Monday, May 22, 2017

(ToM) The Intruder

The following story was inspired by a true event that really took place.

Noon has almost struck as the smell of freshly cooked food wafts

from the confines of the Shady Pines cafeteria, home to about 300

retired and elderly persons living in a retirement community on the

outskirts of Suwannee County, Florida. Adjacent to the dining hall,

a small church service is in session with a small gathering of about

20 people in attendance. A little less than half of those people

are alert and giving the sermon preached by the Pastor any

attention.The rest are fallen asleep and are slumped down in 

wheelchairs, waiting for someone to wake them for lunch. The

minister starts to conclude his message on the differences between

the righteous and wicked that something last night inspired in Room

101 of Ms.Gladys Fairchild.

Ms. Fairchild has been a resident of the community for

approximately four months due to a knee replacement surgery that

caused her to move in the retirement home for safety and physical

therapy purposes. To understand how this story occurred, the

reader must understand a little of the layout and functions of Shady

Pines Retirement Village. The community has staff on call 24/7,

and there is always someone stationed at the front desk at the

entrance of the home. The front door always stays unlocked for

friends, family, and visitors to come and go as they please. The

only thing required of guests is that they check in by signing their

name in a folder and picking up a guest badge as they enter the


Nothing was lost in this process the night before at around 2 AM

 when a man in his late 30's approached the Home and proceeded to

 check in under an alias name and went along his way inside the

 building. To the front desk attendant, nothing seemed out of the

 ordinary. He said he was there to pick some things up that his

 grandmother had called him to collect for donations. His

 appearance was casual. His demeanor was normal. There was

 nothing about him that would have thrown a red flag to say

 something was wrong. That was until about half 20 minutes later.

As the video recording showed, after the suspect signed in at the

 front desk, he then picked up his guest pass and walked down the

 hallway that led to the residents' rooms. The surveillance then

proved that the man walked slowly to room 101, took out a card,

swiped the lock to the door, and quickly made his way inside the

apartment. That is where the village's video footage stops, and Ms.

Fairchild's testimony picks up. The story has been the buzz of the 

community for the past 12 hours, and the inspiration for the Pastor's

sermon at this very moment.

Ms. Fairchild is 81 years old and for a woman at her age – despite

the knee replacement – is in excellent physical health. Her mind is

in sharp faculties as well. She attributes her keen awareness to

what she often refers to as the Word of God, continually

transforming and renewing her. And on Thursday, April 12, one

day before Friday the 13th she underwent one of the most 

challenging trials of her long life when a stranger she didn't know

broke into her home to raffle through her belongings to see what he

could steal.

Pastor Morris, at present, is in the church service (in which Ms.

Fairchild is in attendance). And right now he is exposing the works

of the one who comes but to steal, kill, and destroy while extolling

the reminder to keep in memory that we don't fight against flesh

and blood but against principalities and powers, the spiritual forces

of this evil world. As Ms. Fairchild reflects on the night she'll never

forget, she thinks to herself that love won the battle and quietly

gives God thanks for giving her the strength and vitality to do what

she did.

So as it just so happened, the hour that the intruder broke into her

home, Ms. Fairchild had risen from bed and had gone to use the

bathroom. As she was in the restroom, the burglar had made his

way into Ms. Fairchild's bedroom and had started to rummage

through her dresser drawers in search of anything valuable. From

the adjoining bathroom that was right before the door to her

bedroom, she waited and listened to the sounds the burglar was

making as he continued to go through her belongings. From her

bathroom, Ms. Fairchild silently prayed to God for courage and

wisdom as the seconds seemed to stretch on far longer than they

seemed. Finally, as the intruder was making an end to searching the

room and placing valuables in his tote bag, Ms. Fairchild made a

bold and daring move.

As he made his way back toward the door to make his exit, Ms.

Fairchild flipped the lights off in the bathroom and flung the

restroom door open (casting only a silhouette shadow to the man

outside.) After a few moments when the intruder did not go past

her to flee she opened her mouth to speak. She wanted desperately

to quote the only words she knew that would have any effect on

the situation, but her mind just would not recall any Bible verses at

the time. So she did the next best thing she could think of and held

out her arms in the dark (which she didn't know cast a reflection in

the room that was only seen by the burglar) and repeated one Bible

reference over and over again as much as she could yell it. “Acts

2:38! Acts 2:38! Acts 2:38!”

She only hollered it out from the bathroom three times until the

intruder in the other room screamed, dropped his tote bag, and ran

out of the residence as fast as his feet would take him.

Panicked, he didn't even slow down when he made his way back

out to the front lobby and fled out of the front door from where he

came in at.

It wasn't but a couple of hours later until the police gathered the

 security video and tracked him down several miles from the

 retirement village. They were surprised after they took him down

 to the police station to interrogate him. They couldn't help but

 sense the irony when they asked him why he dropped Ms.

 Fairchild's belongings and left without anything. He told them that

 he got scared after hearing her shout that she had an ax and two


And so the story went to the local newspaper as the police and

retirement home personnel breathed a big sigh of relief and

laughter. Meanwhile, Pastor Morris summed up the service by

asking the people to close their eyes and bow their heads as he

prayed a prayer that went something like this:

Father God in Heaven: Thank You for another day of your mercy

and grace. Thank You for being who You are and allowing us in on

some of the wonderful things You do. Truly, You didn't give Your

people a spirit of fear but of power, love, and a sound mind. Thank

you for protecting us again for Your name's sake. Thank you for

showing us truth from Your word that the wicked will flee when

nobody is pursuing them, but the righteous will be bold as a lion.

God, let us never forget that our adversary is also roaming about as

a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour, but greater is the One

who went to the cross and now lives in the hearts of Your people

that gives us the victory. And Lord, let us live and forever share 

the verse that Ms. Fairchild quoted last night to her burglar. Not

that we have an ax and two 38 pistols, but just what the apostle

Peter said in that verse, that people need to Repent and be 

baptized, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins so

that they will receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. In Your Holy

name, we pray. Amen.

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