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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Huh? (01/21/10)

TITLE: If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen
By Sharon Kane


It was to be the trip of a lifetime – a gap year – his chance to see the world and do his bit to save humanity.

The planning was meticulous. He got a temporary job, saved his money, took a language course, and organised flights, injections and visas. His travels would take him to three countries. In each one a missionary was waiting to host him, opening the door for him to help some of the neediest people in the world.

He left his final Sunday service at his home church with 'We'll miss you', 'We'll be praying for you', and 'Do keep in touch', ringing in his ears and buoying up his spirit. Two days later amidst hugs and tears he said good bye to Mum, Dad and girlfriend Clarissa. Then he was airborne, setting out on his great adventure with God.

He recorded his exploits in his journal:

Wednesday: Landed in Nhungue, my home for the next three months. The heat hit me as soon as I stepped off the plane. How do people survive here? Bill and Karen were waiting for me and they insisted I rest though I told them I can't wait to get stuck into the work. Missing my folks already. Who'd have thought it would be so hard being away from home? Must have spent an hour on the phone to Clarissa. Oh get a grip man, you're not a quitter!

Thursday: Spent the day as close as possible to the electric fans. In the evening (slightly cooler, mercifully) I walked to the church youth group with Bill and his son Clive. He's only 13 but he's OK. Got chatting to some local lads, Alex and Ronnie. They're around my age and swell guys. And they speak English – big bonus! Played skittle ball which really got the sweat pouring. Bill led a Bible study on 'walking the walk'. He's a great man of faith. There's no way I could dig nearly that much out of the Bible. Have I just made the biggest mistake of my life? I feel I have nothing whatsoever to offer here. These young people are so open to God. They make me and my mates back home seem positively worldly. Phoned Dad and told him I don't think I can stand this much longer.

Friday: Mum phoned Karen who then chatted with me and calmed me down. She said she and Mum had agreed I should give myself ten days to adjust. Ten days! It seems like an eternity but I'll try. Bill showed me around the town centre – a dusty, dry, dilapidated dive. I got a local line for my mobile. Paid a 50 note that's only worth a quid. How weird is that? It was 100 degrees in the shade. I almost collapsed in the street. Thankfully Bill saw my puce colour and found a café with air con where we sat and got rehydrated. Back home I told Bill and Karen I want to leave. I can't hack this. The heat is unbearable and God's not in when I call. They say I can do it, but I feel like I'm trying to run before I can walk.

Saturday: Morning: chilled out – make that 'melted' – in town with Clive and some church youth. We'd planned to play basketball, but the ball was flat and no one had a pump. Afternoon: joined Karen and the worship group in their practice for tomorrow morning. I actually enjoyed it. I even knew some of the songs from back home. These people just love to worship God! I feel such a wimp for leaving, but I had no idea mission was so tough and I know I'm not up to it. I went on the Net and found a direct flight home from here on Monday morning. I booked it. I'm sure everyone will understand this is not the place for me.

Sunday: Church was fun! It was fascinating to see how another culture worships. Afterwards Alex, Ronnie and I went and played footie. I'll miss these guys. I promised to keep in touch by phone and Facebook. Bill and Karen seemed a bit shocked when I told them I'm leaving, but there's nothing to be done now.

Monday: Bill dropped me at the airport. I said goodbye to the toughest week of my life. I'm out of here. God can send someone else to evangelise this hell-hole.

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This article has been read 584 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Patricia Herchenroether01/30/10
A far cry from the ending I wanted, but probably the more realistic one. I'm sure this happens more often, crushing idealistic thoughts of third world mission work.

I didn't see the topic, but enjoyed the story.
Beth LaBuff 02/01/10
After reading your hint, and already knowing this was true, yeah, this doesn't surprise me, I can see this happening (pretty sad).

(But people can change, grow up, it may take awhile.) There's always hope.

I liked discovering what each day held for the boy. I even had to smile at times. :)
Celeste Ammirata02/01/10
I enjoyed the truthfulness of this. He'll know when he's ready to try again. And at that point, he'll be ready. God Bless all His missionaries.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 02/01/10
I can't imagine how tough your job is. Thank you God, for loving, caring missionaries.
Carol Slider 02/02/10
Wow... I can only imagine how frustrating this must have been for you. I wonder how many young people this happens with? We hear so many stories about the "mission field," but little emphasis is placed upon the physical discomforts involved. And I'm sure that talking about it in advance is never the same as experiencing it. Good realistic story--I admire you and your husband a lot!