Before leaving the bush on Sunday morning, the students must complete a series of exercises as a team. Several of them are designated as blind, mute and lame, just to make things more interesting. My job this time was to scout a location on the creek and explain and supervise the students’ river-crossing challenge in which they must get the whole team across without touching the water.

I walked some old tire tracks until I came to the creek, and then followed it upstream, looking for wide spots that would make for a more interesting crossing. Suddenly, the jungle in front of me erupted with beating wings as half-a-dozen vultures took flight. I consoled myself that they were probably as startled as I was. I looked around briefly for the corpse that must surely be present, but saw nothing. A little further up the creek, I found the perfect crossing place at a wide bend in the stream.

As I crouched on the uprooted end of a fallen log, waiting for the students to arrive, I heard the distant baying of hounds. Someone is out hunting today in our neck of the woods.Not good! 

I thought of all the stories I’d heard of people shot by hunters whose emotions exceeded their vision. At least the students are all together, and their last activity was the obstacle course right on the power line access road, so they should be pretty safe.  

Several minutes passed. The baying intensified, and seemed to be coming in my direction. Could the dogs be tracking me? Will they know the difference between my smell and the smell of a forest critter? I probably smell like an animal, since I haven’t had a bath since the day before yesterday!

The barking was getting very close now, and then I heard the singing blade of a machete slashing through the brush. I’m not even wearing hunter’s orange! I could be in real danger!

One of the hounds appeared abruptly, loping along quickly, nose to the ground. He passed me by and paid me no mind, but the hunter would surely be along at any moment, and I didn’t’ want to be mistaken for anything not human! Should I make noise? Hide? Run? No, definitely not run!

And then, there he was, the man with the machete.

“Shaw! I’m sure glad it’s you and not a hunter!” I called out in relief as one of the other staff members emerged from the woods.

“The dog came by and I thought he might lead me to you.” Shaw replied.

“Did you see the hunters?”

“Yes, they are out under the power lines.”

I was happy to hear it.

The students soon arrived and completed their activity and we hiked back to campus without incident.

Can you imagine what it will feel like to be a fugitive, hunted by dogs and armed men? Such a day could arrive sooner than you think. But even today we live in the hunter’s zone. The great hunter, the same Spirit that inspired Nimrod, is out to bag your soul. Don’t you go anywhere without Christ, you hear? Promise me that!

P.S.  I want to thank all of you who have remembered Luciano and his family in your prayers. Luciano attended the evangelistic meetings the week before last, although he is still not coming to church regularly. It’s good to see him smiling again. He says the Lord has answered our prayers and he landed a job with the sugar company. He doesn’t start for another couple weeks though. Please help me pray that if there are Sabbath conflicts he will be faithful. I have already encouraged him in this direction, but I know the fear of being without work again will be a strong temptation for him to compromise.

PPS: To all of you who have been affected by the devastating Camp Fire or other fires in California, we are praying for you earnestly, not only that God will supply your every need and sustain you in this trial, but also that you will come through it as finer gold, closer to God, and stronger to face whatever may be next. Our heart goes out to each one of you!

Kody & Lyli Kostenko