Are Angels Real?
recently read the following story, reported to be true, set in Sumatra among the wild Battas. In spite of the dangers, Von Asselt and his wife sensed a call to take up missionary work among these dangerous people. "The first two years," Von Asselt said, "were such that I shudder as I think about them. It seemed as if we were constantly harassed not only by hostile men but by hostile powers of darkness."
One day a Batta leader came to me and said, "Now Tuan (which means teacher), I have one request. I would like to see your watchmen."
"What watchmen?" I asked in astonishment. "I have no watchmen!"
"The watchmen you station around your house at night to protect you," my visitor said.
"But I have no watchmen," I repeated. "I have only a little herdsboy and a little cook and they would make poor watchmen."
The man looked incredulous, as if to say: "Do not make me believe otherwise for I know better." He then asked, "May I look through your house to see if they are hidden there?"
I fear no God or devil and will get
through those watchmen easily.
"Certainly," I replied, laughing, "look through it but you will not find anybody."
So he went in and searched every corner, going even through the beds, and at last he came out very disappointed.
Then it was my turn to ask the questions. "Tell me about those watchmen you saw."
"When you first came here," he said, "we were very angry with you. So we resolved to kill you and your wife. We went to your house night after night, but when we came near there always stood close around the house, shoulder to shoulder, a double row of watchmen armed with glistening weapons. We dared not attack them to get into the house.
We were, however, unwilling to abandon our plan so we went to a professional assassin. We asked him if he would kill you and your wife. We told him who you were and about the watchmen we had seen protecting your house. He laughed at us and said, "I fear no God or devil and will get through those watchmen easily."
"So we all came together in the evening and the assassin, swinging his weapon about his head, went courageously on before us. As we neared your house we remained in the background and let him go on alone. In a short time he came running back and said, No, I dare not risk going through alone. Two rows of big strong men are there, very close together, and their weapons shine like fire.
"So we gave up the thought of killing you, but tell me, Tuan, who are those watchmen? Have you never seen them?"
Continued on Page Two