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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Europe (excluding the United Kingdom) (02/19/09)

TITLE: I'm So Glad You Know Jesus!
By Mona Purvis


Boom! Crack! Roar! Rumble!

Sounding like a gigantic ball rolling through Heaven, the thunder shook the room and all went dark.

“Grandmo, I’m scared,” whispered six-year-old Kane as he scrambled up beside her.

“I’m not afraid of a little thunder,” announced Kolby as he drew closer. At eight, he was adept at feigning bravery to his younger cousin.

“Here’s the flashlight, Grandmo. I’ll light some candles,” declared Phillip. At eleven, he was keen on setting an example for his younger brother Kane and cousin Kolby.

“Hey, it’s story-time. Gather close and listen well.” That’s what they liked about their grandmother; she made the most of every predicament.

“All good stories start how?”

Three young voices in unison cried out: “Once Upon a Time!”

“Once upon a time, there was a country I call, Land of the First Rainbow, Straddle the Fence and Almost Persuaded. Now, you may think that is a curious name for a country; it is I suppose, but listen and learn.”

By now, all three boys had snuggled close. Heavy rain hitting the windows served to support the stillness of the candlelit room.

“Now you know about the rainbow, God’s token of His covenant with the earth. But, do you remember about the first one? Yes… it was shortly after Noah and his family stepped out of the ark onto Mt. Ararat. Imagine! God making a covenant with the earth! That had to be a special place, don’t you think?

Do you know what it means to straddle the fence? I’m sure you do. That’s when you appear to favor both sides. Sort of like pretending to have Bob as a best friend when you are around Bob, and Joe as a best friend when you are around Joe. You’ve never done that, have you? I’m going to tell you about a country that does.

To be almost persuaded…wow. That’s a lot to think about. There was a King in the Bible named Herod Agrippa who, after hearing Paul preach, said he was almost persuaded to be a Christian. That’s so sad. I almost baked some cookies for tonight… but we have no cookies. King Agrippa was almost persuaded…but he was not a Christian. I am going to tell you about a country that was almost persuaded.”

The boys were beginning to quietly guess the country. Kolby said he thought it was Poland. Phillip had settled for Iraq. Kane only knew one country, America.

“ Well, maybe I need to tell you a little more about, Land of the First Rainbow, Straddle the Fence, and Almost Persuaded.

The Euphrates River begins there. It is one of the most important rivers in the world. It ran near the Garden of Eden. Paul visited and preached many times in this country. In fact, the seven churches mentioned in the early chapters of Revelation are all found in this country.

Here’s a hint, this country is both in Europe and Asia.

By now, you are all thinking Turkey, aren’t you? And you are right!

Turkey is geographically, politically and officially part of two continents, Europe and Asia. Now how did that happen? Turkey was almost persuaded to be only a European country. Christian or Muslin? In order for Turkey to be part of Asia as well as Europe, a boundary was used that had to curve way back through the Caspian Sea and Black Sea.

Turkey saw the first rainbow and hides the mystery of the ark and started the seven churches of Revelation. But, Turkey isn’t a Christian nation. Turkey is a Muslin nation and chooses to have best friends in Asia while pleading to be a candidate in the European Union. Turkey straddles the fence!

But, the story doesn’t end here. Many changes are taking place in Europe. Will Europe base its future on being a Christian culture or a secular one? Will Turkey be accepted into the European Union? Maybe, we’ll have answers for another story-time.

“Grandmo, you forgot to say, they lived happily ever after”, Kane reminded.

“Only Christians live happily ever after. I’m so glad you all know Jesus!”

Then the lights came on.

“Let’s make cookies!” they all shouted. And so they did!

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Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 02/26/09
I found this quite delightful--Grandmo's story-telling skills are wonderful.

FYI--You meant musliM, not musliN (which is a fabric).

Your writing put a smile on my face on a rainy afternoon.
Norma-Anne Hough03/01/09
Very interesting story telling by the grandmother.
Also interesting to see that Turkey is part of Asia and Europe.
Marlene Austin03/01/09
Unusual perspective of a country. :]
Dee Yoder 03/01/09
Great way to get information into little heads...tell a story. Very interesting!
Sharon Kane03/02/09
Nicely written. The opening was dramatic, and the way Grandmo developed her story kept the imagination working. The illustrations also were very appropriate for children. Very well done
Joshua Janoski03/02/09
This is an excellent way of teaching children about the Bible and about geography.
Gary J. Borgstede03/02/09
I really liked the way the setting was described to bring the reader into the room and actually experience the story...roaring thunder, candles, flashlight, snuggling close, rain hitting the window. Very nicely done as I felt like I was there and couldn't wait to hear the story. Based on other comments received, it seems that my following comment will be a little contrarian; however, as it relates to the actual story, I personally think it would be hard for a child to effectively understand the political and religious dynamics communicated in the story, although I liked the creative style that was used to try and bring the subject material down to the level of a child like Land of the First Rainbow, Straddle the Fence, and Almost Persuaded...very creative way to weave a difficult topic into the story.
Ruth Ann Moore03/03/09
I love how each boy tries to be braver than the one before; yet you can almost see in them the need to be reassured, albeit some do it in a more secrative way. I could see their youth, enthusiasm, and curiosity. Thank you for the lovely story.
Verna Cole Mitchell 03/04/09
I'm always ready for a "grandmother" story and especially liked the introduction to this one.
Chely Roach03/04/09
This was such a sweet little story, and I could picture them all snuggled up to Grandmo. Well done!
Sara Harricharan 03/04/09
This was great! So much inside of here, glad I didn't miss it! I liked this grandmother! ^_^
Gerald Shuler 03/04/09
Let me guess:)
Grandmo is a retired geography teacher. Well written story, but I agree, it may be over little kid's heads unless someone in the family really is a geography teacher.
On the other hand... great way to snag adults by making them think it was for children. You caught me, anyway.