Sunday, November 09, 2008

Crossing the Double Yellow Line

A Missions Matter! blog giveaway post!

Every time I think life is getting back to normal it throws another challenge at me. I think that maybe I should quit hoping for normalacy--whaddya think?

At the beginning of my 40 days of celebration, Rich and Lisa Brown sent in some articles, and I posted Lisa's Forgotten People article right away, but every time I've gone to post this one, something else has come in, so I've saved it. This is a story I got to experience on the praying grapevine end--which is the best grapevine to be involved in. My friend, Debbie, forwarded an email to me about Rich being in jail, and I (and my family) began praying for him. Not just for him to get out quickly, but that good would come from it. This post shows how God answered both of those prayers.

Crossing the Double Yellow Line
By Rich Brown

As I strolled along in my car I knew that today would be an easy day. All I had to do was go about another 30 minutes and I would surprise Aaron, a Peruvian musician recording in Cayambe, Ecuador. It was his birthday. I would take he and the other two guys out to eat and make it special for them even though they were far from home.

There was a gas truck going so slow up the hill, that three cars in front of me passed it on the corner, and I followed behind. When I came to the corner, crossing back in front of the gas truck, I noticed that the dotted yellow line was now a double yellow line (NO PASSING ALLOWED). I quickly slowed down in front of the gas truck, just as I heard a car honking his horn. He was very angry. I pulled over so he could pass me, but he was dressed in a Colonel uniform and motioned for me to follow him to the police.

When we got to the police, the Colonel made it clear that they were to put me in jail for what I did, passing on the double yellow line. In Ecuador, it is against the law, with penalty of minimum 30 days in jail for passing on a double yellow line. He threatened to put the two policemen in jail if they did not put me in jail. He copied my information and said, “I will check tonight to see if you put this man in jail.”

I quickly called, and text messaged all my friends. The ones who I was supposed to surprise thought I was faking it and this was all part of the surprise. I finally convinced them to come and pick up my car and take it to a safe place.

People from all over the country started calling me, some trying to help, others saying they knew someone that could help, and others just wanted to visit me and keep me company.

The jail was filled with about 60 people in one big room with 30 bunk beds. I had to pay $20 for the bed, and quickly did as I saw that the beds were filling up fast. I was able to get to know others who were there, most from drinking and driving, or driving without a license. I played cards with the guys and spent a lot of time reading, writing and praying.

My devotions that day were on Romans 12. I sat on my bunk and read it with different eyes. All of it brought on new meaning. “Don’t think of yourself higher than you ought…” and many other verses that stuck out in my mind. It talks about us being the body of Christ with different gifts. I decided right away to sacrifice things right in jail. Every meal I got, I made sure I shared half of it with someone else (food is not provided for you in jail in Ecuador, you have to find family or friends that will provide it for you.

Miracles happened as the lawyers worked the system to try to get me out. They knew that my wife and son were in Canada visiting her parents, and I was supposed to be taking care of my other three kids. Thanks to Heather Martin, our intern, they were in good hands.

We went to the hearing, and on the way the policeman that had to accompany us said, “that same Colonel put me in jail for sitting down for five minutes on the job. I had been standing for 7 hours straight.” I said, “you know what, God put me in jail, not the Colonel.” I had learned that God was doing something in me and in the men around me in Jail.

God worked another miracle as the secretary that took down my information said, “I am also evangelical. I go to the Alliance Church in the Valley.” I said, “Really! My parents helped start the mother church to that one.” We started talking about all of the pastors we knew etc. She heard my story and said, “You will be back with your kids tonight.” I said, “I hope so.” She said, “You will. The man in there that has to sign all the papers also attends the Alliance Church in the Valley. My lawyer’s mouth dropped open. He is not a Christian but he said, “Even with all of my contacts to try to get you out, you were supposed to serve 15 more working days. But who would have thought that God would help us out today.”


I was only in jail three days. I got home and had a party at our house. There were two women from the women’s prison here in Quito, Ecuador who were out on bail, who were baptized right in our apartment complex. We celebrated together. I didn’t say a word about my 3 days in jail; these women had been in prison for years.

Inca Link Ecuador, and Soul Light Link are organizations working closely with the Alliance that are now making plans to find jobs for people in the prisons of Ecuador. This will give them an opportunity to work, not be bored, and live a more dignified life. One youth leader said, “I have several machines to make clothes, I will donate them for this ministry.” Another said, “Our church is going into the men’s jail now every Thursday night to do a Bible Study.” Another one said, “My Dad just did a leadership training in the women’s jail.

Crossing the double yellow line changed my life forever. It was not the Colonel that put me there, it was God. Now, I expect to be more involved in jail ministry. Finding ways to help those who were where I was. And, I don’t plan on passing on the double yellow line any more.
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Rich Brown and his wife, Lisa, served with the C&MA in Lima & Trujillo, Peru, from 1994 to 2004. Now they are in Ecuador working with Youth Leaders in Ecuador, Peru and Colombia. To learn more check out Inca Link.

Missions Matter! ~Blog Giveaway coming November 12th!


5 comments:

  1. My mouth is gaping open. Wow, what a tesimony! I got goosebumps at the end. What faith, and what a witness as to the wonder-working power and working of the Lord. Thank you for sharing this, Patty. I will remember Rich's story often and for a long time.

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  2. That is SO cool! Amazing. I love to hear stuff like that. It is a great witness, like Lauralee said. I'm glad you posted it. :-)

    Thanks for stopping by my blog. I've never been to yours, but I've definitely heard your name before. I'll have to figure out why. :-)

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  3. Wow. We take so much for granted here in the US. Thank you for sharing this story, Peej.

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  4. Wow, what a story! I love his attitude and his humility. Glad you shared this!

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  5. Oh WOW. Just WOW. An incredible story!

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