Stories of Faith for Inspiration and Proof that God can be Trusted Completely

The Thing Behind the Curtain

     Posted on Friday, October 23, 2015 by NN

Red CurtainSnowflakes drifted past the glowing street lights, gently falling to the soft, fluffy white blanket of snow covering the frozen ground. It was a perfect evening for carolling. At ten years old, I could hardly wait for Christmas to arrive—not only the gifts, but also our traditional Christmas carolling created even more anticipation of the season.

Every year a group of folks from our church would drive around the neighborhoods and sing carols to the elderly folks from our church who had a hard time getting out; it was a festive way to spread Christmas cheer, bring a smile to their faces and lift their spirits!

When our group arrived at a home, after piling out of the cars, my friends and I always managed a quick snowball fight before the singing started. At some of the homes, we were invited in while at other homes, we would try to read our carolling booklet under the dim porch light while the old folks would stand smiling at the door, sometimes joining us in singing the old familiar tunes.

And often these old folks were ready for us! When the singing stopped, out came the cookies!! Instantly turning a chunky kid like me into all smiles! I loved the carolling and the cookies or maybe it was the other way around–the cookies and the carolling! But of all the old folks we went to sing to, there was one home I dreaded going to.

Old Mrs. Trimble’s home scared the willies out of me! She lived in an older section of town where we climbed up the crumbling concrete steps from the street to her side of an old duplex. Every year, for the last two years in my short kid memory, she had invited us inside, and she never gave cookies.

The house smelled old, with old wood and paint, and it always had the weird mix of nursing home and ointment smells mixed in. But the worst part was the solid black curtain, behind which was—the Thing. As we entered, the Thing made groaning noises, short grunts, and screams, and you’d hear it banging around like in a cage or something.

Everyone seemed to be ignoring this, like it was normal, but not me! I was terrified! Mrs. Trimble’s living room was long, narrow and dimly lit; she would always sit in the back in a large chair, which caused all of us carollers to have to stand right beside the black curtain at the opposite end of the room by the front door. This time as we all crowded in, I was forced to the back of the group and right against the curtain next to “the Thing.”

The carolling started and the Thing got more noisy and active–only the curtain stood between me and the Thing. I was always a very curious kid, and so, as scared as I was, my curiosity got the best of me, and I decided to gather up my courage and get a look at the Thing. When the moment was right while everyone was heartily singing, I slipped behind the curtain.

At first, all I saw was the end of what looked like a big baby bed with its sides pulled up to keep the baby from falling out. Slowly walking around the end of the bed, I stepped back shocked as the Thing came into full view–it shrieked, and I nearly wet my pants! But my curiosity kept me riveted in place.

The Thing had the twisted up body of a teenage girl!! Her legs and arms were twisted at unnatural pretzel-like angles, forcing her face down tight against the mattress, and she was looking right at me!!!! She made a low growling noise as foamy saliva drooled out of her mouth, puddling on the mattress. The wild look in her eyes was unnerving, and I stepped back further while the carols continued on the other side of the curtain.

I had never seen anything like this, and I was afraid at any moment she would leap out of the bed and attack me! Fascination and fear gripped me like a vice, but my eyes were locked on hers. Then to my utter amazement, in an odd sort of way, she smiled at me!

At that moment, I was no longer afraid, but completely confused as my ten-year-old little brain couldn’t process this at all! As I quickly moved back out to the other side of the curtain, she made some more grunts and shrieks and for a moment, it seemed like she was calling for me to come back. Slipping back into the group of carollers as they finished their last song, we waved goodbye to old Mrs. Trimble and left.

I didn’t tell anybody anything, not even my friends, about my moment with the Thing, or rather the girl, and what I had seen and experienced.

Over the years, as I grew older, I learned “the Thing” was old Mrs. Trimble’s daughter who was born with severe birth defects. She happened to be the younger sister of a lady I really respected in our church named Mary Ann and the Thing was the aunt to Mary Ann’s sons, my friends Dan and Terry.

On the rare occasion when old Mrs. Trimble would come to church, she would sit in the back, and when the preacher said something that touched her heart, she would shout out, “Amen, Brother!! Preach it!!” And even more rarely, she would bring her daughter in a kind of large mobile bassinet, and would park her in the aisle where her daughter squealed and grunted through the service.

One of the things I really started to admire about old Mrs. Trimble was she didn’t care anymore what people thought about her or her daughter! She had gotten past all that shallow surface junk. She just loved her Jesus and loved her daughter, and everyone knew it. She, along with her daughter, had actually become an inspiration to me to do what Jesus had put in my heart to do, and not worry about what people thought of me.

