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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Africa (03/05/09)

TITLE: Touching Africa
By Christina Banks


“Perfect!” Grandma declared. “What do you think Sweet Pea?”

Jenny looked at the large map tacked to the wall. The dark brown boarder with the small Jeep in the corner stood out in painful contrast against the pale pink flowered wallpaper. Jenny looked sadly at the old poster of Cinderella where it lay discarded on the white ruffled bedspread. For the last four years, the princess had kept a cheerful vigil over Jenny’s old flip-top desk. Jenny felt she was betraying an old friend.

“I don’t know, Grandma,” Jenny said quietly, “it’s not very pretty.”

“What do you mean it’s not pretty? Look at the amazing world that the Lord made. Look at the oceans and the continents. Those continents are full of countries, cities, towns, houses, and people. People just like you and me. People that God loved enough to send Jesus to die for their sins. Try to see beyond the dark outlines of the countries to the people who live in them. Use that over active imagination of yours to picture the young girls, just like you, who live in those far off places. Those little girls need to learn about Jesus. Some of them have never heard about Him. They need you to pray for them.”

Jenny looked at the map again. Bold black lines and bright colors stared back at her. Try as she might, she could not imagine the faces.

“Will you pray for them? Will you pray for the children of the world?” Grandma asked, placing a hand on Jenny’s shoulder.

“I will, Grandma.” Jenny promised, wanting to please the older woman. Grandma patted Jenny’s head, and left her alone.

Crawling up on the top of her desk, Jenny stood to get a closer look at the large map. She could just reach the top of it if she stood on her tip toes. Spreading her arms out wide, her fingers grazed the edge of the large poster. The sheer size of the planet was overwhelming.

Not knowing where to start praying, Jenny closed her eyes and pointed to a random space in front of her. The glossy surface felt cool, as she opened her eyes. Her finger had found a place right in the heart of Africa.

“Central African Republic,” Jenny read the tiny letters aloud.

Sliding down from the top of the desk, Jenny grabbed the C volume of the old encyclopaedia set that sat on her bookshelf. Sitting cross legged on the floor, Jenny flipped through the pages till she found the one she was searching for. It was not the topographical map, or the statistical charts that drew her attention, but a small picture in the lower left hand corner of the page. A little African girl in tattered clothing clutched a dirty old doll. Jenny stared at the dark eyes that pleaded with her from the page. A tear slid silently down the girl’s soft cheek as she was faced with the reality of the need.

“I will pray for them,” Jenny vowed. “I’ll pray every day. I’ll pray that someone will tell them before they die without Jesus. Someone has to go and tell them!”

The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few;
Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.
Matthew 9:37-38 KJV

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This article has been read 547 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Ruth Ann Moore03/12/09
Hats off to Jenny who is developing a larger world view and learning the see the needs of the lost and beyond a colourful poster.
Fiona Dorothy Stevenson03/12/09
Third sentence - you want 'border' not 'boarder'. Having said that, your story is a great illustration both of the greatness of the need, and of Jenny's finding a focus for that need. May her prayers grow until they touch more than Africa. God bless you.
Sharon Kane03/14/09
Would that more children had grannies (or grandads, or mums and dads...) like Jenny's. I firmly believe it is not only the Gospel seed that we should sow into the next generation, but a passion for the lost all over the world. What a great way to start. I loved the way the Cinderella poster came down, not that it was wrong, but it conveyed so much of how Jenny was growing up. Well told.
Karlene Jacobsen03/17/09
Very touching. I love how God works to show us His love for all the world.
Mona Purvis03/18/09
I love Grandma stories. We really have a job to do, don't we?
Good story.

Gerald Shuler 03/18/09
Jenny is obviously from good family stock. Grandma may have encouraged her to put the world map on the wall, but it was Jenny who made the commitment to do the research. Bravo to both characters... and bravo to you for writing it so well.
Norma-Anne Hough03/18/09
Touching and beautiful. Thank you Lord for granny's that pray and teach us to pray.
Chely Roach03/18/09
Wonderfully touching story. Loved the little girls heart, and the grandma's wisdom...well done.
Verna Cole Mitchell 03/18/09
I really liked your wise grandmother and the little obedient girl with the tender heart. Your story is an excellent reminder for us all to see the "people" that represent the "places."
Joanne Sher 03/18/09
Wonderful descriptions. I felt right along with your MC. Lovely piece.
Diana Dart 03/18/09
Nicely done. I liked how the mixed emotions Jenny had in the opening (betrayal, etc.) were transformed near the end.
Pamela Kliewer03/18/09
I really like how your MC's heart changed throughout the story. God has a way of doing that! :) Well done.
Laury Hubrich 03/18/09
Touching Africa - love your title after reading the story. Excellent job showing the grief of the little girl losing her beloved poster but her love and devotion to her grandma - wanting to do what she asked. Excellent job. Loved it.
Henry Clemmons03/18/09
Your message really ministered to me. I enjoy honest, clear writing from the heart.
Catrina Bradley 03/18/09
What a good story! I like that even tho she didn't like the replacement for her poster, she promised her grandma she would pray...and then she did! And not just a general prayer but she actually got out her encyclopedia so she could pray specifically.

I searched hard for red ink - very minor, but "boarder" should be "border". And maybe it took a little long to bring in the topic? (but that's probably not even relevant - I told you I searched hard. :))

I love the details, like when she climbed on her desk. A great character and a wonderfully told story that packs an important message.