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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Missionary (10/19/06)

TITLE: The Calling
By Rhonda Clark


A crumpled, dirty tissue was pressed to Marisol's lips. Her head was swimming and her stomach churning as the jeep she was riding in navigated the pothole and dip ridden dirt trail the locals referred to as a road. She thought the contents of her insides would be released any minute as the jeep hit another rut and almost tossed her out. Tears filled her eyes as the taste of bile burned her throat. Why, oh, why had her daughter moved here?

Once steady, she gripped the roll bar and pulled herself forward, "Is it much further?" she yelled over the droning engine.

The robust driver forced the stick shift into second, and called over his shoulder, "A couple of more miles."

Marisol's eyes rolled in rhythm with her stomach; she wasn't sure how much more she could take. She had only been in this vehicle for a couple of hours, but she had been traveling through equatorial South America for almost a day. Her skin was sticky with sweat which facilitated the Columbian dust, dirt and grime in clinging to her body and matting her hair to her head. As she wiped a fat drop of sweat from her eyebrow she wondered why Sarah and John had picked this isolated part of the world to minister. Her mind recalled the last face to face conversation she'd had with Sarah.


"But, mama, these are the people who need us the most," a bright-eyed Sarah explained with a broad smile. "Don't you want to see others come to know Jesus?"

Pulling baby Annabeth closer to her chest, Marisol replied with a scowl, "I don't see why you can't do that missionary thing closer to home. Why can't John just go be pastor of a church?"

Sarah let out a loud breath, "He will be. He'll be starting a church for this people group in Columbia."

"People group, humph," Marisol huffed, "There are plenty of people groups here in the states that need to be reached, but you have to go to a God forsaken place where I need a passport and vaccinations to get in."

Gritting her teeth Sarah replied, "We're going because that's where God has called us to go."

The ladies fell silent for a moment. They both stared at little Annabeth as Marisol clutched her to her bosom.

After several minutes, Sarah broke the silence. She caressed the tuft of down on her baby's head. In a hushed tone she said, "I know you're going to miss the baby, but you can come and visit anytime. There's also internet in the neighboring village. We can e-mail each other, and I'll send you pictures as often as I can."

Tears filled Marisol's eyes. With her bottom lip quivering, she answered, "Annabeth isn't my only baby I'll miss."


The jeep came to a screeching halt. Marisol looked around, but no village could be seen. They were in a small clearing surrounded by trees; a Spanish hymn could be heard wafting on the breeze. "Where are we?" she asked.

"Sarah told me to bring you here. Their church is having a special service at the lake."

Still feeling a bit inconvenienced, but grateful to be out of the rocking jeep, Marisol followed the driver down a well worn foot path through the trees in the direction of the singing. She ducked under a tree branch and stepped into a breath taking view. A still lake that seemed to be covered in glass cast a perfect reflection of the trees encircling the small body of water. She looked down the hill and past the crowd. Not far off shore, John was standing with two dozen dark skinned, smiling people. Sarah spotted her mother. She grabbed up Annabeth and made her way through the throng of people. "Mama, you made it," she cried, embracing her mother.

Tears filled Marisol's eyes as she took a jabbering Annabeth from Sarah's arms. Looking around, she asked, "What's all this?"

Full of excitement, Sarah, answered, "This is our baptism service. Look at all the new believers."

Casting her gaze back to the lake Marisol understood Sarah and John's calling.

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This article has been read 974 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Helen Paynter10/26/06
I liked the development of thought and understanding that you managed in the limited word count. THe settings were vivd, particularly the first one. One little nit-pick: to me the last sentence was a little bit of an anticlimax. I wonder if it could be reworded to make it a bit stronger or sharper? Otherwise, no criticisms at all.
A. E. Cuthbert10/27/06
This was really great. It is so hard for families to let go...great way of putting it!
Andrea Hargrove10/29/06
A few sentences seemed awkward, such as '"Annabeth isn't my only baby I'll miss,"' but with a little bit of editing, this would be a great story. Very touching.
Jan Ackerson 10/29/06
I love the resolution of this story--you made it so vivid and real. To give your protagonist such a complete change of heart, in so few words--masterfully done.

In your first paragraph, you have three sentences with a similar construction (something happens as something else happens...). Consider re-working one or two of those, perhaps?

I can totally relate to your character, and I love the way you wrote her.
Betty Castleberry10/30/06
I like the description in the first few paragraphs.
I was riding right along in the jeep with Marasol, and I like the phrase, "fat drop of sweat."
Nicely done.
Sara Harricharan 11/01/06
Great job, Marisol was a very well-developed character, I liked how it took some time to 'win her over' to why Sarah and John were missionaries.
dub W11/01/06
Pretty good job with character development. Overall good readability - I can relate to the ride...lol.
Joanne Sher 03/29/07
Great description - and you did a wonderful job of characterization. Thanks for pointing me this way!
Patty Wysong03/29/07
This was one of the first stories/articles I read here when I was getting a feel for FW--I loved it. I've been on some of those roads and you caught the feelings! :-) I'm so glad Marisol understood in the end.
Julie Arduini03/29/07
Nicely done, you created a very believable character in Marisol. I enjoyed watching her attitude change.
Tabiatha Tallent03/30/07
Wow. This is beautiful. I could almost feel the change of Marisol at the end.