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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: See (07/22/10)

TITLE: Deep in the Jungle of Despair
By Lollie Hofer


The shrill yell of an elderly woman announced another fight was about to begin. Most of the village ran to the opening in the jungle in anticipation of the blood bath which was about to take place.

Monica shook her head, "It amazes me how the older women are always the first to know when a fight breaks out. Better get the medical supplies."

"Yeah, there will be bodies to stitch up for sure," Bryan said while walking towards their hut.

Few outsiders were invited to live in this area of the jungle; even fewer were able to survive the difficult jungle life. Bryan and Monica Cooper were medical missionaries who found this primitive part of the Amazon rain forest by accident. While traveling from Brazil to Venezuela, their boat had sunk on the Uranicoera River. Waiting to be rescued, they fell in love with the Yanomami Indian tribes who lived in the area. They decided to stay.

Bryan was surprised to see a fight break out. Steam rose from the jungle floor. Moisture from the humidity was catching in the large plantain leaves, dripping water on their heads as if it was raining. "There must have been a serious infraction to cause this much commotion on such a hot afternoon," he said. "I wonder what it's about this time."

"Who knows," Monica replied. "It doesn't take much to set someone off. Our work would be much easier if they weren't such fierce warriors. How far will they take the fighting today?"

When they reached the clearing, two men were already attacking one another using chest pounds. They ran as fast as they could, jumping and slamming into each others' chests. After impact, they picked themselves up to charge at full speed once again.

Realizing the men were strong and able to withstand the pounding, someone threw them machetes. Flinging machetes at each other, the men began to inflict serious injury. The older of the two men, taking the worst of the beating, had blood dripping from several wounds. Flies were already buzzing around his cuts.

Using the Yonamamian dialect, Bryan was able to piece together why the two men were fighting. The younger man was interested in marrying the older man's daughter. He made the mistake of mentioning his intentions by using the girl's name publicly. It was tribal taboo to say anyone's name openly; it was considered an insult to the person and their family.

Shouts and laughter were coming from the crowd. The more blood that was shed, the louder the people yelled.

"Bryan, will we ever make a difference in the lives of these people?" Monica asked. "They can be so loving and generous when they want to be but so blood-thirsty vicious at other times. What can we do?"

"There's not much we can do. This is part of their culture. We're not here to change their culture, we're here to change their hearts," Bryan answered.

"What will it take for them to open their spiritual eyes to see the truth of Jesus' love for them? We've been at this a long time and have only a handful of converts to show for all our years of labor."

Not able to stomach anymore of the fight, Monica walked to their hut near the main compound. "Lord, I don't know how much more of this I can take. I don't know if I can cope with further disappointments. I love these people but they are steeped in their own dark magic and spirit world, they can't seem to see the Truth of Jesus we have to offer them. I don't know what else to do, Lord. I'm ready to give up."

A couple of the younger mothers, lacking seniority, stayed at the tribal compound to care for the infants and toddlers. One mother looked up at Monica and smiled. She was their last convert from over two years ago.

Monica remembered the day this young woman was baptized. It had cost her dearly. She was pregnant at the time. After giving birth to her only child, a daughter, her polygamist husband never came to visit her again at night. She was ridiculed by the other women and considered an outcast. Yet, she faithfully attended meetings and always had a song of praise on her lips.

Monica wiped away steamy tears as they fell to her cheeks. Opening HER spiritual eyes, in that moment, she saw how precious indeed one sweet soul was worth to her Lord.

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This article has been read 611 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Tina Leonard07/31/10
Very true....one soul and the angels in Heaven rejoice. Sometimes we long to see several people get saved at our churches every time we have service, but God will reap the harvest.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 07/31/10
My minister continually reminds me if I were the only one Jesus could save by dying on the cross, He still would have done it. One soul is important. The story you told reinforces my minister's reminder that Jesus loves me that much.
Caitlyn Meissner08/01/10
Nice story. I enjoyed it. Your main characters, especially Monica, struck me as a little too calm during the fight scene. I personally would have been more upset if I seen such a battle. But I really liked the moral to this story. It is important to remember how much God cares about even one soul. Thank you. :)
Brenda Shipman 08/01/10
Realistic glimpse into the lives of missionaries struggling to see "fruit" in their ministry. Nicely told. I can't help but think this story might have been personaly experienced?
Laury Hubrich 08/02/10
This is a good missionary story. It would be hard to keep up hope. Very good message.
Sarah Elisabeth 08/02/10
An awesome reminder of what someone once told me and I often repeat, "It's not about the numbers." Yes, we want to reach the whole world for Christ, but for each individual we reach, we are changing THIER world forever and on to eternity.

Great job on writing this!
Colin Swann08/02/10
A good realistic story that could very well be a true. Reminds us that missionary work is not as glamorous as some would hope for. Friends of mine were missionaries in Tiawan - very difficult!
Genia Gilbert08/02/10
Well written and a really good message. I like the title and the way that despair is overcome by seeing as God sees. Wish we could all do that more often.
AnneRene' Capp08/03/10
Not only was this fascinating seeing the missionary field through the eyes of the missionaries with a precious message indeed, it was perfectly "real".
stanley Bednarz08/03/10
You wrote this with with a sense of expertise as a missionary, and if not it means an even greater job creating a believable atmosphere, and delivering a strong message.
Verna Cole Mitchell 08/04/10
You gave the reader an excellent insight into the culture here, and, more importantly, into the heart of the missionary. Well done.
Mariane Holbrook 08/04/10
With two older sisters who were missionaries for many years, you can imagine how involved I became in this story. A terrific entry. No kidding!