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

TITLE: Michael's Job
By Sue Dent


The rainforest pulsated with life as his friend lay dying in his arms, his breathing labored. He didn’t even try to contain his tears as he looked down into the face of the man he’d only know for a few weeks though loved like a brother.

With much effort, Michael spoke. “Tell me again—why are you a missionary?”

The voice was barely his own. Pushing through the pain of losing his friend was almost more than he could do. “Michael, you know why.” With his free hand he wiped at the moisture on his face with the back of his hand.

“I know but I want to hear it from you again.”

He reached deep within himself, numb from the experience of running from the natives, horrified at the sight of the likely poisoned darts he’d pulled from his friends back, the ones fired at them as they ran from the camp.

With a dull sense of reality he recited. “But how can they call on Him if they haven’t believed in Him? How can they believe in Him if they haven’t heard of Him? How can they hear if nobody preaches? Romans ten verse fourteen.”

His slight smile faded quickly into a grimace. “And why shouldn’t I feel worse about them hating us so much.”

Mechanically, he replied. “If the people of this world hate you, just remember that they hated me first. If you belonged to the world, its people would love you. But you don’t belong to the world. I have chosen you to leave the world behind, and that is why its people hate you. Remember how I told you that servants are greater than their master. So if people mistreat me, they will mistreat you. If they do what I say, they will do what you say. People will do to you exactly what they did to me. They will do it because you belong to me, and they don’t know the one who sent me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin. But now they have no excuse for their sin.”

A weaker nod, “Yes. And why did Jesus die for our sins?”

Unbidden tears streamed now. “Because there is no greater way to show love for someone than to lay down your life for them.”

“And what does the bible say of angels?”

“Hebrews says be not forgetful to entertain strangers for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.”

Michael drew a ragged breath. “I was a stranger to you when I offered to guide you to this place.”

A difficult acknowledgement as he wiped his face once more. Many had told him to trust no one. That most were thieves out to take whatever they could get. Yet Michael had been very helpful. In the past month, they’d done much to bring many to Christ. He could honestly say he never trusted anyone more. It was hard to imagine that shortly Michael would be gone. But there was no hospital anywhere close and no way to get there quickly even if there were.

“I feel so helpless Michael. I want to do something but I can’t. Why couldn’t it have been me those darts hit?”

“They were meant for you,” Michael said biding his last breath. “It was my job to take your place. It was my job. Now go do yours.”

Eyes clouded, he layed Michael’s limp body on the ground.


Turned to see four natives headed his way.

“Missionary,” one called out. “Tell us more.”

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This article has been read 726 times
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Member Date
Marilyn Schnepp 10/26/06
Such a gentle and loving way to tell the story of Jesus and salvation. It wasn't preached, it was spoken with clear concise words that Michael wanted repeated again and again by his friend. Great story, with just a couple of goof ups. An "n" missing for one...but otherwise well done.
Donna Haug10/26/06
Good story. I too liked the way the gospel was shared in a non-threatening way. In the first part when he was holding his friend's head, I was a little confused as to which 'his' and 'he' belonged to which guy. You may need to use a name when you use two pronouns referring to different people in the same sentence/paragraph.
You created a heart-wrenching scene with an easily explained message. Nice job.(:
Stephen Paynter10/27/06
I liked this story. I found it really interesting - one that needed pondering. So ... my reading of it is not that Michael needed the gospel told him, but that he was helping our unnamed hero to keep his own life properly focused. Furthermore, it is even possible that our ministering Michael may even have been an angel. ... But do angels remove themselves from our experience by apparently dying? Who knows! Interesting to reflect on though! I can see the "everyman" advantage in not giving the missionary a name, but I think it probably didn't work. There is something a little disconcerting about having the name for one character but not one for the main character, which is probably not a sensation that you were aiming for.

I repeat - I really liked this. I hope it does well. God bless, Steve
Helen Paynter10/27/06
Very interesting piece. Ane the identity of Michael is left, I suspect, deliberately ambiguous. Main criticism - I found it a bit tricky to work out who was whom at times, had to read parts a couple of times to work ut which was injured and which was the missionary. Very enjoyable to read, with your usual flair for story and mystery!
Andrea Hargrove10/29/06
Like Helen, I had to rearead parts to figure out who was injured. Besides that slight confusion, I thought it was very well-written.
Ann FitzHenry10/29/06
Very good depiction of the scene. I could almost see the poisoned darts. I also thought the end was very good. Missionary..tell us more.

Donna Powers 10/29/06
I enjoyed this touching story very much. It is very inspiring and well written. Thanks for sharing it.
Ruth Neilson10/29/06
I agree with the other critiques there is a confusion wiht the he and his. But other than that, and a few typos, lovely job.
Sara Harricharan 10/31/06
Great job! This story was full of deep emotion-and truth.
Joe Moreland10/31/06
Nice job. You drew me in from the beginning. Michael's (the angel Michael?) was sent to take his place so our protaganist could continue to minister to the natives. One guy doing his job so another could do his. I found myself wishing the word limit was a few hundred higher so this story could have been fleshed out some more. Great concept; thanks for this one.

dub W11/01/06
Overall a good tense story. Probably some identifiers along the way would help. Great endings.
Betty Castleberry11/01/06
I like your rain forest description "pulsated with life." That's perfect. I'm still wondering about Michael's identity. This was a very intriguing read, and I truly enjoyed it.
Joanne Sher 11/02/06
WONDERFUL dialogue and description here, Sue! One of my personal favorites :D