5. Rasha

With long brown hair in the wind she bent down and picked up a flower. Inhaling deeply she remembered her youth. She and her best friend loved playing in the flower fields when they were children. They would pick flowers and place them in their hair.  That was the best part of being Zay’s best friend. She always admired Abba's beauty.

     “I thought I would find you here.” He stated.

     “Yes Sir. Anytime I can walk on the earth I visit these fields. Their flowers are the best.”

     “You miss your friend.”

     “Yes, I miss my friend." Looking out into the fields and back at her superior Rasha replies, "I always wondered why Jesus died for them. They all seemed to treat their lives with this reckless abandonment but not her. She was always so careful and everything was precious. Even as a little girl she was always so kind.”

     He placed a hand on her shoulder. “Rasha my friend, she isn’t a little girl anymore.”

     “Yes Sir, I know. That is why I wanted to be here. I know her better than anyone. Almost anyone.”

     “Her training is going to be demanding on her physically, mentally, and spiritually. She may come under attack in her weakened state. You will be responsible for her protection until she can fight for herself. Can you do that Rasha?”

     Looking directly into his eyes she answered, “With my very existence.” Rasha accepted the scroll being handed to her and walked into the fields disappearing from sight. Another host of heaven appeared as Rasha walked away.

      “Sir. Do you think she is up to the task? She is a young “Foster”. She doesn’t have a lot of experience.”

     “She will learn.”

     “But Sir, this is a very big task watching over a Paga Warrior’s training. There may be battles and confrontations with our enemy.”

     “No doubt there will be, but she must learn. Rasha knows her mission: to learn how to defend Azaliah. She will grow as Azaliah grows. This is Clandoc’s way and we will honor it.”

     “Yes Sir." The host of heaven smiled. Do you think he will observe?”

     “He may. Some Generals have chosen to observe their Paga’ Warrior’s training. They just don’t interfere. None of us do.”

     “Yes Sir.”

     “Rasha is right you know.”

     “About what Sir?”

      “These fields do grow the sweetest smelling Azalea flowers.”

 

Find out what's next for our new Paga warrior. Who will be her first teacher? What will she learn? Find out in the next installment of The Messengers of Enmity: The European!

4. Sensei Kyoto

     “This is creepy” Azaliah thought as she walked to the park. With the box tucked securely under her arm she walked towards an empty bench.  As she sat and waited she whispered a small prayer “Lord, please let whoever comes today not be a psycho. I believe in you it’s just that I have never had to step out on faith like this.”  

     “Small beginnings.” 

     “Hello Young Paga’.” Facing Azaliah was a slightly muscled man with black and gray hair. He looked like if he was in his 40s but he stood there she knew he had earned many more years.

     “I am Kyoto. I’ve been waiting a long time to meet you Azaliah. Sensei Kyoto sat down to face Azaliah. “I see you have found the scroll.”

     “It was given to me by Kenji.”

     “Kenji.” smiled Sensei Kyoto. My grandson is very helpful.”

     “I don’t know what’s going on. I’m not sure if this is really happening to me or if you have the wrong person. I’m not much of a fighter.”

     “No?” Sensei Kyoto raised his eyebrows. “Who was the little girl who fought the bully for her friend Kelsi? And the little girl who wouldn’t let the the older kids in the neighborhood pick on her brother? What about the teenage girl who stood up to the town bully and won?” Azaliah sat looking puzzled as Sensei Kyoto continued.

     “Now you're wondering how do I know so much about you? I have been called to look out for you. To watch over you as you become who God has destined you to be. I have seen your story young Paga' and it is a great one.

     “Who showed you my story?”

     “Abba.”

     “Abba? Who is that?”

     “You call him God,” says Sensei Kyoto,  “but we call him Abba. It’s like a term of endearment for those of us who are Paga’. Yes, he is God our Father, but he is so much more.”

