Thursday, November 17, 2011

Shanda Oakley

Shanda Oakley,
Writer of

One always remembers the first miracle they witnessed: the first time they realized without a doubt that God was GOD and more powerful than any other.

During my high school years, we lived in a war zone as the country to the south of us, Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), was in a war for independence.

The blacks were fighting for independence from white rule and their base camps were in Zambia, one being just a quarter mile from our farm.  Because we were white, we were automatically suspected of being spies.  There were roadblocks with armed freedom fighters every day on the road between our house and town, where we went to school every day.  This could be scary at times as we never knew what they would do.

I remember one day I was in biology class and we heard the fighter planes.  We ran to the windows and saw them wiz by at a very low altitude.  We heard the bombs drop and them the saw the planes pass overhead again as they returned home.  My dad came to get us soon after that.  He knew they had bombed the camp near our house.  He had been in the town ship working on a church building and came to get us, to return home where my mom was alone.  

My parents and the other missionary couple on our property called a family meeting and we decided it was no longer safe to live where we were.  We would pack and move in a couple weeks.  

About 15 minutes later, some workers from a missionary property close to us came running to tell us they were torturing and raping our friends, and they were coming for us.  We grabbed only necessary items and left in a hurry, to find out they came for us three times that afternoon and evening.

Missionary friends in Lusaka decided they would form a convoy and would all go with us the next day to move our things into down.  There was one new couple that was afraid and didn’t want to commit.  They went home and prayed until they felt God giving the husband clearance to go.  The next morning the men, and our family drove back and loaded up all our vehicles with everything we could take: from furniture, to dishes, to all the animals (including the chickens my father raised for us to eat)

Everyone left in convoy except my father, my sister, me and another missionary from the farm.  As we headed out, knowing we would never return to our home, we came up on the roadblock.  They wanted us out of the car and were very forceful.  We knew if we got out, we might not make it out alive or unscathed. It was our worst experience ever at a roadblock.  Eventually they let us go.  

As we drove off, we saw that one man who had been afraid to help, returning for a second load.  He was the only one to return. We crossed paths at the roadblock so were unable warn him or tell him to turn back.

When we arrived in town all our fellow missionaries began cheering and clapping.  But my dad said, “We cannot celebrate yet, Dan is still there.  We couldn’t stop him.”  So we formed a prayer circle and prayed, and prayed.  Finally, after what seemed like forever, Dan drove up.  When asked about the roadblock, he said, “It was funny.  As I drove up, they all turned away and walked back into the bush.  It was like they didn’t see me.”  

That event buried in my heart the power of prayer and of God’s protection.  I learned to trust him with faith that believes God can move mountains, make missionaries invisible, and drive the enemy into the bush.

I don’t know why he protected us while our some of our neighbors were tortured or killed.  I learned life is not fair, and can sometimes be very cruel.  I learned you couldn’t question God. For, His ways are higher than ours.  There comes a time when all you can do is trust: and trust knowing that all things (whether good or bad in our eyes) work out for the good to those who have been called by Him.

More About Shanda:
Shanda grew up a missionary kid in Africa and has spent much of her adult life in Central America and Africa.  She currently lives in Southern California where her husband is a Pastor of Global Outreach.  Her passion is in teaching, speaking, missions and now blogging!


  1. Amazing story. I have friends who were missionaries in Afghanistan for 18 years. They told of similar experiences when they prayed for God's protection. We do serve an amazing God.

  2. As Joan states amazing! It reminds me of a time when my youngest son was being threatened by some older boys that were at odds with his older brother. They could not beat up my oldest son so they decided they would beat up Doug, being the little one and this would get back at Craig. Doug and a couple of his friends had camped out in the neighborhood < it is a rural area and the woods was right across the way, and these big bullys came and ramsacked their camp...yelling and threatening Doug they were going to beat him up due to Craig. They came to him and Doug took off running, and he ran to one of his friends house was banging on the door but no one was home so there were some shrubs there and he climbed into them...Doug said, Momma I just knew they would "see me". The bullys came up to the house where Doug was, nosed around and left ....God had hidden my baby boy! How many times has God hidden us from our enemies? His Love, His Protections IS AMAZING! Wonderful article....

  3. What an amazing story! God's protection is miraculous indeed. My in-laws were missionaries for many years and when they get together with friends, and we start hearing stories of God protecting and working in some very closed countries, it always give me chills. I know it must have taken a great deal of trust in God and courage to live in Zambia when you did.

  4. Wow Shanda...there aren't any words. I can't imagine what that was like. How scary but amazing at the same time. Amazing in the sense of being on the front lines of spreading the Gospel to an unreached place. Thanks for sharing this:)

  5. Shanda, wow! That gave me chills. So scary but God's provision was evident. Thank you for sharing.

  6. Shanda, thanks for taking time to write this story of God's amazing power and love! God's Word tells us to always remember what we've seen God do, and to be sure and tell our kids and grandkids. This is excellent memoir material. :)


  7. What an amazing testimony of God's protection and power! Thanks for sharing your story with us and encouraging us to never stop praying.