December 16, 2015
I’d like to introduce you to the bravest person I know. It all began one summer day nearly thirty years ago, when I heard a motorcycle pull up outside our little country church in Weaverville, California. I bridged the threshold of the church door just in time to see a young, skinny tomboy awkwardly hopping off the bike. Little did I know that the course of my life was about to be altered forever.
“Hi, I’m Tracy Evans,” she said with a warm smile.
I extended my hand to greet her. “My name is Kris.”
We exchanged pleasantries for a few minutes, but Tracy seemed guarded and uncomfortable as our conversation grew more personal. I found myself quickly intrigued by her. She seemed a little mysterious . . . the thought actually crossed my mind that I might be meeting a secret agent or a spy. Something about the way she carried herself captivated me. I bombarded her with questions to try to figure her out; she must have felt as though I were interrogating her. She managed to duck most of my inquiries, but this only fueled my curiosity.
Despite her private manner, before long Tracy and I became very close friends. She spent many evenings at our house, where we talked about God deep into the night. I had never met anyone so hungry to know Jesus. She seemed possessed by the love of Christ. And although she did not look tough or hard, she was the bravest person I had ever met. Tracy literally had no fear of death. Hanging around with someone who truly did not care if she died was a challenge, to say the least. She would go out in the middle of the night and look for transients under a bridge or in some dangerous alley just so she could talk to them about Jesus. I mean, the girl was nuts! Many times she would lead people to Christ and then take them home to her humble apartment and let them stay there. We would often wake up in the morning to discover that Tracy was sleeping on the couch in our front room.
Every day was an adventure with Tracy. She was not only brave; she had the kind of faith in God that I had only read about in the Bible. Living around her was like hanging out with David and his mighty men. Consequently, miracles happen through and around her nearly every day. The truth is, I would not have believed her stories if I had not witnessed many of them myself.
Eventually, Tracy gave her apartment to the homeless and moved in with our family. She shared a bedroom with our two young daughters and had a huge impact on all our children. In fact, when Jaime was fourteen years old and Shannon was twelve, Tracy talked us into letting them smuggle Bibles into communist China—just one of the countless terrifying situations she put us in with her exploits.
“God will protect the girls,” she argued at the time. “And if they die, they’ll be giving their lives for something that really counts!”
Of course, Tracy never thought these feats were a big deal, which only served to make me feel like a coward. Our daughters, however, shared Tracy’s zeal. We never tried to talk them into some radical adventure; they were the ones pushing us to let them go! On their way home from China, they called to try to talk us into letting them spend the rest of their lives helping the Chinese people. I finally had to put my foot down to get them to come home. To this day, Jaime, Shannon and our son Jason are all in full-time ministry—a tribute to Tracy and her adventures.
Through the Years
Many years have passed since that fateful day when that young, courageous gal came into our lives, but nothing has changed with Tracy. A couple of years ago, the phone rang while I was in church. I looked at the caller ID and realized it was Tracy calling from Africa. I slipped out of the sanctuary to answer her call.
“Hi, Tracy! How are you doing?” I pressed.
“I’m doing fine,” she replied joyfully. “But I called to ask you to pray for my Mozambican friends.”
I could hear a “zinging” noise in the background, so I asked, “What’s that noise, Trace?”
“Oh, that’s what I’m calling you about. There’s a riot outside our house. The police are shooting at everything, and the bullets are flying in all directions. All my Mozambican staff are lying on the floor, scared to death that they’re going to die,” she explained, her calm tone oddly dissonant with the facts she was communicating.
“What! What the heck are you doing?” I shouted.
“I’m sitting at the table and drinking tea with one of the other missionaries. But I need you to pray for the town because they’re in full riot. The police are shooting hundreds of rounds into the air to scare the rioters off. But the rounds that go up eventually come down, and some people have been killed. The situation is escalating right outside our door. Would you pray that God would give them peace, please?”
“Tracy, get your butt on the ground,” I insisted.
“I’m fine,” she replied with confidence.
I prayed for her and hung up the phone, shaking my head.
Tracy Evans’s life has had such an unbelievable influence on me, my family and my friends that I wanted to introduce her to the world. Her courageous exploits remind me of people like George Washington, Winston Churchill and Joan of Arc. Short of biblical characters, I struggle to find anyone with whom to compare Tracy and her passion for God. (I am sure there are some such people, but I do not personally know any.) I have been threatening to tell her story for more than a decade, but Tracy has resisted drawing attention to herself. Even after giving me permission to tell her story, she has worked hard to deflect any praise away from herself in this book. After months of wrangling with her, I finally convinced her that God would be glorified through her real story and that many people would be inspired, encouraged and transformed by her life.
I believe her story has the potential to be the next Pilgrim’s Progress—a graphic depiction of the journey of discipleship that can teach and inspire everyone who reads it. Instead of being an allegory, though, this book and all its stories are true and unembellished. We hope and pray that Tracy will have the kind of impact on you that she has had on all of us. If you want to read more about Tracy, Check out the rest of the story in Outrageous Courage. Put on your seatbelt and let the journey begin!
For more information on Tracy’s work in Mozambique, check out her website at http://www.ireachafrica.com/.
Who is the bravest person you have met? Tell me about it in the comments below!
Topics: All TopicsInspiration