In the summer of my freshman year, I was super blessed to get to go to one of the most beautiful countries in the entire world on a mission trip with my local church. I'm keeping the countries name confidential to protect the missionaries that are working there now. But without further adieu... let's talk about how I almost got murdered.
"I dare you to eat that fish eyeball."
To set the scene I was with two of my buddies that were on the trip with me and we were looking for a good place to eat for the night. We were in a marina where all the local fishermen were winding down for the night and getting some food/selling their fish to the local restaurants in the area. As we were looking for a place to eat this really big touristy restaurant that was very well lit and very flashy captured our attention. We began to walk towards it when all of a sudden like a bass catching the glimmer of a lure we saw in the distance a shack with no lights except for a dimly lit sign that read, "Fish". So, of course, we changed our minds and went to that one. I mean c'mon what good stories come out of playing it safe all the time? After arriving at the very fishy restaurant (See what I did there?) we all ordered a "whole fish", and a coke. I remember my friend Matt and I dared each other to take a bite of the eyeball of the fish that we had never seen before. It is also nice to note that I ate it and he didn't so #proudmoment for me. Anyways, everyone in the whole restaurant was super nice to us and they even let us into the kitchen so we could handpick the fish we wanted. That's where we met Sam. (I don't remember his name so Sam will have to do.) He was the owner of the restaurant and the cook, and at the time probably one of the friendliest guys we had met all trip. After we finish eating I see him walk out to the front of the building to go smoke. Naturally, I follow him out and begin talking to him and sharing the Gospel. He ends up being really receptive to the message of Jesus so I was encouraged and began to ask if we could come back and talk to him further about our faith. Being the nice guy that my man Sam is he offered us to go on his boat free of charge the next day! It would be an exclusive trip to go see a really cool coral reef, as well as to talk further about our Faith with him. With excitement in our eyes, we hastily said we would love too. After that, we said goodnight to Sam and left.
Shots Shots Shots
The next day rolls around and my friend Casey and I get up and plan our day with the intention of going to be fishermen for the day. He and I left to go meet sam around 3:00 pm which in hindsight is an odd time to go fishing, but we didn't even think about that at the time. So we roll up to the restaurant and find a very peculiar sight. It's not only sam waiting for us, but sam and his buddies. Still operating in our sweet blissful ignorance we thought nothing of it. We sat down to talk for a bit and quickly found out that the joyful tone of the previous night had depleted quicker than water in the desert. The other two men didn't say anything to us but that didn't stop them from eyeing us up and down as we talked to Sam. After a bit of very dry communication, sam asked a question that was quite perplexing. "So for the boat ride, it will be about a million each." You can only imagine the confusion on Casey and I's face. "But Sam didn't you say it was free last night?" I asked in a bit of a shaky voice. "Yes but the captain says a million now." He replies. So, in a haste, I lied and said, "Okay Sam well we don't have a million on us right now, we only have around a thousand.". He didn't like that answer much so his friends looked at him and brought out this sprite bottom filled to the brim with alcohol. They two in the back begin to take shots of the alcohol, but nit in the way like they are trying to have a good time, but the kind of shots when something bad is about to happen, very somber shots. then after sharing the bottle for a minute, they try to hand it to Sam. He denies originally, but they begin to get really aggressive about it and finally, he concedes and starts drinking with them. At this point, Casey and I are getting freaked out because after drinking he looks at us and says, "You can still come on the boat, money or no money". That's when warning bells started ringing. Casey and I looked at each other and mouthed, "we need to go now." So I thought of this genius idea. I used the timer on my phone to fake a phone call and answered it. On my fake call, I heard the news of an urgent emergency that Casey and I had to be at right then and there. I deeply apologized to the men that we would have to cancel and after some resistance, we told them we would come back a bit later. We then hightailed it out of there and never turned around.
Okay, it may seem that we were quick to judge and the word murder was used to hastily in this situation, and we thought the same thing. But shortly after leaving we talked to a local who was nice enough to inform us that the restaurant we went too is known to have dead bodies pop up around it once in a while and that there was actually a man who was found murdered in his car two days before we got there. So yes, maybe murder is a strong word to describe the events but odds weren't stacked in our favor, especially with money being involved. Overall the trip was super impactful and amazingly fruitful for the advancement of the Kingdom of God. This was just a fun/scary story of what one may encounter by going to the sketchy restaurants in a foreign land.