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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Reading (01/25/07)

TITLE: From Out of the Dark Sea
By joe hodson


From Out of the Dark Sea

It was pitch dark on the beach. Fear nearly beat a hole in my chest, drowning out the roar of the waves punching the shore. Sand filled my shoes as we ran making them like weights tied to my numb legs. The salt in the air tore at my lungs like a million microscopic lacerations. Any minute the police could arrive.

“Hurry,” Yingjie whispered. We were dressed in all dark, camouflaged by the blackness of the night. Each of us carried oversized pillow cases the women had made. Swiftly, silently we rushed to where the water meets the sand, our eyes scanning the open sea for the slightest flicker of a flashlight. There were forty of us in our church.

“Look!” said Tao, trying to hush his excitement, “A light! I see it!” It looked like just a dot, a twinkling star swimming in the black waters.

“Shh! Be quiet!” said Guang, our pastor. “Okay, everyone, get out into the water up to your waist. They should wash up very soon.” Our church had been praying for this very night for three years without ceasing.

The water was cold but my body could not tell. As the water pulled at my ankles and legs, my insides shouted prayers of thanksgiving to God. A wave knocked me down. Salt water rushed up my nose and filled my mouth. Something unseen cut me. I still held onto the pillow case. I drug myself back up, kept pushing toward the light shining from the distant row boat. The Holy Spirit rose up inside of me, singing hymns and giving praise to our Lord Jesus Christ.

“I found one!” whispered my friend Bo over the noise of the lapping water.

Something bumped my waist. A small, rectangular object was bobbing in front of me. My hands reached out, picked it up and felt its edges inside the water proof package.

It was a Bible.

More Bibles emerged from the dark. There were hundreds of them. With a burst of joy I swam out to meet an island of fifty or more. My arms scooped them up from the water and dropped them into the pillow case. Tears and saltwater blurred my vision as I hummed worship songs and praised Jesus for the glorious gift of His Word. I watched as the rest of the church did the same.

When there were no more Bibles left to be found, we let the waves carry us back to land. Once on the beach we threw the bags of Bibles into the bed of an old farm truck our pastor had waiting for us. A canvas tarp hid our “catch” from view as the truck pulled off with unlit headlights. No police were in sight.

“Praise our Christian brothers and sisters overseas,” I said to Bo. “Thank you, Lord. Praise your name! Now a thousand more of our brothers can read God’s Word!”

Flooded with a million feelings at once, I hugged Bo as hard as I could. Our bodies were unequipped to keep confined whatever emotions had taken hold of us, sending us to the ground. The moonlight revealed tears streaming down Bo’s face. His eyes looked heavenward. Then, with open arms, he began to pray silently but powerfully there in the sand. He prayed for all those who persecuted us and for our government that imprisoned and executed us – the underground Christian church and Bible smugglers.

In another hour the sun would come up and dissolve the night. The Lord had shined His blessing on our faithful obedience. Our church left for their homes, anxiously awaiting the next scheduled drop-off.

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This article has been read 1129 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Bonnie Way02/02/07
Neat story, good images.
Sharlyn Guthrie02/02/07
Well told story. You kept my interest all the way through. I would have liked a few more details, such as where this took place, who was sending the Bibles, etc. but all in all a terrific story.
Jacquelyn Horne02/03/07
I was thrilled to realize that this story could very well be true -- somewhere in this world of ours. What a unique way God has of solving our problems and "making a way where there seemeth no way". Good story.
Mona Lisa02/04/07
Your characters conveyed liberty exceptionally well. I felt their anticipation and earnest worship unto the Lord. I was captivated by the actions your characters took to seize these precious words of the Lord. My interest was held to the very end. Good writing.
Debbie Roome 02/06/07
I could picture this very clearly. Loved comments such as dissolve the night.
Jan Ross02/08/07
As a judge this week, I have to commend you on this article. It moved me to tears, it was very well written, and it's content was powerful. Congratulations on your very well-deserved win! This article won my heart at first reading -- I've actually read it several times. It stirs a passion in me ... I pray it stirs a passion in many! God bless you! :)
Myrna Noyes02/08/07
CONGRATULATIONS on your well-deserved win! :)
Marylea Monroe02/08/07
Wonderful. What a delightful read. Congratulations on your win.
Tiffany Secula02/09/07
Congrats and Wow that was so great. You captured me in the water with them. It was wonderful.
Martha Ford02/11/07
Astounding! You remind me that the only thing keeping me from reading my Bible is me. I wanted to cheer for your characters as though I was one of them, on that dark, lonely beach. Please keep telling your stories. Congratulations!
matthew Bartley02/16/07
a friend highly recommended that i read this article...i'm glad that i did! great work here joe...
Genstacia Bull02/22/07
Well done, clever idea. Congratulations.
Cristy Zinn02/22/07
It is awesome to see your gifts being used to glorify God. You have written a wonderful story so deserving of this win. Keep looking to God for your inspiration and keep writing!
Marilyn Schnepp 03/08/07
Absolutely deserving of this award. A breathtaking read, a page turner, a real fantastic story written extremely well. Kudos for your win and for the great job of telling a great story.