Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Valley (08/10/06)
TITLE: A Life Impacted
By Vicki Chappelear
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The stands were crowded, on one side a sea of green and yellow, on the other purple and black. It was almost standing room only as the announcer welcomed all to the game. As he spoke, no one noticed the older gentleman that slowly climbed the bleacher stairs and found a seat in the mass of people.
Richard Rayburn had once been a Spanish teacher at Camden Valley. He retired several years ago, before any of the graduating seniors would have entered the high school. He knew the students wouldn’t recognize him but he’s been so lonely lately. He recently lost his beloved wife, she was the only family he had in the world., he thought being around all of these people might help. He loved the many years he spent in the classroom, he thought being around the youth again would bring back memories of past fulfilling days. He knew he wasn’t the “cool” teacher that every school has, but he liked to think that he had inspired the kids in some way.
As he sat and watched the game, he realized a lot had changed over the past few years. Or was it him who had changed? He no longer felt the excitement and joy he once felt being around the younger generation. No one acknowledged him sitting there. He had tried to make small talk about the game but no one really responded. So he sat quietly to himself for most of the game.
The game ended, Camden Valley the victors. Richard sat quietly as the crowd dispersed, every one just walked around him. As he stood to leave, a man approached him.
“Mr. Rayburn?” the man was very excited to see him. “Do you remember me? I’m Todd Williamson. I was in your Spanish class, oh...about 15 years ago. How are you?”
“Yes, Todd, I do remember you. What are you doing now?” Richard always asked this question of former students, he wanted to know what they had done with their lives.
“I am so glad I ran into you. I was just thinking about you and what a huge impact you’ve had in my life. You see, I took your class because I needed it to get into college, I didn’t think it was important. Shortly after I began college, I realized God was calling me to go to another country to be a missionary. I’m home for a few weeks, but I now live in Argentina.” Todd paused, overwhelmed at how God works, “If I had not taken your Spanish class, I may not have fallen in love with the language and those who speak it.”
“Well, that’s wonderful, Todd. I don’t think I’ve ever known any of my students to become missionaries. What exactly do you do?” Richard was longing for someone to talk to.
Todd smiled, “Can I buy you a cup of coffee?”
They went into town to a little diner and ordered coffee. As they sat there, Todd not only told Mr. Rayburn what he did as a missionary, but he also told him about Jesus. Mr. Rayburn accepted Jesus as his Saviour that night, and all of his loneliness melted away. Soon, he left Camden Valley and moved to Argentina to join Todd in ministry. He now teaches English to children there. Mr. Rayburn now has a family bigger than he could ever have imagined.
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