     Azaliah’s eyes grew wide as she began to understand Sensei Kyoto was a Paga’ warrior like herself.  “You will come to know him as Abba in time. For now, I must tell you of your assignment. Sensei Kyoto closed his eyes, and with a deep breath began to tell her the story he had practiced for years.

     “God has called you to be his warrior, his “Paga’”, here in the earth. The meaning of the word is Old Hebrew and it has many meanings. What you should know is you are called to intercede on behalf of humanity. To attack the evil darkness that attempts to take out mankind.

     “You know that God loves humanity. He may not like all the things we do but nothing can separate us from God’s love. It is eternal. The evil darkness, our enemy,  he doesn't love us. He doesn’t love God’s creation and will steal, kill, and destroy us all if he has the chance. This is where you come in.”

     “How can I do anything about that?” Face crinkled in frustration Azaliah stood up to leave. With a gentle hand on her arm Sensei Kyoto softly spoke to her.  

     “You think that because you don’t know who you are. Most of us don’t. So we doubt what God can do because we think he functions like us. That would be incorrect. We forget that God is the initiator and completer of our faith. Only the creator can tell the creation who they are and what they are meant for. This you find out by spending time in his presence, listening to what he says about you. And you are meant to fight for him.”

     “I can barely have an argument let alone fight.”

     “You will learn.”

     “I just want to help people. For them to be a better version of themselves.”

     “You will fight for the mother fighting for her children. For the man who wants to be free from drugs. For the children who are being abused. You will fight for your loved ones and for my loved ones because someone must. ”

     Azaliah turned towards the open park and began to walk. “Did you go through this? Did God call you to be this warrior?”

     “Yes he did and I ran.”

     “What?” Azaliah exclaimed. “You ran but you expect me to just say sure I’ll go fight the darkness by myself.”

     “No, not by yourself. I expect you will be unsure of yourself but sure in God. I wasn’t even a Christian. I was just minding my own business when a woman walked into my music store. She gave me a box and told me where to meet her. I didn't go. It was 5 years before I saw her again. I should say I was embarrassed but I’m not because what I learned in those 5 years about myself as I ran from Abba shaped me.”

     “How do I learn to be this warrior this Paga’ warrior?”

     “You will be trained by others like yourself. They too are Paga’ just more mature in the fight. You will learn some fighting techniques and you will also develop your own fighting style. Some of the lessons you learn will be less tacticle and more guided by Abba.”

     “How many trainers are there?”

     “For now 3.”

     “Are they here in Japan? “

     “No, they are around the world and they each will teach you different skills to defeat the darkness. The European, the African, and the Nordic.”

     “Those are their names?

     “That is what they will be called for now. Kenji will give you instructions on when you need to leave for training.” Sensei Kyoto begins to walk away.

     “Wait! Leave? I have a job and a life I can’t just pick up and leave!”

     “It has been 1 year since you and Mekhi ended your relationship. How much of a life have you had since then?” Sensei Kyoto looked at Azaliah shuffling her feet and remembered his own confusion when he learned his purpose. 

     “You will know when it’s time and you will be ready. God said he knows the plans he has for you. They are good plans not meant to harm you but to give you a hope and a future. Stay ready young Paga’ because the kingdom of darkness is getting ready for you.

3. The Scroll

The next day Tiki, Azaliah, and some of Tiki’s family members decided to visit the park they frequented when in Osaka and have lunch. Afterwards Tiki and her brother started a game of soccer. Azaliah was engrossed in the soccer match when she heard a faint shuffling behind her. 

“Hi ‘My friends call me Zay.’” Kenji smiled.

“Oh, hi. Kenji right? Small world.”

“Yes, but just Kenji.”

“Of course” Azaliah smiled. “Do you live around here?”

“Sure.” He took a seat across from Azaliah.

“Sure? Is that a yes you live here or a no you don’t live here?”

“Let’s just say I am from the area.”

“Okay. So what brings you here to the park?”

