Janet's Jargon

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Sunday, July 12, 2009

Dear Fidel...

Yes, it is Castro I'm referring to. Fate has a funny way of pointing their fickle finger at us. Back in 1963, when I made my first trip to Venezuela, I was flying on a Venezuelan airline from New York City to Caracas. It was supposed to be a non-stop flight. Until...

The plane suddenly began to roll from side to side. The announcement (in Spanish) came over the loud speaker. "This is your captain. We have hit turbulent weather." Well, color me stupid. I had already figured that much out! "We may have to make an emergency landing."

I leaned over and looked out the window. It was the most beautiful blue I have probably ever seen. Yes, it ws clear water. I knew how to swim, but how long could I stay afloat? How long would it be before anybody missed us, or came to rescue us?

In a few minutes that seemed to stretch into an eternity, I spotted a little patch of something green. Land! I could have shouted Hallelujah! Again, that was until...

"We may still have to make an emergency landing." Well, it didn't seem nearly as frightening, until...

"We are presently over Cuba."

This wasn't very long after the Bay of Pigs, and President Kennedy and Fidel Castro were enemies of the nth degree. Visions of my spending my entire missionary career locked in a prison cell in Cuba for the rest of my laugh danced in my head. I was sure a young missionary single woman would not be the most favorite person Castro would welcome to his fair isle. Perhaps my mother had been right when she told me I was too young to go to "a heathen land (she meant Venezuela, not Cuba) when I wasn't even old enough to vote!"

Soon the bad weather subsided and the captain announced that we would be able to proceed to Caracas as planned. What a relief. All of the passengers seemed to unite in one gigantic sigh.

But let's back up a bit. Ivan (my late husband) had his share of excitement on foreign soils too. He was in the Korean War. He was a conscientious objector, and he refused to fire a gun. In fact, when he was assigned to duty as a night guard, he agreed to carry a gun, but he never put the clip of ammunition in the gun. He trusted God to protect him, and He did a fine job of it. He often had to take ammo out to the guys that were on the front lines, and again, God had his back covered.

Their unit had a young Korean houseboy. He was a Christian and he taught Ivan several hymns in Korean: Onward Christian Soldiers and Revive Us Again were the two I remember him singing, especially when our kids were little. When Ivan left Korea, he gave his last paycheck to the houseboy. He had no idea what he did with the money, until...

One day Ivan received a letter from the houseboy. He had to find somebody who could read and write Korean to translate it for him. Thankfully, we lived right near the Grand Forks Air Force Base, so finding a bi-lingual person was not that difficult. He learned that the houseboy had given the money to his parents, and they used it to build a small chapel where they lived. They named it "The Ivan Smith Chapel." Ivan was, understandably, pleased as punch.

Now, fast forward to today... I don't know what the status is on missionaries going to South Korea, but I am sure it is impossible to get into North Korea as an American, say nothing of a missionary. Also, to my knowledge, neither Fidel nor Raul Castro are not about to welcome American missionaries to Cuba.

I'm not about to go to either of these countries, even if it were possible. For one thing, I am a whole lot older now than I was when I went to Venezuela. I don't have the money to travel the world. So, both Cuba and North Korea are safe, just in case they were worried.

However, my counter on my website http://www.janetelainesmith.com has a few stats that you can see. Recently, they have added a map so the owner of a website that has their counter in place can see where their most recent visitors are coming from. I have had hits from all over the world, which is a true delight, but what has been the most amazing thing to me is that I have been getting a whole lot of hits from both Cuba and North Korea. Thanks to the miracles of the Internet, I can carry a bit of the gospel, information about my books, and a whole lot more to these forbidden lands. Ah, yes, it is true: all things are possible with God!


  • At 6:53 PM, Anonymous Nina M. Osier said…

    Wow, Janet, that is just amazing! God moves in truly mysterious ways. Isn't it fun when we get a glimpse?

  • At 11:27 PM, Blogger Carolyn Howard-Johnson said…

    Janet, knowing you, Fidel will read this, answer you and you'll be able to use the connection forever more! Good to hear from you.

    Carolyn Howard-Johnson
    Blogging at Writer's Digest 101 Best Websites pick www.sharingwithwriters.blogspot.com

    PS: Nina, good to see you here, too!


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