[NOTE: I’m going to post next Sunday’s post sometime on Christmas Day. I hope it will be meaningful.]
Whenever we sing the praise song “You Are My All in All” in church–you might want to look at the lyrics if you’re not familiar with it–I always think wistfully of Cyd Mizell.
She and I worked at the same place for a number of years, although I knew her first from belonging to the same church. We didn’t work in the same department or have related job duties, though.
But we did both play on the praise team.
I might explain that the IMB (International Mission Board), where I worked for almost nineteen years, held a chapel service every Wednesday morning. Music was a big part of that. The existence of a praise team resulted from three of us playing together for Spiritual Emphasis Week services one year. I was blessed to be one of those three people, and I became a permanent member of the group, sometimes playing guitar, sometimes bass guitar.
Cyd became what I would consider our primary keyboard player. She was extremely talented. Able to play from written music, she was equally good at playing by ear. I considered her the ultimate keyboardist–probably one of the best I’ve ever known–and someone the IMB was blessed to have.
To the best of my knowledge, Cyd was still working at the IMB when I was downsized in 2002. Although I thought of her whenever I heard “You Are My All in All,” the memories were pleasant. When our music leader used that song as a round, Cyd led the second part.
I don’t recall how long after that I learned from the news–or perhaps from friends at the IMB–that Cyd had left and been working for a relief agency in Afghanistan. She loved the people and had become quite popular with the women she worked among. She adhered to Afghan culture as closely as she could, even wearing Afghan clothing and a burka and using a driver since a woman would not be permitted to drive there.
But that wasn’t the important part of the news report. Cyd and her driver had been kidnapped and, if I recall correctly, her driver was later found murdered. A search for Cyd went on for what seemed like weeks. I could only imagine what her family back in the States was going through.
Information about the evidence ultimately confirming Cyd’s death was not made public, and the matter was treated as closed. Sometimes I still cringe at imagining what she must have had to endure.
Cyd Mizell was a true modern-day martyr. A Christian martyr who may have died the kind of horrible death none of us would want to imagine. I can’t keep from tearing up whenever I picture her faithfulness to God to the bitter end, even as she undoubtedly showed His love to her captors and killers, just as she’d shown it to the Afghan women she was trying to help.
I wonder what she would think about the way Christians are currently being persecuted here in the United States. True, no one has been martyred the way Cyd was. Not to the best of my knowledge. Not yet. But Christians are losing their freedoms, and the day may come sooner than later when some of us Believers are faced with denying our faith or dying for it.
Will I be true to my faith, no matter what? Lord, may the memory of Cyd Mizell help to keep me committed to doing what is right, no matter what the cost.
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