Now that I’m an old guy, I understand completely what was really going on when I met old Mrs. Trimble’s deformed daughter. When I slipped behind that curtain as a kid, I had really stepped into a love story—the love of a mother for her daughter that was so great Mrs. Trimble refused to have her daughter institutionalized but made the decision to care for her as long as she was able. It was love upon love and total commitment.

I have since prayed that the Lord would give me the same love for my family as old Mrs. Trimble had for her daughter–the same unconditional love that Jesus has for us!

After I’m dead and gone, I fully expect to be strolling along the streets of gold in Heaven and be tapped on the shoulder—turning, I’ll see a striking-looking woman, whose eyes spark recognition that tugs at a long-ago memory. She steps back, and with a graceful flourish, stretches her arms out wide, and with a glowing smile says, “Do you remember me?”

“I was the twisted up “Thing,” and look at me now!
Jesus, yes, my wonderful Lord Jesus……has made me whole.”


“He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

–Rev. 21:4 NIV


—Best Regards! Nick & Barb Nichols

(This simple true story has been written to encourage you in your walk of faith, or if you want to know more about how you, too, can also experience a walk of faith with this loving God, follow this link >>> My Hope)


Copyright (c) 2015 by William D. (Nick) Nichols


In My Darkest Hour–Elisabeth Elliot Spoke

     Posted on Tuesday, July 7, 2015 by NN
Elisabeth Elliot Pic

Elisabeth Elliot 1926-2015

Dead in the shallow waters of a sandy river beach deep in the Amazon Jungle of Ecuador lay Elisabeth’s husband, Jim. Along with four other missionaries, they had approached the Auca Indians with hearts full of love to tell them about Jesus. Instead, their hearts were pierced by spears from the angry Aucans.

The Aucans were a remote and isolated people, and the missionaries’ previous brief encounters with the Aucans had appeared friendly. It would not be learned until later that the attack by the Aucans on the five missionaries was precipitated by a lie told by one of the Aucans to cover up his own indiscretion.

But on that day in 1956, the young wives with their little children waited anxiously around the radio at the communication station for contact from their husbands. None came. They huddled in prayer, weeping, fearing the worst but still believing God was in control.

They knew the dangers their husbands were facing as the Auca Indians had a fierce reputation as killers. The very act of continuing to trust in the LORD while waiting for news about their husbands showed the wives’ unwavering belief in the lines Jim Elliot had previously written in his jungle journal, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”

Somehow during this time, news had gotten out to the media in the United States, and folks all across the nation and the world were waiting to hear what happened to the missing missionaries. A pilot friend had gone searching for them and from the air spotted their small, bright yellow plane on the beach.

The Aucas scattered through the jungle as the assemblage of members of the Missionary Aviation Fellowship landed on the remote river beach accompanied by U. S. Military personnel and a photographer from LIFE magazine.

When the hacked up yellow plane was found along with the five dead missionaries, news of the massacre flashed around the world. In their jungle compound, the wives wept and grieved for their husbands and fathers of their children.

This was Elisabeth Elliot’s darkest hour.

On a day in 1992 I stood by my kitchen window listening to the radio sitting on the window sill. The fifteen-minute radio program, Gateway to Joy, by Elisabeth Elliot was about to start. I knew her amazing story chronicled in Through Gates of Splendor, and how soon after the killings, Elisabeth and another missionary widow bravely returned to the jungle and lived among the same Auca Indians who had killed their husbands.

Through these young, brave widows, the love of Jesus came to the Aucans and transformed them from a tribe of hate and murder to a tribe of love and peace! So much forgiveness had invaded the tribe that years later the grandson of the martyred pilot Nate Saint would call the man that killed his grandfather “Grandpa.” And grandson and adopted grandpa loved each other dearly! It was all an amazing story of sacrifice and miracles.

But at that moment, I could hardly hear what was being said on the radio as I was dealing with my own darkest hour. After seven years, my environmental consulting company was falling victim to the recession of the early 90s; however, God was using the recession and business failure to call me back from my focus on making money to my focus on Him!

My clients included a well-known international research firm, several Fortune 500 companies, and state, and local governments. But I was small potatoes in their books, and as the recession set in, instead of paying me in 30 days like usual, they started paying 60 days out, or 90 days, or not at all! This forced our family to live on credit cards till my customers paid so I could pay the card. However, this all quickly snowballed, and soon I was in over my head in debt.

As I stood looking out the kitchen window with the radio quietly squawking in the background on the ledge, I thought about the recent visit from the sheriff serving me papers and that the loss of our house to the bank was imminent. The house my wife and I had built in a good school district in a nice neighbourhood at the end of a road in a cul-de-sac so our four young children could play safely outside . . . would soon be gone.

