Friday, July 09, 2004

a tale of two divers

Elwyn Davies tells the story of the days he was stationed in North Africa during the Second World War. In the harbor were 187 sunken ships and it was the task of his men to send divers into these ships, to find the safes and blast them open to find documents that pertained to the enemy and his plans.

In those days the divers wore the old-type diving suits, not like those used today. Every diver had a buddy and every buddy had a reserve buddy.

Across the harbor at this station were chalk cliffs where caves and tunnels had been dug in. One such cave had three chambers: the innermost chamber housed the divers, the middle chamber held communications and in the outer chamber, the buddies stood waiting.

When the diver went into the water his #1 buddy would sit on a three-legged stool by the water’s edge holding in his left hand held a pressure gauge. His right hand held the handle of a small, innocent-looking wheel. When immediately the helmet was fixed and the diver entered with water the eyes of his buddy were glued to that gauge and his hand carefully turned, pumping the air into his buddies’ lungs.

And as long as the diver was in the water, his buddy was fixed, immovable, just turning the wheel and watching the air pressure.

In those days were also dive-bombers: fast, low-flying German dive-bomber, who every now and then throughout the day would come sweeping down into the harbor area splattering their bombs.

Over and over again, the buddy would sit on the stool clutching the gauge in one hand and turning the wheel with the other, eyes glued to the dial. Over and over again, that buddy would be cut in half, sliced right in half by the bullets and bombs. Over and over again, before his body fell into the water, another buddy would run out of the cave, snatch up the gauge and turned the pumps.

In all those months, not one diver was lost.

This is what prayer is all about to missionaries serving Jesus in the ends of the earth, living in lands not their own.

I was recently told by a local church that asking for support was against policy, but they would pray for me as I finish preparations for going to Africa.

Everybody prays when divers were in the water and dive-bombers zoom overhead, but who is on the stool?

Thanks to those who have manned the pumps . . .

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