Bitter or Better?

Posted: March 27, 2012 in Uncategorized

I am writing this post with great anguish of heart.I have been granted a wonderful opportunity to practice what I preach. Dear friends, I have to confess it is harder that I’d like to admit.

As many of you know I had posted on Facebook that I was going to climb a volcano for my 30th birthday yesterday. Well, we made all the arrangements and a group of 6 of us began our ascent at around 8:30am. Around 45 minutes later we stopped for a rest.

While there, a couple guys who worked for the telephone company pulled up behind us. I had an uneasy feeling and asked one of the girls in our group for her mace.

They just seemed to wait around, so I let my guard down. As we left and continued our trek, they followed us and even joined our group. We were walking and talking with our new found friends and then “IT” happened!

Before we knew it, we were being ambushed! I saw two guys in homemade ski masks in front of us, I heard some yelling in Spanish and then a gun shot. All I could think is, “Dear God, I hope no one’s hit!” as I dropped to the ground.

We had 2 guys behind us and 2 in front and they were barking orders that I couldn’t understand. The whole experience could only be described as surreal.

They asked the two Guatemalan guys who they were. They said telephone workers and the robbers told them to leave…. now! They proceeded to one by one search us a gunpoint and ravage all of our belongings. They took all our cash, cell phones,cameras and anything else they thought was of value.

At one point they found my car keys and asked about my vehicle. I thought to my self, “They’re gonna make me go with them!”. Praise God that they didn’t want to take me. Although, I did hear them continue to mumble about the keys and car.

I think one of the things that worried us the most was the fact that they seemed more scared then us and that with that fear was guns. They seemed to linger forever. In reality the whole thing took place over 10-12 minutes, but it felt like a lifetime.

When they were finished with us they commanded, “Go down the volcano and don’t tell anyone!”.

As we walked down and processed what had just happened our adrenalin was still pumping. All I could think was, “Don’t walk back to the car”. I told the others and they agreed that we should keep an eye out for suspicious people as we were going to the car.

Sure enough two guys were following us as we got into the town and I got a weird gut feeling, so I told the others, “Let’s sit on the curb and let them pass”. So they passed by.

As we approached the car another young man walked right in front of us and kept his eye locked on us. Peering at us through the corner of his eye. So once again we walked by the car instead of to it.

Finally, after 10 minutes we decided that we’d hurry and jump in the car and go. This feeling, for me has not gone away.

Though it only happened yesterday, I have some strange type of grief. Sometimes I feel like I’m weak. Why is this affecting me so much? Others endure so much more and shake it off.

I am suspicious of people. They know what I look like, but I have no idea what they look like. Anyone could be them. I guess I’m still processing.

All I know is pray for me. Pray that my heart does not grow cold toward those God has called us to serve. I heard stories from other missionaries (from previous trips) about how they were scared to help people, because of “Good Samaritan” scams. Robbers would flatten their tires and rob those who stopped to help them.

Dear Lord, don’t let my heart be suspicious of people. Don’t let me grow bitter and despise those whom you’ve sent me to to bear witness of your love and faithfulness. Father, somehow through this make us better suited to do your will.



I am reminded of the verse that says:

“Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” Matt. 10:16 (ESV)





  1. The Winther Family says:

    Dear Lord please put a hedge of protection around them, & grant them the discernment to not be deceived by the traps & snares of our enemy. I pray also that they will not be jaded nor discouraged. We are truly living in a Godless age were the fear of God is well nigh existent. Look at your forbears like David Livingstone in the darkest jungles of Africa. Each day he was out there he could’ve been cannibalized by the people he came to witness too, yet he was still faithful & undeterred.
    Verily, verily you are in our thoughts & prayers!

  2. Moriah says:

    Wow! Very intense and scary! What sticks out to me is that the Lord didn’t let them physically bring you any harm. Whether they knew it or not, they couldn’t cross a line the Lord Himself upholds because He is your refuge and fortress.

  3. Joseph Ryan says:

    Oh Lord, in every way give Brian and Mel an opportunity to stand strong with your peace that surpasses all understanding. Give on to these thieves a burning in their stomachs that can only be quenched by the water that you have to offer them. Allow Brian and Mel to be the water bearers. Jesus destroy all fear with your Love and give Brian and Mel the humility to go the extra mile, and to give the shirts off their backs. Father all mighty show yourself faithful to Brian and Mel by using them for wonders and miracles that confound the wise and prideful.

    The Ryan family loves you two so much and your lives are encouraging to us. NO WEAPON FORMED WILL PROSPER.

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