Utter Darkness

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My family were missionaries in Central Africa when I was young. 

I was eight when we left Africa and permanently returned to the U.S. in 1966. We moved to Carlsbad, New Mexico, where my father became a district pastor.

One of the highlights of living in Carlsbad is the opportunity to take walking tours through the caverns in Carlsbad Caverns National Park.

Although the tours are now self-guided, back in the 1960s, the Park Service provided guided tours of the caverns. You would walk in through a naturally-formed entrance and stop along the way as your park ranger guides would explain certain aspects of the cave, such as the entrance to the Bat Cave, showing us stalactites and stalagmites and explaining how each formed. One thing I remember was an area called the Bottomless Pit. It isn’t actually bottomless, but it is a perfect name since you can’t see the bottom at 140 feet deep.

When the tour reached deep into the cavern, the guides would tell everyone to sit on the stone benches and cover any light source, such as glow-in-the-dark watches. (There were no cell phones in the 60s and early 70s.) Then, they would turn off all the lights. The darkness was complete; you could not even see your hand if it was right in front of your face. After a few moments, the lights would be turned back on, and the tour would continue, ending in the lunchroom, where you rode an elevator back to the surface.

I always felt a great sense of relief when the lights came back on. I didn’t want to try to get out of there in the dark.

Thinking about this experience brings to mind the darkness lived in by so many people in this world. They don’t have the gospel light. These millions of people need guides to turn on the lights for them so they can see the way to God and eternal life with Him.

Many more workers who will go and bring the light to these precious people are needed. Please prayerfully consider how you can help turn on the lights for those living in darkness. If you are unable to go, please support them with your prayers and sacrificial giving.

May God bless each of you.