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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of “All that Glitters is Not Gold” (without using the actual phrase or literal example). (01/24/08)

By Sylvia Hensel


The word was out and the stories circled the world. America was the new promise land. It streets were paved with gold and opportunity for fame and fortune could be found on every street corner. It was a story believed by most because they wanted to, or perhaps needed to. The times were hard. No matter where one went, war, famine, persecution, injustice or a mired of other ills seemed to be taking place. Everyone wanted a better life and America was the shining light of hope that kept dreams alive.

Grandpa was born in the late mid l800’s and grew up with stories of the great wealth to be found in America. His lived on a farm in a small village in Italy which was very poor and where everyone strove to make a living at whatever they could. Many had decided to find their fortune in this land of promise and worked hard to save for passage to travel there. My grandpa dreamed of the day when he too would make the trip to America. It took many years, but the day came when he had enough for the fare and a little more to hold him over till he found his fortune. He would then to return to Italy and bring his family back to his new home in this promise land.

When they docked in New York City, he excitedly left the ship eager to see for himself the truth of all he hade heard. What he found was not streets of gold, but streets littered with garbage and sewage. The disappointment was almost unbearable. Jobs were nearly non-existent and it wasn’t long before his meager savings were gone. Not knowing what to do, he turned to the one place where he knew he could count on for help, his church. To his utter disbelief, they refused to help in any way and turned him out.

He was a broken man. His concerns for his physical needs were nothing compared to his need to know that God still loved him, for he felt it was God Himself that had abandoned him. He walked the streets of New York City not knowing where to go. As he walked, he heard music playing and made his way to a street corner where a small band, consisting of a drum, tambourine and trumpet were playing. He stayed and listened, not only to the music, but to the message preached. When everyone left, he stayed to talk with the group who had ministered.

They invited him to come with them to the shelter where they fed and housed him and continued to preach the Word to him. Soon, he received Christ as his Savior and in due time, he himself became a Salvation Army minister and began preaching on the streets of New York.

A few years later he returned to Italy. He converted the entire village. It was said of him, that he would go out in the fields and while he worked, he would praise the Lord so loudly he could be heard throughout the village.

Grandpa never made it back to America, but three of his daughters did, one being my mother. I never had the opportunity to meet or ever talked with my grandpa. This story is all I have of him. I have always cherished it and it gives me great pleasure to share it with you.

My grandpa’s dream was to bring his family to his new home in the promise land. His dream is coming true because he laid a firm foundation through daily prayer for his family’s salvation, not for his immediate family only, but for seven generations to come. I am the third generation and my daughter the fourth and we in turn, along with our husbands, are praying for seven more. His dream continues to live.

Bye for now, grandpa. I love you. See you at home.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Judy Bowers02/04/08
This touches my heart. I, too, have a grampa I never met and his ancient ancestors came from Genoa, Italy. Thanks for sharing your story.
Sara Harricharan 02/05/08
What a beautiful tribute! This gave me goosebumps reading it. I never met any of my grandfathers, as they all died before I was born, but I do treasure the pictures and stories I hear of them. This is well done, excellent writing! ^_^
K. J. Cash02/06/08
He didn't find the gold he was originally looking for, but he did find the greatest treasure all. This was your inheritance!
Joanney Uthe02/06/08
Lovely tribute to a wonderful man. The streets of America are not paved in gold, but while he was here, he found the ones that were. Thanks for sharing.
Helen Murray02/07/08
What a heritage he left his family! And in particular I loved the last words "See you at home". That says it all for me!