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Seated on logs under the shade of a tree, the 230 Christian students were just beginning their English
lesson when they heard the terrifying sounds overhead. A plane roared across the sky above the school yard. Within minutes, the Islamic army had dropped five bombs from a large Russian-made bomber.

Terrified and screaming, the children immediately started running. Two of the bombs landed in dry trenches around the village, and another
failed to detonate.

Unfortunately, the other two nail-studded bombs landed squarely among the frightened students. The explosion was tremendous. The damage, unthinkable.

By 9:15 A.M. the bomber was gone, and the horrible reality began to set in. Students wandered dazed around the school yard, crying and bleeding. Twelve of their classmates ranging in age from nine to sixteen had not survived the blast. Their beloved young teacher, Roda Ismail, also lay dead among the rubble.

Another seven students lost their battle for survival in the days following the attack, and three had to have limbs amputated.

The very next day, children showed up for school as usual. The exhausted and despondent schoolmaster told them to go home. “I cannot
tell you when or if we will resume classes.” A ten-year-old boy approached him and said, “Please let us continue. We want to learn, and if it is God’s will, then today we won’t die.”

Life at the crossroads. We’ve all been there, wavering between giving up and going on. Like the schoolboy, the crowds who were following Jesus one day realized the path they were on was fraught with danger. Like the despondent schoolmaster, many in the crowd headed for home, not able to say if or when they would continue to follow Christ. Yet Peter and the other disciples remained. The schoolboy’s solemn request echoes Peter’s response, “Let us continue.” When we are tempted to give up, let us continue. When it seems like following Christ is too difficult, let us continue. Are you facing the crossroads of commitment? Ask God to give you the strength to go on instead of give up.

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