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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Search Engine (10/06/11)

TITLE: Nicodemus: The Next Generation
By V. Joy Ocasio


So hereís what I think about the internet.

Itís dumb.

You look for a simple piece of information on a widely used search engine, like Google or Bing, and what does it give you.

Nothing. Nothing good. Nothing a good Christian girl like me is going to repeat anyways.

The internet, the World Wide Web, and every single existing search engine, they are not my friends.

I smash my open palm onto the keyboard. I then watch in horror as my computer visibly starts to fidget and speak in computer talk for a few seconds before going totally and completely black.


Looks like Iím done researching that way.

Library here I come.

A five minute walk, a seven minute wait, and a thirteen minute bus ride later, and Iím at the town library.

I walk up and down the aisles to find a single book to help my research. I find it fairly quickly. I stare at the book before reverently picking it up. Then I put it back on the shelf. Then I pick it up again.

I think Iím breaking out in hives.

I grab the book and a couple other paperbacks to cover my trail.

Itís time to brave the computers again.

I make my way over to the libraryís computer lab. The library has a special system set up for the library members to use the computer lab. Year long members get five hours free on the computers every week. My parents didnít buy their old computer until I was fifteen, so the only access I had to a computer was here. Then I turned seventeen, and brought my own laptop.

Itís been awhile since Iíve had to come to the library for some computer time.

I flash my membership card, all detective like, and go to the most secluded computer. I log in and take a deep breath.


And wait.

I need some answers about life.

I spend an hour searching before I come across something promising. The website has links I can click on to answer my questions. I spend another hour just reading through some of those before I click on the link-How do I get to Heaven?

The page starts with what I assume is a Bible verse. It says John 3:16.

I donít even read the rest of the page. I grab for the pile of books next to me and open the book that makes me hyperventilate. Itís a Bible.

Actually, the cover says Holy Bible. Not sure if that makes a difference.

I donít really know where to look. I flip towards the front. A huge wave of air escapes my mouth in relief. A table of contents. I look for a book titled John.

Thereís like four books called John in here! How am I supposed to know where to go?

I decide to try the first one listed and work my way from there. I navigate my way to the book of John. I find chapter three and start reading in verse one. The story is about a man named Nicodemus who sneaks away to talk to some guy named Jesus. As I keep reading, I see that Nicodemus is a man with a lot of questions, too. However, Jesus seems to have all the answers to his questions.

I can really relate to Nicodemus. I feel just as confused as he seems to be by what Jesus says.

Then I come to verse sixteen:

ďFor God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.Ē

Who is Godís son? What does it mean to believe in Him? I only have to believe in Him to get eternal life? God loves the world? Does that mean me?

The questions just swim through my head. Back and forth. Back and forth. Like the little goldfish you see in those huge tanks at pet stores.

Iím not ready to give up looking for answers. The questions and worries about whatís next are just too big, too important for me to ignore them. Iíve got to keep searching.

And I NEED to find out if God loves me. If He really sent His Son to die for me. Just so I could have eternal life.

I need to know.

Cause a God like that is worth getting to know.

Maybe I should try a church nextÖ

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This article has been read 357 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 10/21/11
I really, really liked this. Your MC is so childlike and innocent. You did a nice job with this piece. I believed it like I was watching it unfold. Below is my opinion of the rating categories based on a 0-5 scale.

Topic: 3.5 You did a nice job of combining the mC's search for the truth with the topic.

Creativity: 3.3 I thought this was a fresh approach.

Craft: 3 You had a few typos and sentences that were awkward but overall presented a believable scenario.

Start: 3.0 You drew me in.

End: 3.2 I thought it was a good ending that didn't feel forced. I liked the last line.

Flow: 3.3 You did A nice job moving from paragraph to paragraph and kept me interested.

Comphresion: 3.5 I think you had a clear message and really told the reader what is on your heart.

Publishable 3.6 I think this would make a great Sunday School take home sheet.

C D Swanson 10/21/11
Great job! I was right there watching you, and almost inside your mind as you began your search of Jesus. Loved it.

On topic and a beautiful message too. Thank you. God Bless~
Jan Ackerson 10/22/11
Your strength is criterion #2 (unique, fresh, memorable). This was a totally different approach, and I really appreciated it.

Your weakness was #7 (flow). It was a bit choppy, and I wasn't sure why the narrator referred to herself as a Christian in the 1st few paragraphs, when her later research showed that she was not yet saved.

This was firmly on topic (#1) and showed immense creativity with what seemed like a very limiting topic.
Helen Curtis10/22/11
I loved the beginning!

I thought the MCs thought processes were lovely, a bit like talking to oneself - which I can relate to!

The layout was so easy to read and the flow of the dialogue was, for the most part, good and I only had to stop and re-read once or twice.

The title fits the story so well, as we modern-day Nicodemuses use whatever means we can to search for Christ.

I really liked this. Well done.
Linda Goergen10/23/11
There were a couple of points in this that confused me, like Jan I couldnít understand her referring to herself as a ďgood Christian girlĒ in the beginning and later seeming to have no knowledge of Christianity. Also, there was a line that said ďThe story is about a man named Nicodemus who sneaks away to talk to some guy named Jesus.Ē ďSome guy named JesusĒ comes across as she had no idea who Jesus was, yet prior to that she had put in JESUS CHRIST, SON OF GOD to search, so she clearly knew who Jesus was to have put that in the search engine.

But those aside, I enjoyed this story and peeking in on the girlís thoughts! The story had lots of great visual detail, especially as she was browsing among the books!! It was a creative way to use the topic and it was a very delightful read! I liked the ending too. Good job!

Mildred Sheldon10/31/11
Thank you for an interesting story. I enjoyed it very much.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 11/04/11
Congratulations for ranking 7th in level 2!