Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Africa (03/05/09)
TITLE: Child of God
By Lynne Eliason
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She was the latest arrival. Sitting on a marble bench, swinging her ebony legs back and forth, the little girl tossed her unruly mass of charcoal curls and with little pomp, she blurted, “I need to go back to my home…please.” Her dark eyes, like black pearls, gazed up at Him.
“But you are home, my child.” He emphasized his words slowly, taking in her request with compassion. She truly was a beautiful creation. He knew her name, Binta, and she came from Tanzania, Africa, one of his favorite places on earth, rich with wondrous flora and fauna. It had turned out well. Of course, she must be homesick.
A single teardrop glistened on her cheek. “My Maman will be wanting me. I saw her cries when I left her. I know how she will need me.” As only a child can do and still make sense, she rambled on, “Am I still sick?”
“No, sweet one, you are no longer sick. You will never be sick again. You have a new body now that is healed. And…your Maman…she will be sad and you will always be in her heart, but she knows you are now in a far better place.” He knew the plight of her village. There would be many that would follow soon from the dreaded cholera, but the missionaries had done well in their endeavors to teach of Christ and eternity.
“But Great One, I already miss my land and I will miss when my brother, Jabari, meets his first mighty lion and becomes a man an’ I will not see the gazelles race the wind or the silly hippos play in the mud in the river. I think I should go back to my home in Africa. Now.” She looked him square in the eye, but squirmed in her new airy dress. It sure wasn’t what she was accustomed to. Thank goodness they didn’t make you wear shoes here.
“Well, Binta, dear child, you will now always be with your land in spirit. And you will be part of the rainbow in the sky after a fresh rain that you love so much and the stars in the sky at night that twinkle on your family. You may also visit them in spirit every now and then, just so they can be reminded of your laughter and joy. Binta, you are now an angel for all eternity. Heaven is your forever home and you will be a guardian for those that still walk in earthly light. He hesitated and then added, “But many will join you in the days and years to come.”
She was beginning to understand. Binta sang out, “Thy Kingdom come… I have come. What the holy white people have been telling us is true. Am I really, really in Heaven? I‘m an angel! I am a real angel!” This sweet child from the heartlands of Africa hopped off the alabaster seat and began to dance around. She was realizing what it truly meant to be a child of God. His promise had come true! Oh my, the halo would take some getting used to. It wanted to teeter a little.
“Binta,” God said in a fatherly tone, “Your Grandmother Zina is waiting for you. And remember your friend, Adaeze, that died last year in the fire? She is here and is whole and happy. When you felt her presence in the jungle a few months ago? It really was her. You were not crazy like the other children teased. Oh, and… you had a baby brother that came to be with Me right after he was born? He is here. When your Maman would seem to feel his soft little breath on her cheek, it really was him.”
The little girl’s black eyes opened with wonder. Heaven was indeed as wonderful as the church people had said. She could hardly wait to “visit” them on earth as an angel in spirit. She turned and looked at God, now with greater reverence and dignity. “Thank…thank you, Father. I will be the bestest angel you ever had!” Binta blew him a kiss and frolicked down a golden path to meet Grandmother Zina.
God smiled. He had no doubt that she would be an amazing angel. After all, her name meant “with God” and it was as if her village knew her destiny when they chose it. But then, He already knew that!
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