“I’m here to deliver a message.” Kenji pulled out a beautifully designed black, gold, and white rectangle box and places it before Azaliah.

“Is that for me?”

“Yes Paga’.”

“What does that even mean?! Wait. Were you the one who sent me those creepy text messages at the airport? Are you stalking me?” Azaliah looked around alarmed.

“Hey Kenji!” yelled Tiki. “You going to play or what?”

“I’ll be there in a sec!” Looking back at Azaliah Kenji's deep brown eyes contained such respect she wondered if it was all for her. 

“Who are you.” Azaliah demanded.

“I am a friend and yes, this box is for you. Don’t skip any lines. Not even one word. There are lives that depend on it.” Kenji got up and walked over to the soccer match. He stopped and looked over his shoulder he added, “Your life depends on it.”

In the dim light of Azaliah’s guest bedroom she pulled out the long black, gold, and white ornate box and wondered what was inside. When she ran her hand over the intricate designs she marveled at its beauty. How many other people had received this same box she thought?  As she pondered this she found a small inscription on the edge of the lid by the latch. It read, “For they who are called.”

Azaliah blew out a shaky breath and with unsteady hands she opened the latch. Inside there was a long blood red velvet bag. As she picked up the bag she turned it on its side and slid out the contents. It was a scroll. It looked worn around the edges yet the paper was in excellent condition. The scroll smelled of sandalwood and was very smooth to the touch. Azaliah turned the scroll and marveled at its beauty. She could see there was writing on the inside. Remembering the warning Kenji gave her Azaliah shut and locked her door and sat down with the scroll in front of her. 

Breaking the scroll’s white wax seal, she began to read:

A long time ago during the times of gladiators and myths God our Father called forth human warriors to fight alongside angels for humanity. Putting on the full armor of God and carrying His anointing these warriors waged tremendous war on the kingdom of darkness. The Paga’ warrior was both loathed and feared by the enemy’s army. God gave great abilities to the warriors specific to his or her call. Some were given the ability to speak in many languages, some the ability to see into the past and future. Some warriors could hear the secret whisperings of the heart, while others could discern the truth from a lie. There were many more gifts given by Abba Father but all the warriors were blessed with many human years. Some have been known to live up to 200 years.

Young Azaliah, you have been called and chosen to be God’s Paga’ warrior. You have been called to join the ranks of God’s human warriors to continue to wage war on the kingdom of darkness for humanity. This walk isn’t easy or glamorous and can be lonely at times. It is also victorious, fulfilling, and truly blessed. There is a lot for you to learn young Paga’. Go to the place where you received this scroll. I'll be waiting for you there.

~Sensei Kyoto

Azaliah, laying the scroll down on her bed, closed her eyes and began to pray:

“Father God, in the name of Jesus, if this is you please settle my heart and give me a peace that passes all understanding in Jesus name Amen.” When Azaliah opened her eyes there was a text message waiting for her. It was from one of her good friends Lila.

"Hi Azaliah!  I was listening to my Podcast and you came to my mind. I know breaking up with Mekhi was tough but you'll make it. You're a fighter and you have always bounced back from whatever you've gone through. So don't stop fighting. You found God right? I bet you can ask him for his strength and he would give you that and more. Take care and I hope to see you soon!"

The words on the screen took Azaliah’s breath away and as she accepted the call in her heart she knew her life had changed forever. 

2. The Stranger

Azaliah's arrival at Narita Airport was as any other plane flight and as she and Tiki walked towards the airport's exit, Azaliah kept thinking about the messages she received earlier.

“So strange,” she thought. As she walked through the doors she spotted a young man leaning against the wall staring at her. Picking up her bag she looked in the direction of the young man again and to her surprise he was right next to her.

Azaliah jumped. “Oh you scared me!”

“I didn’t mean to scare you. I wanted to help you with your bags. One seems to have opened,” the stranger stated.

With that Azaliah looked at her smaller bag and realized it had opened spilling its contents on the ground.