Two credit card companies were suing me and setting up court dates. A well- known law firm in our area was forcing me into bankruptcy—something I never ever wanted to do! Our church started giving us food, which was very humbling to receive, but much appreciated. I never dreamed my life could ever end up in such a mess!

This was MY darkest hour.

In my heart I prayed, “Father, in the name of Jesus, help me! Thank you for using this mess to get my attention back on you, but right now I am lost, confused, and surrounded by deep despair, I’m trusting you to rescue me, but at this moment, I don’t even know what to do.”

Suddenly I heard a voice piercing my dismal gloom, and it felt like someone was speaking directly to me from the radio . . . and Elisabeth was! “When things are so dark and confusing, and you don’t know what to do, then you just—Do the next thing!”

It was an instant answer to prayer!! God had spoken to me through Elisabeth and her dark-hour experience! So….I thought to myself, OK, the dishes need to be done, so I washed the dishes. The next thing to do was to mow the grass, so I fired up the mower and mowed the grass!

Doing the next thing became a mantra for my wife and me for the next two years as we passed through this dark hour. Often during that time my heart would pray, “Thank you, Father, for speaking through Elisabeth Elliot!” Then, I’d go do the next thing!

Today, twenty-three years later, my wife and I are serving the Lord in Southeast Asia. All four children are serving Him in other parts of the world. The Lord completely restored the years the locusts had eaten.

Perhaps you’re reading this, and it’s YOUR darkest hour . . .

We encourage you to trust God in prayer and follow Elisabeth Elliot’s advice that when things become so dark and confusing, and you don’t know what to do–

Then just . . .

“Do the next thing.”



“You are loved with an everlasting love.  

And underneath are the everlasting arms.” –Elisabeth Elliot

~ ~ ~

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous.

Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged,

For the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”   –Joshua 1:9 (NIV)



Elisabeth Elliot: Through Gates of Splendor
“The true story of five young missionaries who were savagely killed while trying to establish communication with the Auca Indians of Ecuador. The story is told through the eyes of Elisabeth Elliot, the wife of one of the young men who was killed.” To see the book, follow this link: Link to Gates of Splendor Book

“Gateway to Joy”—Previous Broadcasts Provided by the Bible Broadcasting Network   Link to Past Broadcasts by Elisabeth Elliot

Copyright (c) by William D. (Nick) Nichols


Big Bug Big Bus

     Posted on Thursday, April 30, 2015 by NN

Big Yellow Tour BusThe following story happened while living in Penang, an island off the west coast of Malaysia south of Thailand about one-third the size of Singapore.

One ordinary day in October . . .

Barb: Returning to our car after having finished our weekly shopping at the local grocery store, we found an advertisement tucked under our windshield wiper promoting a relatively new restaurant in the area, Grumpiez, specializing in hard-to-find Mexican cuisine. Since we had seen many local eating places here one day and gone by the next month, we decided to try to catch it while we could since we both loved Mexican food, had heard favorable reviews about it, were hungry, and were wondering where to eat. After quickly talked ourselves into it, we jumped in the car and headed in its general direction.

Nick: Mexican food works for me day or night, so I was more than ready to try a new Mexican restaurant since authentic Mexican food in Penang is a rarity!

Barb: Once we reached the street and located the house restaurant, it was time to find a place to park—no small task on the two-way, narrow street that turned into more like the size of a one-way street that had cars going both directions as cars slowed enough to squeeze past randomly parked cars that were situated every which way along both sides of the road! Technically, there were not really any official “parking spaces” for the house restaurants that had sprung up on the street, but there were plenty of “No Parking” signs in front of driveways. There was no parallel parking and certainly no apparent organization that would even make one think there was a plan, but, in fact, NO plan was the plan! Park where you could at your own risk!

Nick: And to add to that confusion, cars are driven on the left side of the road in this formerly British colony, so what Barb just described is in reverse from the way traffic/parking is handled in the United States. It’s a whole different ballgame when it comes to parking over here.

Barb: But, with no problem at all, we fell in step with the locals and maneuvered our little three-cylinder car in a spot near the front of Grumpiez so that our car was hugging a large tree while making sure it didn’t block the motorcycle that was parked on the left of the tree and still leaving room for the car on the right of the tree to get out. We were good to go so proceeded to carefully maneuver ourselves out of the car——Nicky on his side that was close to the tree and me on my side that was close to the traffic.

Nick: Barb calls me her “hefty husband” . . . so, hefty me squeezing out my car door smooched against the big tree trunk was like a whale emerging from a cocoon! It definitely would have caught the attention of any passersby had there been any at the moment.

Barb: Nicky got out first and went around the back of the car to lock the back door on the road side of the car while I got out on the driver’s side on the right, pushing the button down to lock my door before slamming the door shut. I walked to the front of the car to get away from the close traffic since we were parked with our wheels right on the edge of the road. I turned and watched as Nicky finished locking the back door.

