Most of my visions up to this point had been silent. I was jealous of that silence and concerned that I might be missing something in my interpretation. I had asked God for sound to be added to my visions. I got more than I asked for. As a matter of fact, I learned that you really need to be very careful what you ask for – you might actually get much more than you expected.
After spending some time there, they were sent off by the brothers with the blessing of peace to return to those who had sent them. Acts 15:33 (NIV)
That night all the people of the community raised their voices and wept aloud. Num 14:1 (NIV)
I awoke about the usual time, about 7:00 A.M. and started to sit up. It was Friday March 28, 1997. My wife was already up and in the kitchen. Suddenly there was a voice, extremely loud and very distinct, coming through my head!
“We are gathered here today to mourn the loss of Elaine who lost her life in the service of our Lord as a missionary she was one of twenty in a tragic accident . . . ”
I have to admit that other than the names, I am not certain of the exact words, as I was terrified throughout. I could not remember the exact words when I described this event in my journal.
The words quoted above are very close, and give you an idea of what was said. The text of the eulogy, as given above, does not have any punctuation on purpose.
It only took a few seconds of wildly looking around to go into a state of panic, because these words were not coming through my ears, were not in my voice or thoughts, and there was no source for them in the room.
They simply overrode everything in my mind due to the loudness. It was extremely loud. I was panic-stricken and thinking about what was happening independently of the words.
I could not stop the words from coming. I fell back on the bed and began looking wildly around to see who was shouting at me. At one point I was on my knees looking around. When this eulogy was completed in some 15-20 seconds, it started over immediately with a second name,
“We are gathered here today to mourn the loss of Joan who lost her life in the service of our Lord as a missionary she was one of twenty in a tragic accident . . . ”
Followed by a third name,
“We are gathered here today to mourn the loss of Bill who lost his life in the service of our Lord as a missionary he was one of twenty in a tragic accident . . . ”
By now I was crying out and thrashing on the bed. (My wife never heard a thing.) I was terrified that it would never stop. However, it simply continued with a fourth name.
“We are gathered here today to mourn the loss of John who lost his life in the service of our Lord as a missionary he was one of twenty in a tragic accident . . . ”
I was still in total panic, because the volume was almost deafening, and could not be stopped even though at one point I threw myself back on the bed and covered my ears with my pillow.
Each time the words were repeated exactly, except for the names which changed each time. When the fourth one was finished, the eulogy suddenly stopped and everything returned to normal.
I wrote these impressions in my journal:
1) I had the impression that this was a bus accident that involved a train, and that these were missionaries in West Africa.
I don’t know where I got those impressions, but it could have been stated further into the eulogy, or part of a vision going on at the same time – I was in too much of a panic to pay attention.
2) I keep remembering a scene of a train wreck in a green valley far away. I didn’t think that there was a vision accompanying the eulogy, but I keep seeing the train accident along the side of a valley that winds through a mountainous area whenever I think of it. (As of June 2007, I still see that valley and the train wreck)
It is possible that there was a vision but, if so, I was too terrified to get more than an impression of the scene out of it all.
3) The eulogy was monotone, nonstop, without pause or punctuation. It was like it was given by a machine. There were no stops between the eulogies, and was totally evenly spaced.
Every word was at the same volume level and accompanied by what I remember as a visual page of the words in front of me. As I relive the eulogy, I can see the words spread out in front of me with the scene in the background. Yet, I don’t remember a vision.
4) Although there was no vivid vision involved, and I saw my room, bed, hands, etc. clearly without any visual interference, I still had the impression that the words were printed in my mind and there was a square pattern to it.
5) As each eulogy was given, the name of the person was stationed at a corner of the square pattern of words, in bold print, until all four corners were posted.
Again this was not in a vision form like my other visions where the vision hides everything else in my sight (all of the previous visions were such that all I could see was the vision itself.)
Nor was it an overlay over my view of the room. Yet I remember the words in page-form format. The words were bold, more like a memory of a page seen earlier.
I don’t know if my panic caused the words to stop – my panic came from a fear that it wouldn’t stop! Nothing I was doing was affecting it, even though I was wide awake, sitting up and thrashing about. I was suddenly hearing things and I was afraid that it would be permanent. I also don’t remember if I called out for it to stop; I think it finished what God wanted to tell me, and then stopped.
Initially, I was still confused and frightened by the message, and I didn’t know what to do. After a while, I recalled a discussion with my pastor where I suggested to him that it might be possible to pray visions in or out.
Praying it out.
I had become afraid that I might have a vision of a coming event, a prophecy of something bad, and I had stewed over what I would do in that situation. Somewhere I had heard a television minister say that you could pray bad ones out, meaning pray against them so that they don’t come true.
He also suggested that you should pray for good visions to come true. His theory was that God sometimes gave you a look at the future as it might happen, and you could pray for it either way, and He would listen.
Although I didn’t consider this to be a vision, I did consider it to be a revelation so I did a quick prayer against this event. I began praying to God to intervene and see these people safely to their destination.
I also drove to the church when it opened at nine and left a note for my pastor to “Please pray a bus/train accident involving missionaries out.” I also gave him the names.
I was certain that he would think that I had lost my mind.
For several days afterward, I searched the papers and watched the news for anything like the accident. I was afraid of what I might learn. There was never any word of anything remotely resembling such an accident happening.
I still wonder if it happened in West Africa, would I hear about it here? Did my prayers actually prevent it from happening because God intervened? Or was it all just a realistic nightmare? A final possibility, of course, is that it will happen some time in the future. As to the latter, I pray not.
I still sit up and take notice when I hear about a bus accident or train accident. (I’ve done a number of occasional searches for missionaries involved in train/bus accidents over the years – found none).
A chilling event occurred as I was cleaning the sanctuary area as part of my volunteer duties the Monday following The Eulogy. A child had filled out a visitor’s card with three names on it. Nothing but first names, no address or other information.
The names were Elaine, Joan, and John, the names of three of the missionaries. I showed it to my pastor and he agreed that those were three of the names that I had left in my earlier message. We laughed at the coincidence. Secretly I prayed that these children be protected when they grow up, particularly if they later become missionaries.
There are lots of “crazy people” who hear voices. Hopefully, I am not one of them, but I feel that I was hearing true voices from God. I base this hope on my faith and my prior experiences with visions. God is alive, and historically he has given visions and revelations to others as well.
I have heard it said that in Biblical times, those who had visions, or heard voices, were called prophets, but those in modern times are treated as schizophrenics. I’m not ready to be medicated. – I’m convinced that God has other plans for me. I’m not a prophet either.
(Note added today June 3, 2007: It has been 10 years now and I’m not medicated nor have I been anything but a normal ordinary person – certainly not a prophet).
I don’t want to have the responsibility for knowing a tragedy and not being able to prevent it. The only way that I can think of to confirm this type of vision is to let it happen. However, I could not purposely suppress a prayer and allow such a vision come true.
Maybe God is telling me that I don’t really want to know the future, and I shouldn’t have asked for words with my vision.
I will always be very careful of what I pray for.
Next up – The Grave