Protected
By Dick Duerksen

“Every picture has a story,” they say.

I parked across the street from the new Seaside Church worship center. Volunteers had been working harder than possible for two weeks, and this Sabbath was set to be a time for a major celebration.

The church was quiet, everyone obviously celebrating inside.

I walked toward the front door and was met by two lovely women dressed in Indian Saris.

Mother, Lorenda Nakka, greeted me and introduced me to her daughter, Nirah. The young lady had no time for a roving paparazzi.

I snapped a couple useless photos and slipped indoors.

Worship was in process, the church silent except for the voice of a retired missionary telling stories that should be recorded and published. I listened, fascinated by his experiences and the clarity of his trust in God.

“No matter where He sends you,” the preacher said, “You can always trust God to be walking ahead of you, preparing the way, and protecting you.

Mother and daughter had rejoined the congregation, but Nirah was fussy, wishing lunch would come quickly.

We had met them before, last week at Seaside when Nirah sang parts of Jesus Loves Me in Telagu for my wife, Brenda. The family has lived in Warrenton for several years, and so are members of the Astoria congregation. However, this Sabbath they are celebrating with friends at Seaside.

As I listened, Nirah began to cry. Mother Lorenda, like mothers around the world, gave her best “please be quiet and wait a bit longer for lunch,” speech. Nirah was having none of it. They got up and slipped out the back door. I followed, finding them in the partially restored Pastor’s office.

The sun was filtering lightly through a window, gifting Mother and daughter with silver halos. The moment cried for a photograph.

“May I take your picture?” I asked.

“Certainly.”

Nirah looked at me, uncertain of the moment, distrusting a stranger’s camera, reaching toward Mother for love and protection, knowing she was protected in Mother’s arms.

The first two shots are out of focus. The third stopped all movement and caught the halo.

“No matter where He sends you,” the preacher said, “You can always trust God to be walking ahead of you, preparing the way, and protecting you.”

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