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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Achoo (04/11/13)

TITLE: When the Elephant Sneezed
By Shanta Richard


When we were young our mother used to teach us nursery rhymes. Some of them were traditional ones and some she made up. One of them went like this:
“I went to the animals’ zoo, the birds and the beasts were there.
The gay baboon by the light of the moon was combing her golden hair
The monkey fell out of his bunk right into the elephant’s trunk
The elephant sneezed ‘Achoo’ and fell on his knees
And what became of the monkey, monkey, monkey---“
When we asked her what happened to the monkey she told us that the sneeze was so powerful that the monkey was shot into the sky and landed on the moon. On a dark night when the moon was full she told us we could see the monkey in the moon.

Years later I remembered the power of the elephant’s, ‘Achoo’ while I was preparing my Sunday school lesson on the story of Elisha and the Shunamite’s son. The Shunamite woman was barren and Elisha had prayed for her and she was blessed with a son. One day when the boy was in the fields, working with his father he suddenly got a severe headache and was taken home to his mother. Shortly the boy died. The heart-broken mother ran to Mt. Carmel to Elisha’s and begged him to come home and see the boy. Elisha came and went to the room where the boy was laid.

The first thing Elisha did was to pray. He must have asked for God’s wisdom and power to deal with this situation. Then he lay over the boy, mouth to mouth, eye to eye, and hand to hand. Nothing happened. So he got up and walked around the room as he continued to pray. He again repeated the process. This time the boy stirred. Sneezed seven times and woke up.

Fifty years ago we children accepted the power of the elephant’s sneeze to propel the monkey into space and to the moon. It was a fairy tale, it was magic. But would my practical minded class accept the Biblical fact that the breath of a holy man made a boy to sneeze his way back to life from death? I had to find a way to explain it to them in a way that would help them believe it.

I started off by telling my class that in Christ all things are possible if we believe in Him, and if it is according to His will. The prophet Elisha believed and hence he prayed. When the boy did not revive the first time, Elisha prayed again. This time when he stretched himself on the boy the spirit of God entered the boy through Elisha. God’s spirit was so powerful that it pushed the spirit of death out of the boy with such force that he had to sneeze seven times (KJV). When the spirit of death was ejected from him the boy became alive.

I hope my class will accept my explanation of God’s miraculous healing of the Shunamite boy.

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Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 04/18/13
This is really interesting. The title really grabbed my attention because I have a thing about elephants. I wonder if you couldn't come up with a fun rhyme and verse much like your Mom did. Kids love those things and like you have shown the rhyme tends to stay in people's mind longer. The only read ink I have is to make sure you give the book, chapter, and verse to all of the Scriptures mentioned. (If you do it in an author's note at the end, it doesn't add to the word count.) You covered the topic in a fun way and then transitioned smoothly to your message. Good job.
Lisa Hudson 04/18/13
I had completely forgotten about the boy sneezing seven times when he was brought back to life. I loved your story and as a Sunday school teacher to the younger kids I can relate all too well! I enjoyed this very much.
Judith Gayle Smith04/21/13
Pure delight!
Alicia Renkema04/22/13
I found all of the aspects's of your story fascinating, I love that you had your piece start out with this wonderful nursery rhyme that had never heard of before. Then, I thought it was marvelous how you tied that in with the Biblical story of Elisha, and the boy who died with the sneezing and coming back to life through using the nursery rhyme as a teaching aid. The only red ink I have is the ending fell a little flat for me and left me wanting to know how your Sunday School class received the story. This was a very imaginative piece though and very well told. God's blessings to you.
Patsy Hallum04/24/13
Great Story. I learned that rhyme a little differently. "The monkey he got drunk and sat on the elephants trunk." Your version is better! Keep writing!