit screaming, untangled ourselves and beat out the smoking embers where our jeans had caught fire, the guards were on us.

We scattered and ran, figuring they couldn’t chase all of us at once. A guard was close on my heels when I heard him slip and fall. By the sound and smell of it, he had skidded through a freshly dropped cow pie and he was not happy.

I made my escape and joined the wet, muddy, bedraggled group of people who had made it to the barn. Half of our group was in the “holding cell,” caught by the zealous guards, but after accepting bribes of coins, gum, and whatever else the prisoners could find in their pockets, they were released.

We held our Bible study by lantern light, with a lookout posted, in case the guards came back with reinforcements. It was a very meaningful time and really brought home to us how fortunate we are to live in a country with freedom of religion.

We are so blessed. The gospel message is illegal in 53 countries, restricted in 40 nations, and hostilely attacked in 13 areas.

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes .. .” – Romans 1:16.

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