The Journey – The Search

Jack was the first one awake in the house the next morning and as he fixed breakfast, he couldn’t stop thinking about his time with Jose the day before. He was still trying to figure out what he knew and today was the first day in trying to find out what Jose was so upset about. Jack was packed and ready to head into the jungle he spent so much time in during his first 8 years.

But this time was different. When he was younger, he thought about his family, future and dreamed of teaching in the village with his parents. But now it was a search. A search for the truth of what happened 20 years ago and a search for who he truly is. Jack never could figure it out in Kansas City and he thought coming back here would help. But as the hope built, so did the questions about his past.

Jack finished breakfast, wrote a note to Shelly and took off on his search. It was a warm, humid morning and the sun was just beginning to peek over the horizon. As Jack entered the jungle, he thought about his dad. This was a place where he and his dad went as a refuge from it all. John had spent many years in this jungle and Jack just couldn’t believe someone had taken him and his mom deep into the jungle for harm. Yes, Jack had fear of what he might find or what might happen but he knew he had to go.

The terrain was easier than he remembered and he was very happy he remembered the jungle so very well. As Jack walked further into the jungle he heard someone behind him. He stopped to see who it was and it was Jose. Jose knew Jack would come out here and wanted to tell him why he couldn’t speak the day before.

Jose knew where the tribe who took his parents settled. He had gone deep into the jungle about a year after they went missing with his father and they spotted them. As they left to go tell Miguel and their village leaders, Jose’s father was shot and killed for trespassing. This so shook Jose that he could not tell anyone what they had found. All he did was lead the leaders to his father’s body and had them carry him back. They thought a hunter had accidentally shot Jose’s father but Jose knew what had happened.

As he told Jack this, Jack stood in disbelief and pain. Pain for Jose because of what he had seen and disbelief his parents were alive a year after their kidnapping. Jose warned Jack of trespassing on this land but Jack had to go and see if he could find what happened to his parents. Jose gave him a map but told him he couldn’t go any further. “Good luck Jack,” Jose said. “Please know I love you and I hope the best for you.” Jose turned and walked away from Jack.

Jack knew he had to press on but was a bit worried about what he might find. The tribe’s settlement was about a 10 day hike and Jack knew it was risky. But he felt the reward outweighed the risks. If he lost his life while searching for the truth then so be it. But if he died knowing he got so close and didn’t search for the truth, then he would never be able to forgive himself. As day turned to night, Jack pulled out his sleeping bag and got some sleep. He needed to make it to the tribe fast and rest was something he needed.

As Jack continued hiking deeper into the jungle, he began to wonder if there was a real chance his parents were still alive. If they survived 1 year, why not 20 years he thought. Jose’s map was spot on and on day 8, Jack arrived to the edge of the tribe’s settlement. Jack surveyed the land like a good hunter and found what looked to be a cemetery.

Jack looked around and found the names of many Americans. Was this was a cemetery where the tribe buried their captives? As he searched for his parents names, he grew weary and was having a hard time thinking about moving forward. He had been in the jungle for 8 days and to this point, he knew a little more truth but nothing that overwhelmingly pointed to the total truth. Jack decided to hide out and sleep for the night because he believed tomorrow would be the day he learned the truth.

To be continued….

The Journey – Hope Arises

After being back home for a bit over a week, Jack finally started to realize how special this place was to his family. The school was the place where he learned to read and started one of the most precious friendships someone could ask for. As a first grader, Jack met his buddy, Jose. Jose was someone Jack thought of often and never thought he would see again. After Jack left the village for America, he cried for and wondered about Jose.

It didn’t take long for Jack and Jose to reunite after Jack’s return. Jack always knew Jose was special to his family but in a new way now. Shelly took Jack over to Jose’s house one afternoon and she explained to him that they had been dating for about 2 years now. Jose wanted to see Jack because he loved and missed him but he also wanted to ask Jack if it would be okay for him to marry Shelly. Jack was taken by surprise but really couldn’t say no to his friend from so many years ago. His only reservation was this was defenitely going to keep Shelly here forever.

After talking to Shelly and Jose, Jack gave them the family blessing and they all started talking about good times from so many years ago. Jack wanted to know about everything that had happened since they last saw each other. Jose was nervous at first but as soon as he started talking, everything came out. He told Jack and Shelly about how after they left the leaders of the tribe who had taken their parents came back to search for them. They knew there were children to be found but could not find them.

Jose explained to them how the tribe leaders searched every home there and when they could not find the children they were looking for, they ravaged the village, especially the school. Miguel and Mary’s place was the hardest hit and that’s why they moved into Jack and Shelly’s old house. The tribe knew Miguel and Mary had hidden them and  had sent them to Amercia with family.

Then Jose started to cry. Jack and Shelly were confused and asked Jose if he was okay. Jose tried to talk but couldn’t. He was silent. Jack feared Jose had seen something or knew something about their parents. Jack continued to try to talk to Jose but he couldn’t talk. Or wouldn’t talk in Jack’s mind. Please he would beg. But it just wasn’t changing anything.

