By: Ely Lagajino

Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.”

Deuteronomy 31:6 (NKJV)

After high school, again I worked as an LE assigned in a rebel stricken territory in Bicol. Since we finished visiting all homes and establishments in the town proper our group was assigned in the largest barangay (barrio) away from the town proper. 

One Sunday morning my co-workers had several appointments so I went to the barangay alone. While waiting for the barangay chief also called captain, I noticed a rusty old gun on top of his table. The captain became interested in books that he ordered one—a birthday gift for his wife, before issuing me a permit. What an inspiration that sunny morning!  

Later, while I was in the house of another customer, two barangay contact tracers interrupted my sales talk. They escorted me to the Captain who wanted to speak to me.  We found him under the gazebo drinking with a group of men.

Wearing a big smile, I approached the captain,   but he pointed his gun on my throat. I smelled alcohol as he shouted and accused me of illegal entry. In silence everybody waited for a gunshot. Regaining my composure I showed the permit he issued and his order receipt. Instantly, he bowed his head, and allowed me to leave.

While walking back to the house, the two escorts expressed their resentment over their chief’s behaviour.  One of them asked me, “Why are you still smiling?” 

“I don’t believe that his rusty old gun would even function.” I answered, “Besides, I believe God sent me to this place for a purpose and He will protect me.”  I managed to look brave enough to say that too.

Upon returning to the house a familiar figure surprisingly came out—my co-worker who happened to catch up. I chose not to disclose the discouraging experience as we worked successfully that day. To this date, my friend Lem who became a long time publishing director in Bicol, remains clueless of what transpired that day. 

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