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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Beginning and End (04/16/09)

TITLE: All In A Day
By Jana Kelley


The beginning of my day finds me sitting in the humble home of Haya, a refugee from a war-torn area. She eagerly welcomes me while her teenage daughter, Lena, brings me the customary cup of cold water. I thankfully drink the whole thing. It is getting hot these days and I appreciate the refreshment, wondering only briefly if the water is filtered or if I will get diarrhoea from it. I have come to bring Haya’s family an Easter gift. I have prepared a small Easter basket with shiny confetti, candy, a Bible Story puzzle for the children, and a small copy of the New Testament. Four-year-old Ahmed snatches the New Testament and won’t let go. Two-year-old Abdu grabs the confetti and candy, squealing in delight. The two teenaged kids work on the puzzle. Everyone, including Haya, is huddled over the Easter gifts, taking pleasure in each little part of it.

Haya’s husband comes home from his work at the bakery to eat the customary eleven O’clock breakfast with his aging father. Lena prepares a tray of food and Hamid, the teenage son, takes it to his father and grand father who are sitting around the corner in the men’s covered section of the house. A few minutes later the tray returns and Lena prepares to serve the leftovers for us. Haya invites me into a room with a dirt floor that has beds against three of the walls and a small TV against the fourth. I sit on the edge of a bed while Haya sits on a stool. The tray, with the leftover breakfast, is placed on a small coffee table between us. The grey putty-like mound of dough on the tray is not fresh and the outer layer is dry and crusty where it should be soft. The tomato gravy poured over it is slimy but tasty. As I press my fingers into the crusted over pile of dough and dip the blob into the slimy red gravy, I try not to think about the fact that two men have just eaten out of the same dish with their hands and that we are eating their leftovers. Ahmed and Abdu join us, since the tray is right at their hand level. The four of us enjoy the fellowship of a shared meal together. A few minutes after the boys join us, I begin crunching on the grit that was added to the food by Ahmed’s sand covered hands. I whisper a prayer, asking the Lord to relax my gag reflex.

After breakfast Lena brings me a cup of tea and Haya shows me photos in a tiny photo album. It is her way of letting me into her life and I am thankful. I sip my tea, tickle Abdu (who giggles and wriggles), tell Ahmed he is so smart as he works on the puzzle, and watch as the New Testament travels around from Lena’s to Hamid’s to Haya’s hands. I pray that the words they read will pierce their hearts. My heart is full. I love spending time with poor people.

The end of my day finds me in the home of Halimah, a wealthy lady who invited me for tea. Tea, however, turns out to be a table laden with salads and meats and vegetables: amazing culinary delights with excellent presentation as well as taste. A maid helps her with preparation. Her children and my children are watching satellite television, playing video games and enjoying soccer in the beautiful garden outside. After eating, Halimah and I sit in the air-conditioned living room and drink tea out of fancy tea cups. I notice that there is a Bible in her bookshelf. I pray its the words will pierce her heart. My heart is full. I love spending time with wealthy people.

I am blessed to experience the hospitality of a humble refugee at the beginning of my day and a wealthy business woman at the end of my day. Both are loved by the Lord. Both have His Word in their homes. Both have filled my heart. I pray that the Lord will fill their hearts.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Joanne Sher 04/25/09
Great contrast between the two completely different worlds. Your characters (especially the first set) were so vivid and memorable. Enjoyed this very much.