“Thank you so much. Um, Arigato.” Azaliah awkwardly bows as she thanks the stranger.

“You are welcome,” he smiles.

Azaliah nervously sticks out her hand. “I’m Azaliah, but my friends call me Zay,” 

“I’m Kenji and my friends call me Kenji.” Kenji smiles as he shakes Azaliah's hand.

“Cute,” Azaliah says as she zips up her bag. “ I think that about does it. Thank you again Kenji.”

“You’re welcome Azaliah. I’ll see you around.” Kenji walks towards the airport and slips inside through the glass rotating doors.

“I doubt it,” Azaliah says under her breath.

Tiki and Azaliah arrive at Tiki’s family home in Osaka just in time for Azaliah's favorite dish.  After dinner Azaliah decides to go for a walk in the family garden. Finding a bench, she sits down and pulls a worn envelope from her pocket. She habitually takes out the letter and begins to read the words.

My Dearest Azaliah,

            Words cannot express the pain in my heart as I write this letter. I’m still in shock that our relationship is over. I keep playing our last conversation over and over again in my head and itstill doesn’t feel real. After all the time we have spent together our relationship came down to a decision to accept or reject Jesus. Honestly, I didn’t believe we would make the choices that we made.

I would like to believe that we’ll both get our heads on straight and get over ourselves. I would like to believe that this is just a phase you’re going through and you’ll come to your senses. Deep down I don’t think that you will and this scares me. It scares me because I know I won’t either.

Zay, know that I love you with all my heart. And you can have my heart but I don’t think it is big enough for both him and me. I don’t really know what to say except that I’m sorry. I hope in time you’ll come back to me because I’ll be waiting.

 With All My Love,

Mekhi

Tears dripped on Azaliah’s hand as she folded the note and placed it gingerly back in its envelope. She received Mekhi’s letter 3 weeks after their heated argument in her dorm room. Sitting on her bed at the time she wondered if she would ever see Mekhi again. A year later she would come to understand the answer was no.

As Azaliah sat on the bench she began to replay all the conversations they had about God and Jesus. She closed her eyes and saw all the heated conversations that ensued after the day she said yes and became a Christian. After replaying all the arguments and reliving all the tears she still came to the same conclusion: accepting Jesus was the best decision she had ever made. The one decision in her life that made sense. At that moment she knew what she needed to do.

After Azaliah placed the letter back in its envelope she walked over to the waterfall in the family garden. With her bare hands she dug into the mud and carved out a small hole. She ripped the letter to pieces and placed each piece in the hole and covered them with wet earth and stone.

“I can’t hold onto the pain anymore. You made your choice. Now I’m making mine. Good-bye Mekhi.” With these last words Azaliah walked away from the waterfall and her pain.

 

 

1. The Beginning

Azaliah sat in her bay window looking out over the city. Bean, her Himalayan cat, lay on her lap as she absentmindedly stroked his fur. It had been 1 year since she and Mekhi broke off their four-year relationship and the sting of it had only grown dull.

     “Where did it go wrong Bean?” asks Azaliah. “We were so happy then all of a sudden we weren’t. How could me accepting Jesus as my Lord and Savior be what tore us apart? Jesus is love and that is what we had. So why did Mekhi push him away? Why did he push me away?”   Azaliah’s mind drifts back to that hurtful day.

One year ago...

     Azaliah and Mekhi walk through the university campus discussing their post-graduation plans.      “I got accepted to 3 graduate schools” Mekhi said with a smile. “I’m sure a little chemistry and biology can cure the common cold. I can’t wait to get started.”

     “You would think that.” Azaliah chuckles.

     “I mean why not? Science explains everything: How you breathe, why you need food, the way we fall in love.”

     “Science cannot tell me why I fell in love.”

“Of course it can. All the hormones and feel good stuff floating around in your brain. Everything is science. Even in this world and where it came from.”

