It was about 2 o’clock in the morning, and everyone was asleep. There really wasn’t much danger it seemed. This was Belize City, Belize, Central America, but little organized crime and few insurgents. Nevertheless, we were a little worried, because we heard a few stories about machete massacres.
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We were sleeping in an old church, somewhat in disrepair; hot and dusty, with a thin powdery substance on the floor. You could see tiny insects in the powder. We called them “sand fleas”, but they were much smaller than fleas. Our air mattresses weren’t much protection, and every night we collected a new assortment of little red marks on our skin.
19 people: 11 women and 8 guys. The sexes were separated by the 80 foot length of the sanctuary, with about 12 rows of pews between us.
During the day we were divided into 3 teams: the building crew, the medical team and the “Vacation Bible School” team. At night we tried to sleep in the 90 degree heat. At least most had battery operated fans.
Three of the men already knew each other from before the trip. One of the three is the hero warrior in this story. They were engaged in an intentional “discipleship” program, with honesty and transparency between them and a commitment to a responsible exercise of spiritual disciplines from Monday through Saturday. Part of their method was to expose the sin that was festering within them.
One night the entire group was awakened, at about 2 AM, to loud and intense screaming from the front of the sanctuary, where the women were sleeping. This was followed quickly by men yelling, and then loud crashing and banging.
Of course, most of us thought the worst, an attack of some sort. Two of the men (military types, one an X-Navy Seal), charged to the front, ready for battle.
It turns out that one of the women woke up and saw a rat leap up her neighbor's leg to torso. That woke up the victim, who, seeing the rat, batted it off her own shoulder and jumped up. This set off a chain reaction of screaming, including the battle yells from the men.
One of the warriors charged forward, tripping over a fan set up on the floor. That accounted for all the crashing and banging.
It was all over in minutes, but the charging warrior had cut his foot, ankle and knee in the melee. Not awful cuts, not if you were in the USA and could keep them clean. But this warrior wouldn’t give up his place on the construction team. That meant that he would be working in the dirt the next day and sweating profusely in the Belizan sun; building a simple sturdy structure for a single mother with three young children. The house was part of a squatter community where these shacks had been built on stilts, some in a foot of putrid standing water. The team wanted to finish the house on this final day in the field.
This wasn’t really good for his foot or his knee, around which he tightly wrap gauze with duct tape. Of course it all got infected. We had a physician on the trip, who started antibiotics, but told him they wouldn’t work if he didn’t keep his wounds clean and let them dry out. After 2 days the foot looked especially bad. Finally, when the project was done the warrior could let his foot start to heal. The Doc said to him that if he would just let the wound dry out then the blood could get to the germs; that if the blood could get near the germs then the blood would win.
The man turned to his two accountability partners and said: “Yes, just like us, if we bring the blood close to our rottenness then the blood wins”. The secret to men getting free: what happens if you expose sin to the blood? The Blood wins.