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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Risk (05/17/12)

TITLE: I Miss You Sooooo Much!
By Gail Burks


Dear Auntie Jean,

How are you doing? Did you know I turned fourteen the other day? You probably forgot. Anyway, it's been a while since we talked, and I'm still here in the boarding school in Texas, a long way from home.

I tried to remember how I got here. I guess it's because I started to get into trouble at school. It wasn't a lot of trouble. Maybe, it started in the 6th grade, not really sure. My grades, you know, were pretty bad. I would get mostly D's and F's. Also, I was smoking cigarettes and sneaking beer. I cursed a lot, too. I guess that was too much stuff for my folks to handle.

Anyway, I am writing to tell you that I miss you all soooo much. How is Uncle Bob, Richie and Jeremy? I miss you guys so much. I live in a cabin with eleven other girls besides me. They are from all over places like California, Utah, Florida and New York. A lot of different type of girls, but I have to get used to it, I guess.

I've been living here in the cabin for two weeks now, but they had us out in the wilderness for over three months. The counselor said it helps kids like us to deal with stuff and kind of clean us up. I think it's called Wilderness Therapy. Anyway, we learned a lot about nature, animals and ourselves.

It was fun in that program. After 3 months, I graduated to the next level. Boy, I started to love it out there. Even though it got scary at times; like when we heard owls and coyotes at night. But, I made it through, thank God. We went to places with hills, big rocks and camped outside in large tents, looking at the sky and stars at night. A lot of times I prayed to God to help me so I wouldn't be scared.

Also, I learned to ride and take care of horses at the stable. They asked me about helping with the horses. I said yes. So, I took lessons with some of the other kids. Now, I help to feed and brush them. I told my parents I can ride. I wish one of the horses could come home with me. But, we live in the city. NO HORSES THERE.

At first my parents weren't sure about sending me here. Can you believe it's been almost four months since I started? I am not as sad or mad as I was in the beginning.

Also, did I tell you my parents came up last month? My mom probably told you. We all slept outside in a tent. They do that so parents can get an idea of what it is like. I think they learned a lesson, too.

How's church? Remember, when I got baptized? I was 11 years old. I'm really glad I made that decision. I told a couple of girls here that I'm a Christian. Kind of cool, right? We read the bible sometimes and talk about God.

Well, Auntie Jean, I am going to do better when I return home. I think I have 5 months left. It's a LOT of money to be here. But, I guess mom feels the chance she took to send me here will pay off one day-- like taking a risk or something. I'm glad I don't smoke or drink anymore, and I feel more relaxed now.

Guess what? I am finishing my 8th grade classes....English, History, Math and Art. I am also learning some Spanish. A couple of kids speak Spanish, so I practice with them. Hola! Te quiero!

I just want to let you know I will be writing more often and I hope you will write again soon, because when you wrote before, I was out in the field. It made me so happy to get your card. Auntie, I love you. Let me know how you're doing and tell everyone hello for me. Don't forget, I won't be home for Christmas or Thanksgiving. Just so you'll know.

Love and kisses....


Based on a true story. Raven is now 23 years old and is a beautiful young lady, finishing college and working in the Health Care profession. She still struggles a little, but trusts God to guide her every step.

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This article has been read 208 times
Member Comments
Member Date
C D Swanson 05/24/12
This was a lovely testimonial of your niece. Praise God...I am so pleased of the outcome of her life, and how God moved in it.

I enjoyed it so much. How wonderful she found her way back to Jesus...This was a joy to read. I love reading testimonies. Thank you.

God bless~

Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 05/28/12
This is a great story of tough love parenting. You grabbed my attention immediately.

I like the letter writing idea as it might be something one would write but it limited you on show don't tell.

I enjoyed the MC immediately and wanted to know more about her. I bet you could polish it and make it into a YA novel.
Jody Day 05/30/12
I loved this entry! The letter sounds just like a young girl would talk. I was engaged from start to finish.

The letter form does limit the action. Perhaps the young girl could intersperse some dialogue between she and her parents, or between the new friends. Allude to more of the conflict that brought her there in conversation, perhaps.

Very well done and right on target.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 05/31/12
Congratulations for placing 12th in level one!