An Andes High

It's Fiction Friday! Really, it is, even though I'm once again running late. I had a couple of big things come up last night, and I'm still scrambling as a result. But that's okay! They were blessings and I'm so thankful for them! God is showing me again just how good He is. WoW!

Today Rick, at Pod Tales and Ponderings, is hosting Fiction Friday for us. Be sure to join us there for more links to fun fiction. :-)

This week's story is a special one to me--it's about Ecuador and based on a story told me by my classmate, Pete. Similar stories are told by many of my missionary friends from many different countries, and they never cease to amaze me.

An Andes High

My nose was dripping again from the cold, so I pulled out my bandanna and blew it, then wished I hadn't. I suddenly had an unobstructed whiff of the Quichuas that were packed into the tent to see the Jesus film. Bathing in the icy streams of the Andes Mountains was not something these people did very often, and I didn't blame them—this high in the mountains it was cold, even on sunny days. That whiff was enough to wake me up from the stupor I had fallen into and it was good a thing since the movie was almost over. I wanted to get the reels rewound so I could crawl into my sleeping bag as soon as possible after the meeting ended.

Rubbing my gritty eyes, I saw all the people crowded together, sitting on the ground, watching the movie. The Quichua women, with their heavy wool skirts insulating them against the cold, had children tucked in around them, forming a family cluster, with their father nearby, stoic in his sweater or jacket and traditional wool hat. No one was dozing, no one was even yawning or squirming. All eyes were focused on the canvas wall that served as the projector screen, intently watching.

This was the third night of showing a film at the end of busy days of getting a fresh water supply to the village--if you could call this a village. There was a school building, a thatch outhouse, and one sod home, no more. Other homes were tucked within the folds of the mountains, visible only if you knew what to look for and where to look, yet every night the tent was packed with people wanting to see the Jesus movie. While they sang a few songs in their nasal Quechua language I rewound the reels then settled back to pray while Angelo, a young national pastor, preached in Quechua.

Later, as I was putting away the ancient reel-to-reel projector, a man ran in. “Senor Pedro. Please, will you show the film again tonight?” His face was flushed and I wondered if he'd been out back drinking, but he didn't smell of the local brew.

I was exhausted. The Jesus film was a great tool for reaching these mountain people, many of whom had never seen a movie in their lives, but if I showed the movie again, it'd be hours before I could go to bed. There was a rustling at the doorway that drew my attention. A group of people stood there, all with flushed faces.

Looking back at him I finally recognized the man standing before me--he had been saved the first night we showed the movie.

“Please, my family needs Jesus, too.”

Even though I was exhausted I couldn't miss this opportunity. I called them into the tent then turned and threaded the film strip into the projector while they collapsed on the ground, chattering excitedly. When the movie began they quieted, all except for one or two who translated as much as they could into Quechua. Other people drifted back in to watch and soon the tent was full again.

I stepped outside for a few minutes and took a deep breath of the frigid air. It was cold enough to sting my nose, but wonderfully fresh. I looked up and was once again amazed. Lord, it's beautiful up here. The stars are so close I think I could reach out and touch them, and they're so bright. I slowly turned in a circle, looking at the towering mountain peeks that surrounded me, awed by their velvetty black silhouettes against their starry background. Thank You for getting them here in time and for getting my attention. Please touch their hearts, Lord.

When the movie ended Angelo preached again.

Afterwards the man came to me. “Gracias, Senor Pedro. Mi familia,” he had to swallow and try again. “I knew they needed Jesus, so I ran home and brought them back. Now my family knows Jesus, too.”

Angelo joined us then, smiling. “This man lives a full day's journey from here, on the other side of the mountain. To make it there and back so quickly he must have run the whole way, gathered his family and then come running back, carrying the little ones. He was afraid they'd be too late, but praise God, they weren't.”

And to think I was almost too tired to be bothered...

Don't forget to join us at Rick's at Pod Tales and Ponderings for more links to Fiction Friday!

Julie Lessman is giving away a copy of one of her books! To be entered in the drawing, leave a comment on one of her posts below. You can either scroll down to Tuesday and Wednesday's posts or click here.

Next week we have Janet Dean and a copy of Courting the Doctor's Daughter. Be sure to join us!


  1. Excellent, thought-provoking story. You did a great job of putting me right in the scene, and then slipping in the subtle message at the end.

  2. PJ, very well-done! Thanks for the excellent message.


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