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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Ohhh…. (02/04/10)

TITLE: sunlight
By Author Unknown


“Ma’am would you like a snack?” The flight attendant’s voice pulled me out of my thoughts. I caught her staring at my hair comb. It was blue with forget-me-nots and I was saving it for Emmebet.

“Yes,” I said, “I’ll take the peanuts, thanks.”

As I tore open the packet, it occurred to me that I ought to enjoy this treat. For the next few months I’d be lucky to have clean drinking water, let alone a honey-roasted snack.

When I finished, I repositioned my pillow against the headrest and pulled the navy blanket up over my shoulder. I was eager to embrace an overdue nap, but a conversation from seat 32-A refused to stay put.

“I don’t understand why you’d want to travel half way across the world to help them, when there are so many people hurting back home.” The man’s voice was full of conviction.

“You believe our God has compassion for all people, right?” I smiled to myself as Mick gently but assuredly led my plane neighbor through a conversation he and I had just over a year ago.

I stopped eavesdropping and pulled out my picture of Emmebet. She’d been my friend for a year now, and I was finally going to meet her. My finger brushed over her stern face. She was a beautiful woman, but always so solemn in her photos. I was anxious to see the infamously big smile Mick claims she owns. I laid her picture over my heart and covered it with my hand.

A year ago, I was a nurse at Grant County Hospital’s emergency department and I was happy there. I thought.

I wasn’t married and that suited me. I had a good church. I had a nice apartment. I even had a decent cat for company. Still, something gnawed at me.

It was like the sky before dawn. When I ran in the mornings I could identify the right shapes and colors, but something lacked in the hues. I needed the light of the sun to make things clear.

When I met Mick he’d come into the ED with a stubborn cough. He was just back from Rwanda. We started talking and one conversation led to another which led to me walking away from my old life and boarding this plane.

My friends at church think I’m crazy. They remind me how I’d be more help just sending money over to Rwanda. They remind me how poor Grant County is and how badly they need nurses who don’t care about a big paycheck. They remind me of the very real danger I’m facing. Rwanda was and is a very dangerous place.

I wish I could say I disagree. The truth is I’m scared. The truth is I’m not sure what kind of a help I’ll be. All I know is that I have to go.

The more I learned about Rwanda’s history, the more I prayed. The more I prayed, the more I knew I had to go. God had put this in me, this desire to meet more than just physical needs, but emotional and spiritual, too. I now knew what my calling was, and I was determined to follow it.

“Ohhh…” said the voice behind me. It was the sound of a heart’s exhalation, a sound familiar to me. Mick had this ability to break down the defensive walls we build up, leaving you exposed to the truth.

When I first saw the truth stripped down in front of me, it was repulsive. It was then I began writing Emmebet.

It wasn’t a sponsorship. Mick says it’s too easy for people to send money. He wanted friendships. So, when he’d find someone who wanted to know more about Rwanda, he would set us up with a pen pal. Emmebet became mine. I learned more about Rwanda, its history and its people than I ever did through magazine articles or history books.

The strange topography and culture, just words on paper before, would be ordinary life to me soon. My prayer is for God to use me. I am done with being useless.

I thought about the man behind me, and offered a prayer for his journey. The pre-dawn light was just starting to flicker for him. It would take some time for things to become clear.

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This article has been read 914 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Mildred Sheldon02/11/10
Thank you for sharing one of God's oh moments. I love how God sends people into our lives to help us grow. God's oh moments are life changing. Keep writing and God bless.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 02/11/10
A beautiful article. I'm sure it will call many into the mission's field. Thank you for sharing.
Judy Wood02/11/10
God works in amazing ways in our lives.No telling where He will lead us. I was in Africa in Zambia for five years. Thanks for sharing a way that God works through people. Keep writing.
Dana McReynolds02/15/10
Great job, very well written and touching.
Rachel Phelps02/17/10
I particularly loved your opening few lines. It really set the tone and hooked me into the story. You are in a good place with your structure and pacing, now don't be afraid to play around more with drama and emotion. Well done!
Jan Ackerson 02/17/10
Love the "ohhh" moment here.

I'd never heard the name "Emmebet" before, and I think it's beautiful.
Tessy Fuller02/17/10
I really enjoyed this article. I have a huge place in my heart for missions and it reminded me of many similar emotions I felt getting ready to go to Ecuador. I had no idea so many people would have adverse reactions to me loving and helping people.

This line I loved "When I ran in the mornings I could identify the right shapes and colors, but something lacked in the hues."
Rachel Rudd 02/17/10
Wow....your comparison of the dawn to the "revelation" of helping people was right on target. I was a bit confused at first about who Emmebet was, but I kept reading and found out very soon. Keep up the good writing!
Loren T. Lowery02/17/10
Thoroughly enjoyed this article and the way you wove/told your story with the conversation and the reflective thoughts of the MC. I liked, too some of the rebuttals you used for staying vs. going on a mission overseas. If anything (and this is not necessarily red ink) I would have liked to have seen more of the heart-felt, life-changing conviction coming from the passion of MC and not necessarily from the man who convinced her into going. Hope that makes sense - I really, really enjoyed this.
Sarah Elisabeth 02/18/10
Well put together story, congrats on your win!
Gregory Kane02/18/10
As a serving missionary, I echo the sentiments expressed here.
Money is of course important but there's no beating a person willing to heed the call of Christ and go. And not just for a week or two, but to go for long enough to really understand what's going on. That's how you really make a difference. Congratulations on your win.