To face terror with prayer

The driver was visibly nervous. He hustled us into his eight-passenger van and started down the mountain. We'd enjoyed the day wandering through the colorful market, smelling the incense from Mayan worshipers at the church, eating black beans and plátanos in a typical restaurant. Chichicastenango in the Guatemalan Highlands was a pleasant stop for tourists. Now, as the driver maneuvered the twisty mountain road leading to Guatemala City, he quietly turned to me.

"Would you pray?" he asked.

We'd traveled for days together. This was the first time I'd seen him afraid, and the first time he'd asked for prayer. Later I found out why. Only a week before, armed bandits had sprung from the woods beside the road and tried to stop his van. Thinking quickly, he'd shifted into reverse and fled backward, back up the twisted road to Chichi. A friend had passed him heading toward Guatemala City. Our driver had frantically tried to warn him, but his friend hadn't understood. His friend's van was stopped by a hail of bullets, and the passengers were robbed at gunpoint. No one had been seriously injured, although the van had several bullet holes.

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PEACE in times of family turmoil
December 16, 2002

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