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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Missionary (10/19/06)

TITLE: Obadiah's Message
By dub W


The sirens finally stopped screaming. Obadiah Gashau raised his hand as he stood up; the danger was temporarily past. “Quietly now children.” Obadiah referred to all his people as children. He looked around the room, his extended family was there, as were the families of two of his neighbors.

The basement of the tenement was musty and dirty, but it was the only place where a group might meet without fear of intercession of government authorities. After the great wars, government leadership had outlawed group meetings. Regularly, the sirens sounded indicating police activity – usually in search of religious gatherings.

A small face peeked from beneath a blanket. “Obadiah, tell us again about the old church, the man called Jesus.”

“Oh, wee one,” Obadiah smiled, “He put us here right now, and is with us today; His spirit is what gives us hope.” Several of the adults leaned into the soft conversation. “What is charged to your parents and to you is to become the infection that spreads His message.”

The child looked up and appeared to smile with understanding. “I can tell the story.”

“Yes child, but we must be careful. As missionaries in our world we must show God’s love, be a demonstration of the grace of Jesus, and after people see this love, then you,” Obadiah pointed to the adults in the room, “must spread the love through the message.”

Several adults moved toward the old teacher. “For each of you, like the original disciples, the path will be strewn with oppression. People have become complacent under the new order.” He paused and tried to look into the eyes of the group. “Each of you, even the children, are to move into the community, into the country, and into the world, to rekindle the flame of our Savior.” Then directing his remarks directly to the adults. “We cannot allow the souls of our people to be swallowed up by the anti Christian new order.” His voice rose above the required whisper and tears ran down his cheeks. “Go out now, and be missionaries to the world.”

Families slowly began to climb stairs and exit the basement; few words were spoken.

Obadiah was the last out of the basement, and cautiously climbed the stairs to his small apartment. His old joints ached with each step. After the wars the new order had given everyone his age a tiny apartment. Private housing, not destroyed by war, was either destroyed under the new order or retained for government offices. Property ownership was no longer possible.

The only newspaper he received was a government propaganda sheet, and rarely carried anything other than slanted news. He glanced at the newest edition at his door. The headline read, “Population may top the ten million mark.” He wiped a tear from his eye, he remembered when the world population was in the billions.

The theory of the new order was, in his mind, to create a dependant society. The government owned everything; the population depended on the benevolence of the government to provide for their needs. In exchange the population was to be loyal without question to the government authority. Crime was virtually eliminated, along with poverty. Instant capital punishment was the answer for any criminal activity. The government could arrest anyone at anytime, with no warrant and without proven reason. The population largely lived in fear.

Obadiah cracked open his door. Sitting in his armchair was a neighborhood detective, and standing next to him was a former neighbor.

“Been doing missionary work?” The detective pulled out a notepad.

Obadiah didn’t answer.

The former neighbor whispered something to the detective, then the detective stood up. “Old man, your evangelizing days are over, we’re going downtown.” He approached Obadiah and spun the older man around, pulling Obadiah’s hands to his back, then handcuffed the wrists.

As the trio exited the tenement Obadiah noticed some of the youngsters from the meeting. “Never forget little ones,” he whispered.

The detective pushed him toward the car. “Come on old man, no more missionary work today.”

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This article has been read 1324 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Peggy Bennitt10/26/06
Oppression is always depressing. Very well written. Very "real" feeling.
Donna Haug10/26/06
When lights come on in children the "They can tell the story", what a missionary movement that will be. Awesome.
Jan Ackerson 10/27/06
Very atmospheric; with an economy of words you created a tenement basement where I felt I should read in whispers. Creative!
Ann FitzHenry10/27/06
I really enjoyed reading Obadiah's Message. I loved the way you used the reader's natural assumptions about time and place to create another reality. Great writing!
Gregory Kane10/29/06
I enjoyed this. Although the setting was apocalyptic, it reminded me in part of three years we spent in Zimbabwe. There the media is strictly controlled, group meetings may be severely restricted, and private property could be seized or destroyed by the government. The challenge for the church there is to continue to speak out – as so powerfully portrayed in your story.
Ruth Neilson10/29/06
Sadly enough, these are the stories that I can see for our future--espicially in America. Beautiful job, Dub.
Sandra Petersen 10/30/06
We definitely live too comfortable and complacent lives here in this country. Would any of us still carry on evangelism if it was outlawed? You made this point beautifully, Dub. Thank you for yielding to the Lord and delivering His warning to us.
Donna Powers 10/30/06
Very touching and the scene was vividly portrayed. It definitely gave me pause. Thanks for sharing this!
Sue Dent11/01/06
Your style is always so refreshing. I just love it. Nothing wrong with this one as far as I'm concerned. Your entrys are always so easy to follow.
Sara Harricharan 11/01/06
This was very good, but sort of sad near the end when Obadiah was arrested. Great job otherwise! :)
Betty Castleberry11/01/06
I couldn't stop reading this. Sadly, it could be look into the future.
Well done.
william price11/02/06
A nice subtle, gentle, honest essay that doesn't beat us over the head or shout at us to make a point. Good job. God bless.