     “No,” Azaliah scowled, “we are not doing this again.”

     “Why not Zay?” Mekhi stopped walking and looked at her. They had reached Azaliah’s dorm room.

     “Because you and I both know where this conversation ends. It ends with you and I upset with each other and not speaking.” Azaliah states.

     “No Zay. We only end up not speaking because you can’t stand to hear that someone doesn’t believe in your ‘God spoke and the world was’ theory. Which, by the way, is scientifically bogus.” Mekhi sits at Azaliah’s desk.

     “Don’t Mekhi. Don’t mock my beliefs. The way the earth was formed, the animals, and humans ...how do you explain the perfection?  The way it all works together. Nothing BUT a God, my God, could have done it that way.”

     “And the hundreds of scientists who have studied countless years are wrong? No one can be right but you?”

     “And the millions of other believers? Bible scholars? Men who have devoted their lives to studying the bible. Are you saying they’re all wrong?  Azaliah stated as she rested her hands on her hips.

     “Oh I believe Azaliah. I believe people who put their beliefs in an invisible being don't believe in the human spirit. They don’t value sound research, tested theories, and logical conclusions.”

     “Mekhi. You heard what I heard. You sat in the same services and listened to the same testimonies of God’s saving grace. What happened?” Azaliah’s eyes began to fill with tears.

     “I wasn’t carried away by my emotions! I didn't let stories of giants and boys with stones cloud my judgement.” Mekhi yells.

     “Wake up Mekhi!” 

     “It’s you who need to wake up! I will never believe that stuff Zay! I will never allow my emotions to rule my rational thinking.  

     “I will never give up Jesus.” Azaliah breathes.

     Mekhi stands and stares at Azaliah. “Then I don’t see how we can work.” With those last words Mekhi walks out of Azaliah’s dorm room leaving her alone and crying.

Ring! Ring! Ring!

     Azaliah pulls herself from her memories to answer her phone.

     “Hey Zay!”

     “Hi Teek. How are you?”

     “I’m good. What’s up?”

     “Oh nothing. Bean and I are having tea.”

     “Girl, it’s been like, 12 months. Isn’t that enough time to mourn?” Tiki says.

     “Four years Teek. You think 12 months is enough time to get over it?”

     “What I do know is I want my friend back. You have been incognito since the breakup. I’m not being insensitive, but life is happening all around you and it’s leaving you behind. Which is why I booked you a flight.”

     “To where?” Azaliah asks surprised.

     “To Japan!” Tiki shrieks.

     “Japan?! What am I supposed to do there?”

     “Azaliah, you know I take a yearly vacation to visit my family. You haven’t gone with me in two years and you’re coming this time.”

    “I don’t know...”

     “Of course you don’t which is why I do. We leave in 2 weeks so get your things ready. I can’t leave you here to wallow. I already told our boss so no work excuses. Later!”  

     Hanging up the phone Azaliah looks at her cat, “Bean dear pack your catnip. You’re going to Nana’s for two weeks.”

     Azaliah stepped off the plane at Narita International Airport in Tokyo, Japan feeling light headed. She smiled to herself remembering all the good times she and Tiki shared on their Japanese adventures. She had been going on vacation with Tiki for the past 5 years. Azaliah loved Japan. She loved the politeness of the people, the vending machines on every corner, and the wonderful white grape flavored drinks with bits of aloe. Humming to herself she walked over to the nearest machine and bought one.  As she savored her drink and waited for Tiki to come out of the lady’s room she received a text message.

     “You have been expected young “Paga'.”

     “Who is this?”

     “We will meet soon. Stay by your phone.”

     Tiki walked up and looked at Azaliah’s phone. “Who is that Zay? It’s in Japanese. Wrong number?”

     “Yeah, I guess.”

     While Azaliah and Tiki waited to pick up their bags Azaliah read the strange messages again. Reading the last few words she had an overwhelming feeling that those text messages were truly meant for her.

 

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