By Rick Marschall
The sister and brother-in-law of a friend of mine are missionaries in Mexico Their agency is called Last Frontiers, and this is a story about their family’s life.
Ed and Denise Aulie work primarily with indigenous peoples of Mexico — specifically the Nahuatl of Veracruz, and the Ch’ol of Chiapas. They also speak in congregations throughout Mexico giving studies of God’s Word. They are church planters, and they also minister through literacy training, medical service for the sick, agricultural work, and the construction of homes for women who are alone.
They have worked in the mission field with indigent Mayan and Aztec tribes in Mexico for more than 30 years as a married couple; all their children were born in Mexico. Through the years they have mentored many young people who now serve across the world, including in the US, France, Germany, Italy, Canada, China, India, Yemen and Iraq.
Their story is about one of their own children, however, Ed will tell the story:
Over the years we have seen many a mangled bicycle lying on the ground, with a sheet covering the rider. We have seen crowds gather around a toppled donkey cart with a child or grandfather lying nearby, having been hit by a vehicle. Yet we never thought that one day it would be our son lying in the oncoming traffic lane after being hit by a car at full speed.
But there was no white sheet.
In Mexico, there is a unique legal requirement. It is called “The Pardon.” When there is an accident involving injury to a person, the designated guilty party is taken to prison and held until he is absolved of his offense. This law, in effect, condemns one as guilty until proven innocent. The only way the guilty person is freed is if the offended party authorizes an official pardon.
Three hours after the accident I entered the police station. The man who drove the car that hit my son Mark was anxious and fearful, his face drawn. I extended my hand to Alfredo (not his real name) and said, “Thank you for not running from the scene of the accident.”
“I would never do that,” he replied.
“No,” I said, “but many people do.”
He quickly assured me that his insurance would cover everything. I was greatly relieved.
The “sword” of a prison stay had been held silently over Alfredo’s head all those hours. That “sentence” of the law had been eating away at him. The police chief presented me with the document of pardon. Without hesitation, I signed the release.
I looked over to Alfredo and smiled; I saw his shoulders relax and he sighed in relief. Gone was his fear and overwhelming guilt. Choked up, he repeated “Gracias, Gracias.”
“Señor Alfredo,” I said as I stood and faced him. “What I have done for you tonight is very little compared to the need we all have when we stand before God, the righteous judge. There will be no way we can free ourselves — not by bail, and not by influential friends. Our debt to God is enormous.” His eyes welled up with tears.
“Do you know where you will go if you die tonight?” Alfredo was taken aback with fearful surprise, “I don’t know. I really don’t know!” I told him that there was only One who could free him of his debt, only One who could put his signature on that document of pardon.
“It’s just that simple. Just as I signed to give you liberty, in the same way God sent His only Son to offer you freedom. Jesus signed ‘The Pardon’ at a huge cost — not with money but with His own blood. When He died in our place, He bore the punishment we deserve. If you would trust in Him, Alfredo — trust in Jesus as your Redeemer, Savior, and Lord — not only freedom, but eternal life will be yours.”
Alfredo was free to go. There were no longer any charges against him. Yet he didn’t walk away. He followed me outside to see my wrecked motorcycle, saying that he needed to tell me something. “God IS speaking to me,” he revealed. “Just as you have been so noble and kind in forgiving me, I have to forgive. I need to forgive my wife for wrong she has done to me. I have been very harsh toward her. Because of that, we are now separated.”
It was wrenching to see a diagram of the accident and know that the little stick figure lying in the oncoming traffic lane represented my son. As I looked at the battered helmet and the crushed metal saddle bag, I marveled at how Mark’s leg was protected from amputation, and his life was spared. I looked at the mangled motorcycle jacket with its protective armor and thought of the “full armor” of God, which protects us spiritually and physically.
Mark had not one broken bone, despite having been struck by a speeding car that never saw him and never braked. The impact sent him flying into the windshield and bouncing 20 feet to the pavement. The neurosurgeon, after seeing the MRIs, marveled. He told Mark, “These results show that you are on the opposite side of the spectrum of almost everyone who comes into my office.” The doctor fixed his eyes on Mark and declared, “Marcos, you are alive now because you have a purpose and a mission. Fulfill it.”
Would YOU ask God to give you the grace to give “The Pardon” to anyone in your life, whether they are waiting for it or not? Don’t let a sword hang over that person’s head a minute longer.
“Be merciful as your Heavenly Father is merciful.” [Luke 6:36]
Rick Marschall is the author of more than 70 books and hundreds of magazine articles in many fields, from popular culture (Bostonia Magazine called him “perhaps America’s foremost authority on popular culture”) to history and criticism; country music, television history, biography and children’s books. He is a former political cartoonist, editor of Marvel Comics, and writer for Disney comics. For years he has been active in the Christian field, writing devotionals; co-authoring The Secret Revealed with Dr Jim Garlow. Rick is a former Director of Product Development for Youth Specialties. He is recipient of the 2008 “Christian Writer of the Year” award from the Greater Philadelphia Writer’s Conference, and produces a weekly e-mail devotional, “Monday Morning Music Ministry.”
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