By Carissa Bodanza
As a new missionary, Ann was adjusting to Central Asian culture and learning the language when something happened that changed her life dramatically. Listen in to hear her story of a home break-in and attack just nine months after arriving in her new country. She shares the effects on faith and local relationships and how she saw God use the event.
“[My roommate and I] were sitting at the kitchen table drinking tea when we heard the doorbell ring. My roommate went to the door, and that’s when it happened.
“I was still at the kitchen table when I heard my roommate scream, and I heard people run into the apartment. I tried to jump up from the table, but before I got into the hallway, a man in a mask got to me in the kitchen and began punching me in the face. I put my hands up and was sort of swatting back at him, screaming, hoping to make him stop punching me. He took a gun out of his belt, pointed it in my face, and told me to shut up and stop screaming, or he would kill me. And then he beat me in the head with a gun.
“After a few seconds, I fell to the kitchen floor, where he kicked me three times in the head and in the face. He left me on the kitchen floor and started rummaging through the rest of the house, yelling in a language I did not understand well.
“I went into our living room, that’s where my roommate was, and while the intruders were in the other room, we stayed in the living room… I closed the door to barricade ourselves in… we were screaming at the top of our lungs and pounding our feet on the floor to alert our downstairs neighbor in hopes they would hear or that someone… would hear.
“So, we wondered what the men would do next. We wondered, ‘Would they rape us? Would they torture us with the knives that they had? When would they finish with us?’
“And there was a moment of terror, and I thought the terror would take over. Exactly in that moment, God reminded me that He was there.
“It felt like Jesus was standing close to me, and He said, ‘Ann, Ann, Ann, will I leave you? Will I forsake you?’
“Then there was a long, loud pause as I breathed deeply… then I remembered, no. No, He will never leave me, and He will not forsake me.
“Then I felt Him whisper, again not an audible voice, but I know it was the Holy Spirit saying, ‘Will I be enough?’
“Now, I don’t understand it… [but] In that very moment, yes, He was enough.
“This very weird and wonderful peace came over me. I think it’s the peace that Philippians 4:7 talks about. A peace that passes all understanding because it just doesn’t make any sense.
“God did not assure me that I would live to see the next day. He didn’t assure me that I wouldn’t be raped or tortured or held captive a long time and be beaten… But somehow, even if those things did happen, there and then, He was with me, and He was enough…”
To hear how God used this event and the ways He showed up in this story, listen to the full episode on the Relentless Pursuit Podcast. It is a podcast designed to meet people in the middle of interested in missions but not ready to go yet. You can listen on Apple, Google, or Spotify.
Relentless Pursuit Podcast is a production of Pioneers-USA.