Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Sightseeing (08/08/05)
TITLE: Calvary's Universal Language
By Venice Kichura
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“ See ’ya then,” Pastor Roland said, jogging away. He was like a kid on Christmas morning, eager to open more presents. He loved historical sightseeing vacations.
But not Katie. Exhausted, she’d walked all over Quebec City. Struggling with midlife inadequacies, she felt useless. As for a vacation, she just wanted to get alone and seek God, to find her worth as a pastor’s wife.
She couldn’t hear from God on a hard bench with people everywhere, jabbering French. So, she sat, finishing off her knitted prayer shawl. <i> At least I can knit,</i> she thought. She’d been praying over her shawl, but still didn’t know who to give it to. She wasn’t sure she even knew how to pray effectively. <i> Her Roland always knew just how to pray and help people.</i>
Rested, Katie walked up the hill to an old cathedral.
<i> I can get alone with God here, </i> she thought, walking into the church. She was thankful she’d found a quiet place. <i>I can also tell Roland I did some sightseeing.</i> She remembered it was listed in his dumb tour book.
Alone at last, she knelt, staring up at a crucifix that was larger than a Buick.
Minutes later the silence was interrupted by footsteps, followed by heavy sobs. Turning around, she saw an attractive young woman, kneeling behind her and crying out in French. Buckets of tears fell like rain.
Katie felt God wanted her had to comfort this woman. Her French was sketchy, so she reached for her pocket-sized French dictionary, searching for the phrase, “Can I help you?”
“Peux je vous aide?” Katie asked nervously, kneeling beside the sobbing woman.
Shaking her head of abundant dark hair, the young woman responded with, “Nadie pueden ayudar (<i>no one can help.</i>).
“Je veux mourir,” she continued, her eyes staring blankly at the floor.
Katie felt helpless. She wasn’t sure what she was saying, but even if she did, she felt inadequate. <i> If only Roland were here.</i>
She remembered <i>ecrivez</i> means to write.
“Ecrivez?” Katie pointed to the crumbled paper in the woman’s hand.
“JE VEUR MOURIR,” the young woman printed in large letters.
Katie still couldn’t find the words quickly enough in her dictionary.
Desperate, she pointed to the crucifix towering over the altar and said compassionately, “I don’t understand but He does.” She trusted the giant crucifix would break the language barrier, speaking volumes of love and understanding.
She remembered how to say <i>Jesus loves you.</i>
“Jesus vous aime,” Katie continued, gazing tenderly at both the woman and then, the crucifix.
The young woman gazed into Katie’s warm brown eyes and then at the crucifix.
“Suzette,” she said, pointing to herself.
Suzette, repeat this prayer after me.
“Jesus, please forgive me of my sins and help me. I invite you into my heart.”
Suzette repeated the words slowly, in broken English, and seemed to understand. A look of peace flooded her tear-stricken cornflower blue eyes. She smiled, her gaze still fixed on the crucifix.
<i>The cross of Calvary had spoken the universal language of love.</i>
“You take,” she said, handing Katie her crumbled piece of paper. “Please throw away. Don’t need now. Merci! Merci!”
Relieved Suzette know some English, Katie tore off a piece of paper and wrote her Roland’s cell phone number. “Please call this number. My husband is a minister and he speaks fluent French. He can help you.”
“This is also for you,” she continued, pulling out her newly knitted prayer shawl.
“Merci, il est beau, “Suzette said, thanking Katie for the beautiful shawl.
The two women embraced and went their separate ways.
Karen stared at Suzette’s words, “JE VEUR MOURIR”. Determined to find the meaning, she searched through her dictionary.
Startled, she read the interpretation---<i>“I want to die!”</i>
Still trembling,…. and curious, she grabbed her cell phone and dialed a number the woman had written down.
A female voice answered, “Condition Parentale Prevue.”
There was a pause and another woman took over the call.
“Planned Parenthood, may I help you?”
Karen was speechless---and overwhelmed that God had He’d used her to save not only one life, but two. A French dictionary wasn‘t needed---Calvary’s cross had spoken the universal language of love.
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