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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: South America (02/05/09)

TITLE: Called
By Christina Banks


The digital strains of Fur Elise echoed in the dark room. Melissa groped for the small cell on her bedside table. Her searching fingers finally came into contact with the cool plastic clam shell case. Melissa didn’t even bother lifting her head from the down pillow as she flipped open the phone and answered.

“Hello.” Melissa’s voice was groggy from sleep.

“Hi, Sweetie. We didn’t wake you up did we?”

Melissa squinted at her alarm clock. 2:46AM. “Mom, you got to stop forgetting about the time change.” she grumbled. “I have a test in the morning.”

“Sorry, Honey, but we are just so excited. We wanted you to be one of the first to hear the news.”

“You’re pregnant?”

“Goodness, No!” Her mother laughed, “Wouldn’t that be shocking?”

Melissa rubbed her eyes, and pushed herself to a sitting position on the narrow, college issue bed. “So are you going to tell me what is going on?”

“I think your dad wants to tell you.”

“Hey, Peanut,” a deep voice resonated over the phone. “Do we have some exciting news for you? Your mom and I are going to Brazil.”

“Wow, Daddy, that sounds like an adventure.” Melissa clicked on her bedside lamp. “You guys will love the rainforest and the Amazon river. I hear there are some really great beaches on the coast. Is this going to be your big twenty-fifth anniversary trip?”

“This isn’t going to be a leisure trip. We are going to Brazil to work.”

“Tell me more, Daddy.” Melissa shook her head, clearing the last of the cob webs away from her brain.

“This week we have been having our missions conference here, in San Francisco. We met this fantastic missionary couple, Peter and Joyce Carter, who have been working with the people in the jungles of the Amazon. They have some needs, and your mom and I want to go help them.”

“So, this is a missions trip. That’s great Dad!” Melissa smiled. Her parents regularly went on short term trips to places around the world. With her dad’s pilot qualifications, they were always helping others, especially in remote places like Alaska, Canada, Africa and the Australian outback. “When do you leave?”

“We don’t know yet. Your mom and I spent a lot of time talking to the Carters after the meeting tonight. They have recommended that we come down to Sao Paulo and do some language study before joining them in Humaita.”

“Why do you need to learn Portuguese to help the Carters for a few weeks?”

“Melissa, we aren’t going for just a few weeks. Your mom and I are going to help the Carters permanently. We have been praying for a long time about this, and we clearly believe that this is the direction that God is leading us.”

Melissa’s world crumbled under the impact of her father’s statement. Her mind ran in a thousand different directions. Where would she get the money to finish her college education? Where would she go on school holidays? Could her parents really raise her two younger brothers in a foreign place? Would her family be able to come back for her graduation? What if she got married? Who would give her away? What if they got some horrible disease and died, all because they went to the Amazon? Why did God have to pick on her family?

“You’re awfully quiet, Peanut.”

“I’m a little shocked, Dad. Listen, it’s three in the morning. Can I call you back tomorrow after I’ve had some sleep?”

“Sure, we love you! We’ll be praying for your test tomorrow.”

Melissa ended the call and tried to go back to sleep, but couldn’t. Her mind raced over a hundred different possibilities. Finally, she got out of bed and went to the small living area that she shared with her three house mates. She perked some coffee and sat down to think.

“What you doing up?” Jackie asked, coming from her room.

“Just got a call from Mom and Dad. They are going to Brazil, fulltime.”

“That’s great news!”

“Great news? How can you say that?”

“Haven’t we been praying for your dad’s job?”

“But this isn’t the answer that I was hoping for.”

“Melissa, do we always get the answer that we want? God is getting ready to do something great in the lives of your parents. Don’t stand in the way.”

Melissa looked at her lap. “Thanks, Jackie. I needed that.”

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Member Comments
Member Date
Bryan Ridenour02/12/09
Excellent entry. Sometimes it IS difficult to do the will of God or to rejoice when others are following His call, especially if it impacts us personally.
Marlene Austin02/12/09
Nice job showing the emotional turmoil of your MC. :)
Norma-Anne Hough02/13/09
Good ending as it leaves many possibilities. I liked Melissa and identified with her. Good entry.
Jan Ackerson 02/14/09
I like the double meaning in your title.

I felt that some of your dialog seemed somewhat stilted and unnatural. It may be as simple as fix as using contractions every now and then, so that it sounds like the was people actually speak.

I really liked the enthusiasm of the parents for their new calling!
Dee Yoder 02/15/09
Wow, that would be quite a decision! Good story.