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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Confident (07/05/07)

TITLE: SOLITUDE
By Kevin Rodgers
07/10/07


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The echoing of drums, mixed with the chants of the villagers, brought Matt back to consciousness yet again. The torturing he had endured throughout the previous days had caused a disorienting feeling to become all too familiar to him.

Matt shook his pounding head slightly as he reached to rub his eyes with aching hands. It took him a few seconds to realize his hands had not moved. They were bound together and fastened to a short post that was embedded in the ground. A quick look around told Matt that something was different. This time was unlike any other he had experienced throughout the past three days in which he had been held captive in this isolated village, nestled deep within the jungles of Southeast Asia.

The post he was strapped to stood erect with a ring of burning embers completely surrounding it. The men of the village were dressed with exotic headgear and their faces, as well as their bodies, were painted with what looked to be war paint. The women and children sat scattered amongst the village observing the ceremony. The men continued to dance and chant wildly in their native tongue.

Matt knew a little of the language these people used. He had studied quite extensively before making his voyage into the jungle. The problem was that very few people, outside of the villagers themselves, understood this complex language, thus making the amount of information for Matt to study seem minuscule.

As Matt listened closer to the chants, he realized that death would squeeze him in its grasp sooner than he had hoped. Though he could only understand some of what the shouting meant, the phrase “death to the white devil” rang through the air more than once. The end was approaching.

Matt could taste the sweat and tears that had trickled down into the corners of his mouth. He wondered if it was the heat from the fire or his extreme fear that had caused the salty fluids to flow in the first place. He hoped the remainder of his group would not meet the same demise that he most assuredly would.

Each of the six members of his party had been held in solitude from the moment of their capture some four days earlier. He had seen no signs of the others during this time. However, after the months of praying he had done in preparation of this expedition, and the numerous hours of praying he had done over the last few days, Matt was confident God’s plans would work out just as they were supposed to.

Without any warning, the chants halted abruptly. Silence filled the atmosphere for a split second before the ‘swooshing’ sound of a hurdling wooden spear ripped the stagnant air. The spear found its mark, piercing deeply into Matt’s chest. Life drained from Matt quickly. His breathing became faint and his vision darkened with each passing second.

Silence and total darkness commanded everything, but only for a brief moment. Suddenly brightness, unknown to man, thrust Matt’s eyelids open. The glorious sounds of harps erupted through his ears.

A sense of awe, unlike any he had ever felt, overtook his entire body at the sight of what stood before him. He found himself on bended knee, looking up to what Matt knew could be no one other than Jesus Himself. No one in all of creation could possibly possess such power and majesty as the man that stood over him now.

The harps’ songs faded into the background as the man began to speak to Matt. “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!”*

A smile the size of Texas reached across Matt’s face, as he stared hypnotically into the eyes of his Savior. “Look,” Jesus said, pointing to his right. “Do you recognize anyone here?”

Immediately Matt burst into tears of happiness, for next to his Savior stood two of the villagers he had encountered on his journey. Shortly before his arrest, he was able to share his faith with them. Unbeknownst to him, they were killed the day before Matt’s own murder, because of their new found faith in Christ. The confidence that Matt possessed in God’s plans during his final days proved true. God chose to use Matt in wonderful ways to further His kingdom. Matt chose to willingly obey God’s calling.



*Matthew 25:21 NIV


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This article has been read 468 times
Member Comments
Member Date
dub W07/12/07
Very visual and descriptive. This should do well.
Seema Bagai 07/12/07
Great story. The descriptions and suspense drew me in.
Judith Hope07/13/07
Admire your confidence in tackling such an account. Risky.
Yet it works! It carried me along completely. A satisfying read. Congratulations on writing it so well.
Janice Cartwright07/14/07
Because I read lots of missionary stories I can say with "confidence" yours bristles with authenticity. I am thankful though you did not prolong his suffering.
Patty Wysong07/14/07
Excellent. I'm glad, too, that the end was quick. --and the fact that it wasn't all in vain is so good. :-)
Dee Yoder 07/14/07
I'm glad you decided to include his arrival into heaven at the end of your story! We need to be reminded that this earth is not our real home and what wonders await us with Jesus! Good descriptions and very well written, too.
Lynda Schultz 07/15/07
Well done.
Jan Ackerson 07/17/07
The first half was very compelling and beautifully written. Ironically, the part in heaven seemed to lag for me, perhaps becuase it's just really difficult to describe the indescribable. But I had hoped for more awe there.

I loved the title, and your powerful portrayal of this strong man of God.
Joanne Sher 07/17/07
The description, especially in the beginning, was amazingly vivid and real. Wow.
Joy Faire Stewart07/17/07
Wow! I was drawn into the story by the first paragraph and couldn't stop reading even during his suffering. Very moving.
Edy T Johnson 07/17/07
You write so well, this was wonderful to read.
Sara Harricharan 07/18/07
Nice. I liked this. Very good descriptions. I like the you-are-there atmosphere. The suspense is great. ^_^
Kristen Hester07/18/07
Wow! This is so great. I especially like that we get to see Matt in Heaven with the two villagers. We need an eternal perspective. We look at things like to the death of Matt and the villagers as defeat, but they have gone on to their reward. Good job!
Loren T. Lowery07/18/07
A very visual and and fast-paced piece with a great message of faith. I would have liked to have seen Matt's character developed and fleshed out a bit more, but other than that, I truly enjoyed your story.
Verna Cole Mitchell 07/18/07
This is a great missionary story--wouldn't be surprised to see you moving up.
Catrina Bradley 07/18/07
Great story-telling, and good descriptions. The phrase "a smile the size of Texas" seemed a little off from the rest of the feel of your story, especially coming right after "hearing" Jesus speak. Could just be me, tho. I loved him meeting the villagers he witnessed to in Heaven. Great ending!
Clyde Blakely 07/25/07
Congratulations on your placing but more importantly on a well written piece. I, too, would have liked to see more description of heaven but then how does one describe it even after having been there? God bless and keep writing!