As Jack and Shelly left Jose’s house, Jack was even more confused than before. Why did he just go silent? Was there something he knew or was he just so shaken up from talking about the past? Jack just didn’t know what to think of his soon to be brother in law but one thing was certain in his mind. He was going to find out very soon.

Jack got back to the house and found Miguel on the front porch listening to music. Miguel tried to act as if he were sleeping but Jack just wanted to talk with him. He explained what had happened at Jose’s and wondered if Miguel knew anything.

After spending over a week here, Jack finally started to feel comfortable enough to search on his own and he told Miguel he would be gone for the next few days searching for the truth. Miguel tried to stop Jack but knew he was too much like his dad and there was no stopping him once his mind was set. “Please take every precaution you can Jack,” Miguel said. “I just want you to be safe. You and Shelly are all Mary and I have.”

With those words, Jack went into the house, went to his room and started packing for the search that would begin in the morning. Jack didn’t know if he would find the truth or more dead ends. But one thing was certain, he had 20 days left until he was to return to Kansas City. He was going to search for the truth but he had also made up his mind he wasn’t missing that flight.

Hope was really beginning to flourish in Jack’s life and he had 20 days to find what he had lost 20 years ago. He was back home and ready to find it. Finding family, friends and time lost was one thing. Finding the truth was another. Jack had no time to waste. The jungle awaited him and welcomed him after 2o years. But the question still remained. What would he find?

To be continued…..

The Journey – Back Home

After Jack gained his composure, he asked Miguel where Mary and Shelly were. “That’s why I called you to come down here,” Miguel said quietly. On the phone, Miguel told Jack Shelly was in need but wouldn’t tell him what she was in need of. Jack was a bit discouraged and very much wanted to get on the next plane to Kansas City because he felt Miguel brought him down here for selfish reasons.

Miguel promised Jack’s dad many years ago he would take care of Jack and Shelly if anything happened. Although he didn’t fulfill this promise, Miguel hoped Jack had a bit of his dad in him. Miguel was in need of Jack’s help to take care of him and Mary. Miguel went on to explain to Jack that Shelly was back at the house with Mary. Mary’s health had declined and there was nothing the doctors could do for her. Mary had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and Miguel knew he needed help with the school, Mary and the farm. Shelly requested Miguel call Jack to come down and use any story to get him to come. She knew he would come but just didn’t know how he would react once there.

Jack couldn’t believe how much he remembered of the village as Miguel drove him to the house where he lived 20 years earlier. They passed the courts where some kids were playing dodge ball and basketball just as Jack did in his early years. There was a baseball diamond, the lot, where Jack learned how much fun one person could have for an entire day playing baseball. They also passed the school where he learned to read and where he knew Shelly taught. As they passed the school, Jack couldn’t help but tear up thinking about his parents. Behind the school was the jungle. This is where Jack would go and think when he was younger and the place of refuge with his dad. They spent many days out there but after he lost his parents, he didn’t go back.

As they pulled in front of the house, Jack couldn’t hold back any longer. He burst out in tears and told himself this was a good thing. Shelly was in there and now life could start over in the same place it had ended 20 years ago. Shelly greeted him as he came in and as they hugged, he thought back to the last time he hugged his sister in this house. It was the night his parents were taken by the men at gun point. Mary & Miguel had hidden the kids from the tribe leaders so they wouldn’t be taken. Jack never thanked Mary & Miguel for hiding them because he really just wanted to be with his parents.

Shelly and Jack were able to talk and as they did, Mary came into the room to see who was there. She couldn’t remember Jack’s name but she did call him John, Jack’s father. This brought a whole new level of pain to Jack and he just wanted to run far away. But he knew Mary needed help and knew by trying to help her, he would be helping himself. As the four of them talked, Jack and Shelly were able to find out so much about their parents they had never heard. The good times, the bad times, the people they taught, the people who taught them. So many names and so many people who missed them. But none of them more than Jack and Shelly.

Talking to Miguel and Mary was good for Jack. For him, it was a time to heal he thought. But he had no idea what the next days would bring. The hope of healing his heart is what he had but the promise of finding something lost so many years ago was emerging.

To be continued…..

The Journey Continues

As Jack flew, his stomach began knotting up. He couldn’t sleep, drink or eat. All he could do was wonder why at this time he was headed back. Would it be different this time or would he again be very disappointed? Jack was still in awe of the phone call. For the first time in a while, Jack had hope.

Shelly had been gone for 4 years now and she hadn’t talked to Jack except at Christmas and birthdays. But this call was different. It wasn’t Christmas or anyone’s birthday and it wasn’t Shelly. Jack was continually worried about Shelly but knew no news was good news. Well, that’s what he thought. But when the phone rang and he answered it, he had a felling something was wrong.

