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kelly_niki1I was talking to my mom, catching her up on the day. Window open to let fresh air in the room before bed. All of a sudden I hear screaming. Like horror movie screaming.


“Mom, I gotta go.” I abruptly hung up and ran out to the living room where Niki was. “Niki, there’s a woman screaming outside, out back the apartment. You need to go help her!”

Without hesitating, Niki ran out the door and ran to the back of the building. It was really dark, and we are not in a good part of town. The woman was still screaming. Niki was the only one outside at all.

As I watched him scale the fence between our community and hers, I was very aware that he was walking into a violent situation, and that the attacker could have a gun. I was on the phone with 911, watching him, and praying that this wouldn’t be the last time I saw him.

At the top of the fence, Niki called out to her, “ARE YOU OK? WHAT’S GOING ON?” As soon as he called out, the screaming — and violence — stopped. Whatever was going on stopped as soon as he intervened. He kept calling out, talking to her as he finished scaling the fence. She was outside now, and safe. And the cops pulled up right then and took the situation from there.

One of the things I admire most about Niki is that when someone is in danger, when someone needs help, he doesn’t hesitate, doesn’t think about it, doesn’t wonder about his own self interest in the situation. He didn’t pause before running out the door. Didn’t pause before running into the dark back lot of the property where he could be approaching anything. Didn’t think about the fact that the multitudes of other people who heard the screams weren’t outside. Didn’t wait before scaling the fence. Didn’t fail to intervene because the attacker could turn on him. He was fearless for the sake of protecting someone else.

Reminds me of Jesus. Greater love has no man than this — to lay down his life for a friend. Jesus also was willing to do whatever it took to protect us. Willing to lay down all of His own self interest to go to the cross for us. And did it passionately, not with resignation or reluctance. (And even though He died, it also wasn’t the last time we saw Him!)

I can’t even express how safe I feel and how incredibly proud I am that if something bad, something dangerous, something threatening is going down,  then my husband will charge it head on to put an end to it. That’s one of our family values. We aren’t afraid to do what’s right, even when it’s hard. (And it’s often hard). We also think about others first, rather than ourselves.

It reminds me of this verse: Administer justice every morning; rescue from the hand of the oppressor the one who has been robbed, or my wrath will break out and burn like fire because of the evil you have done— burn with no one to quench it. Jeremiah 21:12  When we Tshibakas get up in the morning, we try to be in justice and rescue mode. Anything short of that is evil, according to God. So that’s what we aspire to — love others, do what’s right, be an agent of justice and rescuing.

It gives me great confidence that when we were confronted with a chillingly violent situation, Niki lived our values. He rescued and brought justice, even though it could have come at great cost. And in so doing, he honored and strengthened us, and he reinforced our family values. As for us Tshibakas, we will serve the Lord. We will live Christ in this broken world.