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Light Unto My Path

Addie felt like she was standing in a warm shower with her clothes on. The Australian rainforest was hot and humid—and one of the most amazing places she had ever seen.

Vines hung from giant trees. Colorful flowers bloomed. Birds and insects chattered.

Nervously, Addie grabbed a vine and jumped. “Whoo!” she shouted, swinging past her new friends.

“I thought that only worked in the movies,” Kate said, grabbing another vine. “But it looks like fun.”

Soon the entire group was climbing up and swinging from vines as they steadily worked their way up the mountain.

When Addie signed up for the mission trip, she couldn’t imagine all the firsts that were in store. Her first flight across the ocean. Her first encounter with kangaroos, wallabies and koalas. Her first rainforest hike. This mountain was totally different than the ones near her home in Idaho.

A Bit More Adventure
Addie’s mission team had just wrapped up a weekend “in the bush” to help everybody get better acquainted. Once everything was packed to go back to the mission base, Davey had an idea.

“The rainforest isn’t too far from ’ere,” the young Aussie group leader said. “I know a trail up one of the mountains. At the top, we could ’ave a gander at the wedge-tailed eagles. They ’ave a wing span of 3 meters!”

Most of the group groaned at Davey’s suggestion.

“Isn’t it a bit late for that?” another leader said.

“It’s never too late for a bit more adventure,” Davey said with a twinkle in his eye. “Who wants to go?”

“I’ll go!” Addie said a little too loudly.

A group of students piled into the van. Addie was the youngest member of the team, but she felt comfortable with the other girls, especially Kate and Brigette.

“Off we go!” Davey cheered.

When they parked at the trailhead, everybody stormed out of the van and ran up the trail. The hike was incredible. Davey offered nonstop commentary on the plants and animals.

“Oi! Spot that cassowary—it’s bonzer!” he said, pointing to a large bird as it scurried away.

Addie and Brigette giggled. Even though Davey spoke English, the Aussie had a lingo all his own. It was like a game to figure out what he was saying.

At last, they reached the summit. Beautiful pinks and purples sprinkled with the golden sunset, making the view absolutely breathtaking. Just as Davey hoped, massive wedge-tailed eagles soared overhead. Everyone pulled out cameras and started snapping pictures.

“Yikies!” Davey shouted, interrupting everybody’s excitement. “We don’t want to get caught in the middle of this crazy rainforest in the dark. Grab your things, mates. We’ve gotta make tracks!”

Davey didn’t want everyone to worry, but he knew the rainforest was extremely dangerous at night. Besides getting lost, they could run into poisonous plants, deadly snakes, ghost bats, leeches, sink holes—the dangers were endless.

The sunlight was going fast, and the trail was getting harder to see.

“We’d better run!” Davey urged.

He took off running. Addie and the others tried to follow, while bumping into trees or tripping over the thick foliage.

“Did anyone bring a torch?” Davey asked, as he stopped to catch his breath.

“I left my flashlight in the van,” Addie said.

A couple kids had flip-style cellphones that produced a little light, but nobody had a flashlight.

“Lord, help us,” Davey said.

Last Light
The darkness rolled in, engulfing them. The thick covering of leaves and trees above didn’t let in any light. No shining stars. No glowing moon. Even with her eyes open, Addie couldn’t see her hand in front of her face. Her heart pounded. She had trouble breathing. The darkness seemed to smother her. Davey asked for Kate’s cellphone, flipped open the tiny light and gathered everybody together.

“We’ve got to pray,” he said. “Jesus, guide me. You said in the Bible that Your Word is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path. I need Your light right now, God!”

As Davey prayed, Addie’s mind raced. She thought of her parents and siblings back home.

Will I ever see Mom and Dad again? she wondered. Will I ever watch another of my brother’s soccer games or eat peanut butter refrigerator cookies?

She remembered the tears in her family’s eyes when they dropped her off at the airport. Will I have a chance to tell them how much I love them?

Her mom had been so excited by Addie’s interest in missions. “It will be good for you,” she’d said. “When you travel, you get to see God at work in a whole different way.”

Addie had never doubted that God was real. But everything was boring in Idaho, even her faith. She wondered why God wasn’t more active in her life. When she prayed, nothing seemed to happen. She wished she could experience God like in the Old Testament—the One who closed lions’ mouths and saved teenagers in a fiery furnace.

Addie choked back tears as waves of homesickness flooded over her. This wasn’t supposed to happen. She’d gone to Australia for adventure. But what good was adventure if you don’t make it back alive?

Oh, God, she prayed silently, if You’re out there, help us now.

Led by Fire
Davey ended his prayer. By this time, the rainforest hummed with sounds of life. Insects chirped. Birds cawed. Animals rustled in the trees. The glow from Kate’s phone dimmed.

“Battery’s dead,” Davey announced. “And we’re still a few kilometers from the van.”

Addie and Brigette hugged each other.

“So what do we do?” Kate asked.

“Pray like you’ve never prayed before,” Davey said. “God led the Hebrews by night with a pillar of fire. We should ask Him to send a divine light. Everybody needs to pray!”

Addie listened to her friends pray.

“Jesus, I’m scared,” Brigette began. “Help us get back to the van safe. Oh God, send us divine light. Send us Your fire.”

Addie wished she knew what to say. She had never asked God for something this real. It was one thing to thank Him for her food or ask for His help with a quiz. But did she really believe God would bring them light?

When they finished praying, Davey arranged the group in a single-file line. “Put your hands on the shoulder of the person in front of you. We don’t want to lose anyone.”

Addie knew Davey felt responsible. Climbing the mountain had been his idea. In spite of the danger, Addie wasn’t mad at him. She was just scared. Everybody was.

Suddenly, Addie saw a tiny flicker in the air.

“Are those floating lights?” Brigette asked.

More lights appeared, dancing along the path.

“It’s fireflies!” Addie said, excitedly.

In no time at all, hundreds of fireflies surrounded the group. Their flickering, glimmering light chased away the darkness.

“How in the world?” Davey said in astonishment.

“The darker the night, the brighter the light,” Kate replied.

Addie looked over and was amazed that she could see Kate’s smile. The rainforest looked beautiful under the glow of the fireflies.

“Let’s keep walking,” Davey spoke up. “I can see the way.”

As they hiked down the trail, the fireflies stayed right beside them.

“It’s God’s divine light,” Addie said. “He sent us His fire . . . well, at least His fireflies.”

“I’ll never swat a bug again,” Brigette said. Everybody laughed. The fear was gone, replaced by God’s peace.

When the canopy of trees finally broke and the parked van came into view, the group burst into celebration—jumping, laughing, praising, yelling and hugging. Addie looked to the sky with tears in her eyes, knowing that God had answered their prayers. Davey sank to his knees in relief.

Then, as suddenly as the fireflies had appeared, they disappeared back into the rainforest.

“Can you believe it?!” Brigette said, grabbing Addie by the shoulders.

“I-I can,” Addie said, hugging her friend. “God did it.”

Addie could hardly contain herself. She knew she would see Mom and Dad again—and what a story she had to tell!

Real-Life Aussie Adventure
Although some details have been changed, Addie’s story really happened. In 2005, Angela Bailey (the real-life Addie) joined a missionary team in Brisbane, Australia, after graduating from college. She told people about Jesus and had many wonderful experiences, including holding a koala.

During a team-building weekend, Angela and her friends got stranded in the rainforest. The leader prayed for holy fire and God sent fireflies to light their path. Angela’s faith was deeply strengthened that night.

Today, Angela works for a Christian ministry. She still trusts God to lead her every step of the way.

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