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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Purposefulness (Purpose in Life) (05/25/06)

By Rev. Toni Brown


Miss Linda is a single woman, who teaches at Poor Child’s Elementary School, about 25 miles from her suburban home, in the heart of the city. The community around the school is dark and gloomy, even when the sun is out. The area is infested with drugs, alcohol and street- walkers. Most of the homes are bug-ridden, with mice and rats going from house to house. Many have no heat, and some no running water, but they have learned various ways to connect electricity, without the energy company’s knowledge. The children believe that this is normal living, because it is all they have known.

After Miss Linda has her morning prayer and dresses for work, she gets into her van and drives to Lisa’s house. Lisa is a student at Poor Child’s Elementary School, and she is only able to get out of the house when her teacher, Miss Linda, picks her up. The house that Lisa lives in has broken steps made of wood, that leads to a porch filled with filth and garbage, beer bottles and an old tattered couch. As she approaches the door that is hanging off of the hinges Miss Linda can hear the screaming and yelling of Lisa’s mother. She is intoxicated and lying on the dirty, ash stained carpet. Lisa steps over her mother, with tears in her eyes, that Miss Linda had given to her in October.

As they arrive at the school, the children run to Miss Linda, clinging to her for the love they miss at home. Throughout the day Miss Linda notices children in the building, as they walk around in their tattered, unwashed clothing. Many of them are causing fights and distractions in class, as they act out their frustrations, from the neglect at home. Most of their parents are addicted to drugs and alcohol, hanging in the streets trying to get their next fix. Having no regard for the needs of their children, nor any concerns for their education and safety, many of these parents drive their children to steal and hustle for survival.

Linda attends No Purpose Church, a beautiful building, with a huge sanctuary, comfortable pews and a large banquet hall that is used for fellowships and dinners. Linda goes to No Purpose Church every Sunday, and watches as the many members drive up in the parking lot with brand new cars, fur coats and diamond rings. She often remembers, how a homeless man had approached the church last year, on a Sunday morning, and the members called for the church leaders to get this dirty man away from the front door. Shortly after they had removed the man from the front of the church, they heard a loud screech. Looking out of the large windows they saw that a car, on the street just a few feet from the church, had hit the homeless man. Linda still wonders what would have happened if No Purpose Church would have invited the man in for service and a meal that morning.

Linda decided today that she would invite a small group of children to church with her on Sunday. She arranged to pick them up in her van Sunday morning. The children were very excited and they dressed as best as they could. As they walked into the big church with Miss Linda, the people of No Purpose Church began to stare. They looked at the children as though they had some horrible disease. The service had not yet began, so the children walked around the sanctuary and began to speak to the congregation, one by one, shaking their hands. The people were no longer able to resist the innocence of the children and the warmth of their smiles. They began to talk to the children with interest. Their first reaction of fear and discomfort was changed to feelings of compassion and love.
As the pastor watched this taking place, he decided that he did not need to preach, because God had sent an illustrated sermon to them today.

As a result of this particular Sunday morning lesson, the No Purpose Church decided to send their vans to the inner city each Sunday, and pick up children who wanted to come to church. The youth ministry grew into such a powerful ministry, that many of the children’s parents decided to come along. Many were saved and delivered. The No Purpose Church was now a church with purpose.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Sherry Wendling06/01/06
You express yourself clearly and have an excellent point in this story. Now what you'll want to do is study the short story as a genre, and watch how the published authors paint a picture with words. They don't explain everything to the reader, but rather they show it, so the reader can pick up the action and emotions by watching facial expressions, etc. If you'd like more explanation, feel free to PM me! And keep writing; you've got the foundation of a good command of language!
Sandra Petersen 06/02/06
I agree with Sherry; you have the foundations to become a masterful writer.

This story would be even better if you 'showed' us and didn't just 'tell' us. For instance, you could let us 'hear' what Lisa's mom was screaming at her as Miss Linda came to the door or let us 'see' the reaction one church member had when approached by one of the children.

I would advise you not to make the differences between Miss Linda's church family and the children she ministers to too drastic. Even middle class churches can be guilty of snobbery when faced with people in extreme poverty or sin. The 'new cars, fur coats, and diamond rings' lets too many Christians believe you are not giving this message to them, thereby letting them 'off the hook'.

How many Christians are as insensitive as the No Purpose Church. And how many would be turned around by some personal interaction with those in need? Good message!
Edy T Johnson 06/06/06
Your writing is interesting and you make the message easy to digest. [Only one distraction I noticed, that a wee bit of editing will fix: "Lisa steps over her mother, with tears in her eyes, that Miss Linda had given to her in October."] I'm glad the church got its eyes open! God bless your writing!