The person on the other end was Miguel, his dad’s best friend who he hadn’t talked to since he left 20 years earlier. Miguel and his wife Mary had taken Shelly in when she moved back to teach. They were the only stability Jack and Shelly had after their parents were taken and they looked after them until their aunt came and brought them back to the states. But Jack couldn’t believe what Miguel was saying.

Miguel and Mary were also teachers and Jack blamed Miguel for him losing his parents. Jack felt Miguel didn’t look hard enough for his parents and felt he could have done more to get their release. But Miguel sat back and and told Jack and Shelly it was out of his control. Forgiveness for this was not something high on Jack’s list.

Jack really never wanted to head back to this place. He never wanted to see Miguel and Mary but knew his dad would be disappointed if he went on with life without searching for the truth. As the pilot asked the flight attendants to prepare for landing, all he wanted to do was head back to Kansas City instead of getting off the plane.

Will Miguel recognize him or will he recognize Miguel? Will Shelly ever be able to forgive him for the way he acted when she left and for the words he spoke? Will the memories be too much to handle? Jack knew he had to but he didn’t want to get off the plane. But as the entire plane emptied, Jack decided to take the first step to recovery and walk off the plane.

As Jack walked off the plane, he noticed Miguel and collapsed in his arms. Jack was back home and now the recovery was to begin, thus beginning all over again. He knew what he had to do this time but he was skeptical. Jack had a return ticket and was not going to stay more than 30 days. Miguel talked him into staying a month on the phone but Jack had no idea what he would find in these 30 days and how his life would change.

To be continued…..

The Journey

After he folded his last shirt, Jack opened his bag to put his shirt in and thought about how he had gotten here. He thought about the good and bad. He knew he had grown but he wondered exactly how much. Jack knew everything he had been through since he got the call and knew it was worth it. But as he packed his bag, he couldn’t help but think back to the day it started and wonder, “What if I hadn’t come?”

It was a typical winter day in the Midwest. Cold and blustery with snow covering everything. The day turned from typical to extraordinary though when his phone rang. Jack answered the phone and on the other line was a voice from his past. A person who he hadn’t talked to in a while but someone he missed greatly. And with one question, life as Jack knew it would change, no matter what his answer.

Jack was a good guy who had many friends but always felt something was missing in his life. He had tried going to school and working but just couldn’t find what he wanted to do. Jobs led him nowhere and his friends was all he had. He enjoyed life but knew there was more. More that he wanted to do and more he knew he was supposed to do.

Being an outdoors man, Jack always seemed confined in the city but the city is where he thought he would find his true life. He thought this was the only way he would ever be able to get back what he had lost so many years ago. Being in nature was his release but the pain from the past hindered what nature could now provide him. Nature was where he used to think about the past, present and future. It was a time to think about the meaning of life and about his friends. To think about his family, who he hadn’t seen in years and just wonder why things had turned out like this. But mainly, it was a time for him to get right with who he was and who he badly wanted to be. But Jack hadn’t allowed himself to be in nature for quite some time and he was in need of time in nature.

But when the call came in, Jack realized there was more. More to life, love and happiness. More than  just living. Finding out there is a calling.  His quest for a career wasn’t important any more. He just wanted to know why he was being called to this place at this time.

It wasn’t the first time this call had come in but it was the first time Jack acutally listened to the person on the other end. It was the first time he had acutally thought about the call in perspective to life. This time it was different and he wanted to know why.

To be continued………

God called Elisabeth and she listened

It was a typical Wednesday at the Amason house. Get out of bed, let the dogs out, get breakfast for the kids and get everyone ready for the day. Drop the kids off at school and then head to work. Work for a few hours, get the kids from my mom’s go over AWANAS and Cubbies verses for Wednesday night and then off to church. But what Christy and I had no idea was this Wednesday was going to be God’s day to add to eternity. Elisabeth and Garrett were taken to church on Wednesday night by Christy because I was already at church in a meeting. After AWANAS, Christy took the kids home to get them ready for bed while I went and hung out with a good friend. According to Christy things were totally normal at home. Come in, get the kids in a bath and then put them in bed. Christy was praying with Elisabeth like we do every night and Elisabeth showed Christy how amazing and perfect the innocence of a child is and how God uses those moments to show us how we should be. Elisabeth started her prayer like her typical every night prayer and then all of the sudden, she just did it. She asked Jesus to come live in her heart forever. Christy said it was just so simple and perfect. And that’s the way it should be. Pastor Randy said they talked about the Romans road to salvation Wednesday night and he said she was totally engaged. God used the entire day to prepare Elisabeth’s heart and our hearts. Elisabeth showed us again how simple and innocent things should be. Many people think there should be some HUGE conversion or feeling or a slap to the head but remember God moves in His ways. This was the day God called out to Elisabeth and she listened. Yes, God pursued a 7 year old and pulled her to Him. Just as He did with Elisabeth, God calls out to you. Just listen with the innocence of a child and know God is calling out to you. All you have to do is listen and follow God.

Love you all!!