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Held Up At Gunpoint

by Carrie Francisco

As a gun pressed hard against Jenniferís back, she prayed to Jesus for help!

    The phone rang several times before I picked it up. I slowly tore myself away from the movie I was watching to answer it.
    It was Uncle John—at 9:30 p.m. He never called this late.
    “Carrie,” he said, “let me talk to your dad.”
    There was no teasing in his voice like there usually was. I’d never heard my uncle sound so serious. Immediately I sensed something was wrong.
    I gave the phone to Dad, fearing that something bad had just happened.
    The first person that popped into my head was my sister, Jennifer. She lived with our uncle and aunt and was attending Forest Lake Academy, a Seventh-day Adventist boarding academy. The thought of something bad happening to her made me feel sick.
    Dad got off the phone and started talking to Mom, who immediately got up and headed for the door. Then my parents told me that my sister had just been held up at gunpoint.

Out of the shadows
    On that dark, breezy night the basketball game was the only thing on students’ minds.
    “Come on, Jennifer,” pleaded Stephanie. “I really need to grab my purse from my car, and I don’t want to go out to the parking lot by myself.”
    Jennifer stood, intently watching the game, her long, dark-brown hair tied in a bun. Her caring face softened at Stephanie’s request. Jennifer didn’t want to miss the game, but she didn’t want Stephanie going out to the parking lot by herself.
    “All right, let’s go,” Jennifer responded as she turned toward the door. Outside Jennifer and Stephanie walked toward the car, giggling along the way. Clouds partially covered the moon that warm night. The absence of lights in the parking lot made it very dark. Even the surrounding trees kept moonlight from reaching it.
    The girls made it to Stephanie’s car and started looking for her purse. Jennifer looked up for a minute. She noticed someone coming out from the shadows of the trees. At first she thought it was someone she knew, but then she realized she’d never seen this person before.
    Jennifer took in the sight of the man from his feet to the black ski mask on his face. Her eyes, though, focused on the gun pointed at her. The next thing she knew, the gun was in front of her face, between her eyes.
    Then the gun pressed hard against Jennifer’s back. It pushed her to the ground face first. Jennifer breathed in all the dust on the road, making it hard for her to breathe. The man decided to put her head underneath the car’s back tire. Next he told  Stephanie to get on the ground. The whole ordeal seemed surreal to Jennifer—like a bad dream.
    Jennifer prayed, “Jesus, please send Your angels to keep us safe. Please send Your protection.” At that moment she got the impression that angels were surrounding her and Stephanie, that God had sent His angels to protect them. And then these words flowed though her mind, “No matter what this man does, I hold your life in My hands.”
    The man got into Stephanie’s car and turned it on. Jennifer’s head was still under the back tire.
    “Jennifer!” Stephanie screamed, her voice was shaky, yet firm. “Get your head away from the back tire. He’s going to run over you—move!”
    Immediately Jennifer responded by jerking her head out of the way. A few seconds later the car screeched, its tires going right over the area where   Jennifer’s head had been.
    Jennifer and Stephanie waited on the ground for a couple minutes before leaving the scene. Then they ran as fast as they could to the gym. Finally they were in the safety of the massive crowd of teenagers.
    “Pastor Bob, we were just held up by a guy with a gun, and he just stole   Stephanie’s car!” Jennifer told the religion teacher.
    At first Pastor Bob didn’t believe her; he thought it was a school prank. Then Jennifer spotted Uncle John. She ran to him and told him what had happened. Uncle John called the police.

In God’s hands
    As my family and I drove to Forest Lake Academy so we could see Jennifer, I thought about what had just happened to her. Terror gripped my heart. The 45-minute ride to the school seemed like hours. My trembling fingers gripped together in prayer. I felt ashamed for not having a close relationship with my sister. I realized I should never take somebody I love for granted.
    By the time my parents and I arrived at the school, the police were nearly finished questioning Jennifer and Stephanie. It was such a relief to see Jennifer and know that she was OK. When I finally went to bed that night, I felt very thankful to God for how  He’d protected Jennifer.
    God is the one who holds your life in His hands. No one else does, and no one else matters.

    Carrie Francisco wrote this story when she was a junior at Collegedale Academy in Collegedale, Tennessee. This past summer Carrie went to Ghana with ShareHim ministries and helped preach an evangelistic series.   Now she’s back at Southern Adventist University in Collegedale, Tennessee, studying mass communication.

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