Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of "A Man is Known by the Company He Keeps" (without using the actual phrase). (01/31/08)
TITLE: Befriending the Freshman
By Joanney Uthe
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Sliding into the last seat in the back row, Tami unloaded the necessary supplies for the class, not noticing the occupant of the next seat. “I think you’re following me. Weren’t you in Biology right before this?”
Tami looked at the young man, his chocolate eyes twinkling as he smiled at her. “Uh... yeah.” Couldn’t she think of anything more intelligent to say?
“So, you are following me from class to class. My name is James.” He offered her his hand. “I like to get to know those I have more than one class with.”
“I’m Tami.” She accepted his hand as the professor walked in. After class Tami and James talked until his next class, and continued their conversation between classes for several weeks.
Tami packed her backpack for her study group one night as her roommate, Steph, blocked the dorm room door. “Why don’t you study here tonight?” Her words were more a command than a question.
“I get more out of group study sessions and I’ve got a test tomorrow. With finals next week, I need all the study help I can get.” Tami didn’t need to explain her actions to her better-than-thou roommate.
“Tami, I’ve been meaning to talk to you about James. I’m worried about you. He’s a nice guy and stuff, but we’re freshman and the girls on the floor that knew him last year, well, we’re all worried.” No one on Tami’s floor, including Steph, had been friendly towards her since they found out she was a Christian the second week of school. Why were they concerned now?
“James and I are just friends. Besides, I don’t have time for a serious relationship right now, and he is seeing Bekah. So if you will excuse me, my friends are waiting for me.” She reached for the doorknob, only to have her roommate block it even more adamantly.
“Has he asked you to his church, yet?” Steph’s interference was grating on her nerves, but also peaked Tami’s curiosity.
“He knows I go to church every week. Why would he ask me to try his? I need to study for this test. Please let me out.” Before I lose my witness.
“Just a warning, he may say he does, but he doesn’t believe the same things you do. Be careful, Tami. I don’t want to see you get caught up in a cult.” Steph stepped away from the door.
Steph’s words replayed in Tami’s mind as she walked to Bekah’s dorm. A cult? Why would she say that? Tami knew James and the others were active in their church, but she didn’t know which church they attended, only that they all attended the same one. Could they be part of a cult? What did Steph know about cults? She only went to church when her parents were in town. Tami wasn’t sure if Steph even owned a Bible. Guess I haven’t done a very good job of witnessing to my own roommate, have I Lord?
Not able to afford an airline ticket home, Tami stayed in the quiet dorm the week between trimesters. Only a handful of souls could be found in the entire dorm; no one she knew had stayed on campus. Looking at her church website, she decided to join one of the Sunday School classes starting that week; “What Cults Teach.”
She arrived early and found the room nearly empty; only three other people. “I’m surprised to see you here,” a familiar voice greeted her. Looking to see who was talking, she recognized the handsome graduate student who taught her biology lab. Tami’s perplexity must have shown on her face. “Whenever I see you on campus, you are with people from one of the cult churches in town. I thought you were one of them.”
“You’re the second person in as many weeks who’s told me that, but my friends have never mentioned where they go to church. Perhaps I need to learn more about their religion and find a new set of friends.” Tami felt a peace come over her as she accepted his offer to discuss it over lunch after the service.
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