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

TITLE: A Slight Change in PlansÖ
By Debbie Sickler


As young as seven years old, I remember feeling called to be a foreign missionary. Iíd lay in my bed, dreaming of traveling to Africa someday. I would spread Godís word and save entire nations.

Now here I was, twenty one years old, divorced and alone with a new infant to care for. Nowhere near the dreams of my youth. Things werenít going according to my plans, but they were fitting into Godís plan perfectly.

Just before my son was born, his father agreed that I should be an at home mom. We both felt it was important to have one of us caring for the new baby full time. One problem with that plan was our apartment; there was no way we could afford it on one income.

We left the pristine community and lifestyle weíd grown accustomed to and signed a lease at a much less attractive, low-rent complex. Unbeknownst to me, my journey to a foreign land had begun.

For the first time in my life, I was surrounded by cultures I was unfamiliar with. Growing up in a primarily Hispanic town, I had never been exposed to much else. The sea of black faces surrounding me at my new home was the closest thing to Africa Iíve yet to experience.

While my husband was falling out of love with me, I was quickly falling in love with the numerous neglected children in my new community. Iíd take my baby out to the playground area and be amazed at how many children would come up and talk to me. They spent their days outside, as parents too busy with their own problems and too tired to care, occasionally glanced out dusty windows.

These children were starving for attention. From me, a total stranger. From anyone. Anyone taking the time to notice them. My heart broke for them, the forgotten. God whispered a new plan in my ear.

I prayed uncertainly before contacting the apartment manager. She wasnít a Christian as far as I knew, but she loved those kids as much as I did and agreed to my request at once. I now had free use of the recreation room.

A few phone conversations with my mom helped me finalize the details and the F.U.N. Club was born. F.U.N. stood for Fellowship Uniting Neighbors. Fellowship is exactly what these kids needed. Fellowship with someone who cared enough to share their time and Godís love with them. I had no experience. No skills or special talents that I knew of. Just a passion to spread Godís love to children in need of Him.

That first afternoon, I was rather nervous about beginning my new mission. I was also thankful to have my momís vacation coincide at the perfect time to help me get started. She helped dress me up in a ridiculous country clown costume, complete with wide brimmed straw hat and rosy cheeks, the idea being to draw the kidsí attention. We walked around the complex inviting kids to join us in the rec. room for some F.U.N. I felt like a complete idiot, but it worked.

Twenty five kids showed up that day.

I used my dadís old shaggy dog puppet heíd used in his clown act when I was a kid. We sang childrenís songs from a tape and played games. I bribed them with penny candy and invited them back for more F.U.N. club meetings for the rest of the summer.

Heading back home, I felt unsure of how the day had gone. Was I any good at this? Did the kids actually have fun and learn anything? Would anyone show up next time? I had no clue.

Full of self doubt, I prepared my Bible story to share at the next meeting anyway.

The next week as I was getting ready, there was a knock at my front door. I opened it and was greeted by three of the young girls who had come to the first meeting. They handed me a bouquet of flowers theyíd picked and asked if I needed help carrying my things over for the club.

I was dumbfounded.

No, it wasnít Africa or some other exotic locale, but it was a definite mission field. God had planted a dream in the heart of a young girl many years ago. Despite life getting in the way of my vision, He still fulfilled that dream. I knew I was a missionary at last.

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This article has been read 873 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Amy Michelle Wiley 10/27/06
Great story! I've found a similar story in my life...I always thought I'd end up in Mexico, but for now God has me working other places. :-) Well-written.
Betty Castleberry10/29/06
I have no idea if this is really true, but it sounds like it is, and I *so* want it to be. It's a great idea. This was well written. Thank you for sharing it.
Karen Schravemade10/29/06
Beautifully told... right on target. I loved this story.
Donna Powers 10/29/06
A very nice story! I enjoyed this lighthearted piece and wished I was at your F.U.N. Club meeting. Well done!
Sandra Petersen 10/30/06
This was a good narrative, and a terrific idea for missions in your own backyard. The only thing I would have liked to read about toward the end was your husband's reaction to the F.U.N. club. I know you started the article with a reference to the divorce, then the fact your family had to move to a different apartment, but then there is no more mention of your ex.

The rest of the narrative was great and I'm glad you shared.
Donna Haug10/30/06
So true ... life rarely goes as we plan it. But God's has a purpose for each of us. Very good story.
dub W11/01/06
Sometimes the mission is right before us. Thank you for sharing this wonderful story.
Sara Harricharan 11/01/06
Loved this! Especially the happy ending, and she discovered she was a missionary after all. Great job!
william price11/02/06
Very good. I enjoy reading from somebody's heart when their passion is exposed in their work. Keep up the excellent writing. God bless.
Venice Kichura11/12/06
Loved this! Excellent writing skills!