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

TITLE: Xanilean Xenophobes
By Allison Egley


November 5, 2003
Dear Mom and Dad,

I got a call from the mission agency. Theyíre sending me to Xanilea, a remote country where they have sent five missionaries. They havenít heard from them since. Theyíre convinced theyíre too busy converting the Xaileans. Iím not so sure.

I fly out after Christmas. Iíll fly to China, then board a small plane to Xanilea. Iíll land on the only runway on the island; a clearing in a cornfield. The Xaileans will greet me, along with the other missionaries. I hope. I wonít have computer access, but Iíll write to you when I can. See you soon.

January 8, 2004
Dear Mom and Dad,

I just landed in Xanilea. My pilot is waiting for me to finish this letter so it will get to you quickly. The Xaileans gave me quite the reception. As the plane was landing, I saw hundreds of spears pointed at the plane. I thought I had discovered what had happened to the other missionaries. Since youíre getting this letter, you know I landed safely.

I didnít see any of the previous missionaries. I tentatively stepped off the plane. The Xaileans had a hungry look in their eyes. Slowly, I said, ďI come in peace,Ē while trying to act it out the best I could. They immediately dropped their spears and bowed down. I still donít know what I said or did. They cleared a path for me, and the man whom I assume is the leader of the tribe walked triumphantly in front of me. He stopped before a hut and stood outside. So did I. I pointed to myself, then to the hut, asking if I should go in. He bowed. I took that as a ďyes.Ē The hut was sparsely furnished: a straw mat, a fire pit, some bamboo cooking utensils, and a cast iron pan, perhaps left over from the other missionaries.

Iíd better close. The Xaileans are looking at my pilot, and if looks are any indication, they wonít be as accommodating to him. They have that hungry look in their eyes.

July 13, 2004
Dear Mom and Dad,

Iím doing well. Iíve built relationships with the Xaileans, including with the leader, Tabis. Through much finger pointing and gestures, I discovered their language is similar to a nearby islandís where there are established missionaries. I learned about it in my training seminar. I used the transistor radio to communicate with the missionaries. Thanks to that, communication got much easier. Tabis even knows some English!

I finally asked him what happened to the other missionaries. Through a combination of Xanilean, the native language, and his choppy English, he told me they gave the wrong answer during their initiation and became the main course instead of the guests. Seeing my startled expression, he explained I was accepted the moment I uttered my first words after getting off the plane. He told me the English word "peace" is very similar to their word "goddess." That certainly explains my reception.

I must close. I hear the supply plane coming. I was able to convince the Xaileans that my pilot is harmless. They donít accept him yet, but they donít give him that hungry look either.

January 25, 2005
Dear Mom and Dad,

I canít believe itís been over a year since I arrived in Xanilea. I hope you got my Christmas card. Iím sorry I didnít have time to give a thorough update. It was a busy time. I was preparing to celebrate Christmas with the new Xanilean believers! Shortly after my last letter, Tabis asked me why I came after they killed the other missionaries. I explained Godís love for everyone, using hand gestures, English, and Xanilean.

He gave me blank stares at first, but finally his eyes lit up and he exclaimed, ďYou mean, God wants me?Ē

ďYes!Ē I replied, and led him to Christ. He began teaching others and soon had two converts of his own.

Iíve begun working with Tabis on translating parts of the Gospels. Weíre nearly finished! Thereíve been a few snags. For example, after translating the story of Jesus calming the storm, Tabis read it and started laughing. He explained that in my translation, Jesus was sleeping under the boat. Oops. I also had Jesus nailed inside the cross. Those darn prepositions.

Iím taking an early furlough and will be home this summer. Pray for the Xanileans. God is working!

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This article has been read 1131 times
Member Comments
Member Date
dub W10/26/06
This is exactly what I hoped to read in this series of essays. Probably, even if this is fiction, it is close to actual accounts. I enjoyed the way the composition worked. Thank you.
william price10/27/06
Your title caught my attention, and your crisp writing kept me reading. Very good job. I really enjoyed this. God bless.
Ann FitzHenry10/28/06
I really liked this! You used the letters home approach very effectively. Your title is a grabber!
Gregory Kane10/29/06
As has been said an excellent title and I like the way that the ministry develops as time goes by. But I thought the overall effect was a bit corny. Such activities might possibly have taken place a hundred years ago but I thought they were unrealistic for a setting of 2005.
Betty Castleberry10/29/06
This was good! I like the personal correspondence style, and it had just the right touch of wit and humor, too. Well done.
Jan Ackerson 10/29/06
A clever approach! A very economical way to tell the whole story, and in an authentic voice.

The spelling of the people was inconsistent: are they "Xanileans" or "Xaileans"?

Good job creating suspense and resolution here.
Donna Powers 10/29/06
A very nice story and I enjoyed the way it unfolded. Thanks so much for sharing it.
Jan Ross10/29/06
Very, very good! I love the way you presented this, giving a full story using first person voice. Very, very well done. Great work! :)
Marty Wellington 10/30/06
Unique format and great writing--really kept my attention and I'm long for more letters home. Great work.
Donna Haug10/30/06
Though it may not be realistic, it was an entertaining read and a good reminder that God leads our lives and paves the way before us. Loved the title!!
terri tiffany11/01/06
What I like- The title drew me in first! I liked the quick pace - clear writing style. Good humor. Nice touch on the details.
What I might change - some parts didn't seem real but it was a fun read anyways!:)
Good writing!!