The first time I saw the LDS missionaries was through the scope of my sniper rifle—their white shirts strikingly visible against the intense green of the jungle. Who would dare be so visible in the middle of a war?
During my seven years in the Cuban military, I was trained by the Soviets and Vietnamese to carry out special warfare and insurgency operations throughout the world. We smuggled guns, ammunition, people, and explosives to 27 countries. We exploited revolution in Africa, Asia, and Central and South America. We made war—that was our only purpose. Though I had no faith of my own, my grandma had taught me the principles of the Bible well. Throughout my missions, her words were always in the back of my mind. I would need them to become the man I wanted to become. And, as I would find during a mission deep in the Guatemalan jungle, I would need them to stay alive.
You have to understand there are three rules in the jungle. One, you have to blend. If you don’t blend, you’re going to become somebody’s lunch real fast. The other rule is to move slowly. If you’re moving too fast, you can’t hear anything, such as something coming up on you. The last thing that is really important is that you have to be aware of the environment—you don’t make yourself known.
One time we were waiting for an equipment drop on a hillside in the jungle. Suddenly, something came out of the bushes and started coming down the hill—and whatever it was, it was ignoring all three of the jungle rules.
I looked closer and it was two kids—jumping around, happy, talking, and not paying attention to anything. They’re lunatics! I thought to myself. They’re gonna get themselves killed. They were wearing white shirts and ties in the jungle, skipping and jumping animatedly down the hill. I could see one laughing. “Who are these people?” I said out loud.
“Oh, they’re missionaries,” said one of my comrades.
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