At this point, the traffic congestion in the road was, well….very congested and the attempts that cars were making to get through reminded me of traffic on an old-fashioned one-way bridge where cars had to give way to other cars and let them pass before they would get their turn. In this case, however, though not really stopping completely, the cars were slowing down to a snail’s pace out of sheer necessity.

Then, suddenly a gap in the traffic opened up beside our car where Nicky was standing, and a very large, brightly colored tour bus stomped on the gas to fill the void. In this country where cars and motorcycles have right-of-way over pedestrians, large vehicles also seem to take on the accepted mentality to bully normal-sized cars, and drivers assume folks on foot will just get out of their way—that is….IF they see them coming.

Since the bus had suddenly appeared and was now to Nicky’s back, he had NO IDEA there was a bus seemingly on a path to unintentionally mow him down, so I went into rescue mode. Seeing how quickly a dangerous situation was developing, with a loud yell and wide eyes that tried to communicate “DANGER,” I shouted, “BIG BUS!” while I pointed to the approaching speeding bus that was now within about ten feet of my husband.

At that moment in time, he was straddling the edge of the blacktopped road and the gravel at its edge and had just finished closing the backseat car door. With my yell, I expected him to move in tight against the car and wait for the bus to pass. However, I found out later that instead of hearing, “BIG BUS,” he heard, “BIG BUG!” As a result, he moved AWAY from the car into the street to get a better view of where the big bug might be so that he could kill it for me. The major problem was that his move away from the car moved him directly into the path of the bus…..that he had no idea was barreling down on him!

Nick: In the tropics we have some big fearsome-looking bugs that I think are really cool, but Barb gets really, really excited about them, so given that mindset, I stepped back to see if the Big Bug she was so frantically yelling and pointing at was on the side of the car door or the roof. I thought it must be a BIG ONE since she was yelling so loudly and looked so distraught!!

Barb: That split second froze in time. The flying bus was now right beside our car just a couple feet away from the obstacle on the side of the road—Nicky’s body.
Time for action had run out! There IS such a thing as a bus driver physically not being able to change his bus’s course of direction due to something unexpectedly moving into its path. I thought this was just such a time, and since the steering wheel is on the right side of vehicles here, that put Nicky on the blind side of the bus driver. I gasped and held my breath, helpless to do anything but fearfully watch. My blood pressure spiked and my heart pounded wildly.  With no time to pray, it was definitely an instance of the Holy Spirit interceding for me when I literally could not. It all happened in a flash, so unexpectedly.

Nick: Unknown to me, at the moment of near impact, I found myself SUDDENLY flattened against the side of the car. I felt the wind on my back sucking at my shirt from something very big, very close, moving very fast behind me, and then turning my head, saw the end of the BIG BUS flying by barely missing me. Now it made sense—THAT was the BIG BUS, not BIG BUG, my wife was screaming about! The bus was big and fast, and had it hit me, I’d have been either in the hospital or history!

Barb: The bus passed, and my husband was still standing—miraculously and by nothing but God’s grace. Total relief passed over me as blood pumped to my head in an attempt to stabilize my body’s rebound. Once I saw that he was uninjured, I turned into an animated half-crazed wife as I blasted him with, “WHY DID YOU MOVE A-W-A-Y FROM THE CAR??” Of course, I wasn’t expecting an answer—I was just thrilled that I could unleash my emotions on a fully alive and uninjured husband!

Nick: When I found myself flat, hugging the side of the car, I was wondering to myself, “Why am I hugging the side of the car!?” because at that moment I wasn’t even aware that I was in extreme danger!! What I know is that when the Lord says He will put His angels in charge over us, He means it, and I had given Him the perfect opportunity to do so!! Somehow God flattened me against the car because I sure wasn’t thinking about it!

Barb: Recovery took a few minutes as the horrors of what could have happened replayed in our minds. We stopped right then and there and thanked the Lord for His protection and in no way took for granted that we were still able to head into the restaurant rather than be rushed to the hospital in an emergency vehicle…..or worse….a hearse!

Nick: Once again, the Lord’s strong hand of protection broke into an ordinary day, saving me from unknown, imminent danger, and by the way, the Mexican food was excellent—I hope they stay in business!


“He will put his angels in charge of you to protect you in all your ways.”

–Psalm 91:11 (GWT)


(This simple true story has been written to encourage you in your walk of faith, or if you want to know more about how you, too, can also experience a walk of faith with this loving God, follow this link >>> My Hope)

—Best Regards! Nick & Barb Nichols


Copyright © 2015 by William D. (Nick) Nichols