The photo above is the street where this incident took place. You can clearly see there was no place to run from a group of armed soldiers…especially late at night.
I want to share a particular experience that took place while I was working outside the United States. There are literally dozens of times help came from unexpected sources; yet, this one was so profound in nature that the memory of it will never leave me.
While in Bucharest Romania, I found I had to move from place to place within the city that had a population of just over three million. They have an immense subway system, which are three stories underground. During the night was especially difficult getting from place to place. As a woman, I never traveled alone but would always have one of my travel team with me…also a woman.
One night after getting off the subway and making our way up to the street, we noticed a large group of military men (not Romanian). They were very loud and vulgar…they had obviously been drinking.
I should say, too, that during this time there was very little lighting on the streets. This was shortly after the revolution. The street we had to walk down to get to our apartment was virtually unlit. The street was very narrow and cars were parked on both sides.
As the two of us began walking, this group of soldiers began following us…taunting us with vile remarks. They broke up into three groups. One group in front of us, one was behind us…while the others were walking next to us…between the buildings and us.
Having been in circumstances like this before, and being a woman it was easy to deduce what their plans were. The terror we were feeling was palpable; there was no ready solution to this problem. We kept looking forward as we were walking.
In Romania, it is customary for women that are walking down the street to link arms…, which we were doing. My travel team member and I began praying aloud for the Lord to intervene on our behalf. I remember clearly what we prayed, it was from Isaiah 54…”No weapon that is formed against you shall prosper”…we also asked the Lord to put a hedge of protection around us that no enemy could penetrate.
We no sooner finished praying, when all of a sudden from one of the doorways on that narrow street…out walked a young man. He came immediately to the two of us women. He placed himself between me and the soldiers that were nearest the doorway. It was obvious by his demeanor that he knew the danger before us.
He immediately began speaking to us as if he had known us all his life. He had a heavy accent that we recognized was not a Romanian accent. He said to us “Begin laughing as if I just told you the funniest joke”. The strategy of the instant recognition and friendship seemed to have taken the wind out of the sails of the soldiers that had been following us.
They quickly lost interest in following us as they disbanded and moved as a group and went across the street. Our prayers were answered!
This young man escorted us all the way to our apartment. We had time to find out a little about him. He was Muslim, and was in Romania studying medicine. I stayed in contact with him for many years. He was my introduction to those of the Muslim faith.
This was not the only time I saw this young man while in Romania. I will share more of this on a later post. He is one of the most amazing people I’ve ever met.
Once he got back home in Egypt, he invited me to come for a visit to stay with he and his family. I will never forget this young man and the kindness he showed to us that evening when we were facing such danger.