Saturday, July 23, 2011

Thieves, Bandits and Shiftas

My uncle, Emanuel J. Sorenson, was a missionary in Ethiopia and Jamaica before and after World War II. Once a week there will be story that provides a glimpse of what missionary life was like for his family, as related by his daughter and my cousin, Jane Spear.

“A thief has been here and stolen from me.”
Dad was sitting on the couch in his office, slightly bent forward with his hands clasped together in his lap. He sounded very tired when he told me this. He said he knew who it was. The trusted neighbor boy who had attended to the yard while my mother was alive had continued his weekly job. He was the one who knew my Dad’s habit of a daily nap in his office. He even knew where my Dad kept the money in his desk. That fifty dollars hurt Dad because he felt betrayed. While we sat side by side, our hands intertwined as he related the following.

“I am eighty-six years old and have traveled and lived all over the world. No one has ever stolen from me before.”
Then he related some of his experiences with bandits and “shiftas.”
“In the early days, trekking in Ethiopia, I was at the home of Eric Palm in Northern Ethiopia. The first night there were loud cries from the servants, “Shiftas! Shiftas!” Eric Palm dressed quickly and made the much-regretted decision to run outside. The “Shiftas” were very visible in the bright moonlight. They had decided to steal the tires from the Model T that was such a novelty in Ethiopia. They changed directions from the car to run after Eric Palm. He made it inside the house, where his wife was hiding. The shiftas made it as far as the bedroom where Dad had been sleeping. The men were pushing against the flimsy door and Dad had braced his shoulders against the door and his feet on the bed. With every shove he prayed for help. The help came, not from the servants, but from the barking dogs. The bandits knew the alarm would arouse the neighbors.

Read more at Adventist Perspective.


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