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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Calm (emotionally) (09/13/07)

TITLE: No Matter Who - No Matter Where
By Jan Ross
09/19/07


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The whites of her eyes contrasted with the filth on her body. Left behind, orphaned, and hungry, Linh longed for the covering of the marshy reeds where no one would find her. She heard too many stories about wild animals ravaging the nearby Vietnamese villages. Even at her young age, she knew she had a better chance if she sat quietly until the sun set behind the mountain. Tomorrow she’d leave to find her grandmother.

Suddenly, a rustling in the tall grass. Linh gasped. What is it? Her mind filled with terror. Is it a snake? Tigers have been in the village-there is danger!

Linh’s worst fears were realized when suddenly she felt her ankle burning. Her heart began to race, her lips began to quiver as she saw the snake slither away. God, do you see? Will you answer? Grandmother told me to cry out to You in my time of trouble!

“…thì sự giận dữ của biển yên lặng.” (Gioâ-na 1:15b)

***


Gerritje Blokhuis loved her home in Utrecht. The canals inspired her to write, reaching down into the depths of her soul as she sat alongside the water watching the motion-picture of life in the Netherlands. Gerritje was a dreamer, it came easy to her as if she was destined to see beyond the natural and peer into an unseen world.

Antonie, the love of her life, left her on this earth alone yet she was never lonely. Her prayers and dreams filled her days; the only thing missing was his gentle touch and the tender voice his unquestionable love.

Laying down her pen and closing her eyes one warm Sunday afternoon, her dreams became the landscape of sudden destruction. The winds blew. The water rose. The canal engulfed its banks. The boats were tossed back and forth like a child’s toys in the bath. People could be heard as they cried out from the midst of the torrential current. Then, she saw Him in the clouds. Stretching out His hands, He spoke: “Peace be still!”

“…en de storm ging liggen!" (Jona 1:15b)

***


“Everyone says the Caribbean is beautiful. I suppose it is if you’re a tourist. But life for me in this village has not always been beautiful. In fact, darkness shrouded any natural beauty gracing this Haitian land. I know the heaviness I felt, the evil lurking, the wild rebellion in the eyes of children, the sinister influence that hovered over this village. I know it because not so long ago I was part of it until one day my eyes were opened and I found true beauty.”

“I am from the Ogou family; we are soldiers and leaders among my people. My family is not untypical from many in Haiti. Great-Grandfather taught the craft to his children and they passed it down to their children, and so on. Needless to say, I knew no other life.

Rituals in honor of Bondyè was our heritage and the only way of life. Even as a child, I understood the power of vodou (we call it Sèvis Lwa).”

“A few years ago, white men came to our village teaching us about their God; we only knew Bondyè and his power. Father said they came to destroy us and must be stopped. Each night, precisely at midnight, we began the ritual. Frenzied dancing and chanting went on for hours before the altar. Each morning we woke only to hear the white men reading from their Book and telling us about their God. They seemed unmoved and untouched by the spirits assigned to rid the village of their disruption.”

“The seventh night-I’ll never forget it-we were gathered. As customary, we began by saluting Hounto, the spirit of the drums. The heaviness of evil filled the atmosphere. I looked up and there stood the white men with arms opened wide and tears flowing down their cheeks. The drums stopped, dancing ceased, and an unexplainable calm fell like a wet blanket snuffing out the wild frenzied liturgy. As I look back now through the eyes of the redeemed I understand…”

“Lamenm, kalmi fèt.” (Jonas 1:15b)

***


All the townsfolk assembled in the tiny country church on Sunday after their crops were ravaged by storms and ensuing floodwaters. Pastor VanRyn rose to the platform. Anointed and appointed as a shepherd to his flock, his heart bore the weight their pain. Led of the Spirit, he opened his Bible and began:

“…and the raging sea grew calm.” (Jonah 1:15b)


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This article has been read 1193 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Sheri Gordon09/20/07
This is beautiful writing. The trip through other cultures is very eye-opening. Wonderful job.
Lynda Schultz 09/20/07
Unique approach to the theme. Good job.
Kristen Hester09/21/07
This is wonderful! Excellent writing. I feel like I've been on a trip around the world. I wish you had more words to expand on this.

The third part threw me for a loop because it was different. For a while I thought it was explanations. It all made sense in the end. Very touching.

Blessings!
Joanne Sher 09/22/07
Fascinating little snapshots with wonderful descriptions. I think I MAY know who wrote this. Powerful piece - and I love the approach.
Sharlyn Guthrie09/22/07
What a beautiful reminder of the sameness of our God across continents and cultures! I love the use of the same verse tying it all together.
Jan Ackerson 09/24/07
Oh, wonderful! I love languages, and it was such a treat to see the four languages and cultures explored here. Thanks for the privilege of reading this.
Sueanne Dolentz09/26/07
The title of this piece says it all. What a wonderful piece for ministering to others.
Sheri Gordon09/27/07
Congratulations on your well deserved EC. I really liked this piece, and so glad to see it placed.
Rita Garcia09/27/07
CONGRATULATIONS!!! LOVE, RITA
Venice Kichura09/30/07
Beautiful story, Jan! As I was a member of a Christian Reformed Church (filled with lovely Dutch people) when we lived in Connecticut, I could really appreciate this. Well done & congratulations!