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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Outgoing (05/05/11)

By Irene Patterson



"Hey, Ellen," the familiar voice of Tony, my friend and co-worker, greeted me.

"You're back. How was your trip?" I asked.

Tony reported on his business trip for a few minutes, then asked what he'd missed at church while away.

"Great sermons, of course. Also, there's a picnic coming up this Sunday."

"Good. I'll be there. What about Gloria? Any news?"

"Nothing much. I've invited her to church again, but so far no luck. She's just so shy."

"Too bad. We keep hoping and praying. Got to run. I'll see you Sunday."

It was Friday night and I was waiting for Gloria to get ready to go out. I couldn't wait to tell her the news.

"Tony returned from his business trip yesterday," I informed, thinking how nice it would be to see Gloria's charming dimpled smile.

She turned to look at me. “Well, did you talk to him?"

"Sure. Mostly we talked about his trip.”

"I wish I'd been there," she said, with a big sigh. "I love my job, but I wish I'd been at your office yesterday."

"I knew you'd want to know he's home. Are you ready to go? I'm really

“Sure, let's get going." Gloria agreed.

Arriving at our favorite cafe I saw a few familiar cars in the parking lot, and my friend Glenn's too. Gloria saw it also, but said nothing. She didn't have to tell me she was hoping Tony would be with Glenn.

While waiting for a table I looked around for Glenn, spotting him in a back booth. I didn't see Tony. I was pretty sure Glenn would come by our table, and I waved.

Our waiter brought waters and took our order.

"What are you doing tomorrow?" I asked Gloria, sipping my water.

"Housework, laundry, the usual,” she told me. “I need to prepare for next week's work.”

"Well, you have a great job," I said.

"Yes, I do. But it's just not enough. My life seems to be on hold. I finished my education, got my job, my apartment. But life feels empty,stunted, like it isn't going
forward. Do we spend our lives waiting....for something? For what? For the future? The future doesn't happen for us until we're married and have children. All that."

"Gloria,” I put my hand on her arm, “you need a new focus. I've told you about my own sense of hopelessness. But through that time, I searched for God, and He showed Himself to me. I don't worry about getting married and having a family. More than anything I want to know God better."

"It seems good for you but not for me. You're confident, and outgoing, but I have a hard time socially. I'm so afraid I might never find my special someone."

"You will, Gloria. But you must think about the spiritual aspect. It's far more important. That's The Someone you should find."

We were eating our salads when Glenn came over to our booth. He greeted Gloria, then asked me, "Ellen, are you coming to the picnic after church on Sunday?"

"I'm looking forward to it." I answered him.

I turned to Gloria. "Why don't you come with me?"

"All right. I think I'd like to.”

"Great," Glenn added. "I'm glad you're both coming. See you then."

On Sunday I picked up Gloria. "A perfect day for a picnic,” I
commented, as we drove. She nodded. Her hands were tightly clenched.

"I brought a lemon cake," I told her, hoping to distract her, as I pulled into a parking space.

"Sounds good," she said. We went in and took seats in the back pew.

"Hi ladies," Glenn greeted us. "Mind if we sit with you?"

“Please do,” I said. We looked up to see Glenn and a smiling Tony. Glenn sat next to Ellen, but Tony went around to the opposite side of the pew to sit next to Gloria.

“Hi,” he greeted her. “I'm so glad you came today. I've been hoping to see you here for a long time.”

“I didn't know you attended this church. Ellen didn't tell me.”

“I do. Love it. There's a picnic today. I hope you're staying for it.”

“Yes, I am.” She realized then, and understood, God was moving her life

Although Gloria was looking down, I could still see those dimples I hadn't seen for a while, enhancing her most charming smile.

WC 750

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This article has been read 237 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 05/13/11
This is a nice story that so many people can relate to. I liked how Ellen managed to get Gloria to church.

I did notice, near the end, when everyone was sitting in church you switched from 1st person to 3rd for a sentence or two.

The story had a sweet old fashion feel to it and it was a pleasurable read.
Noel Mitaxa 05/16/11
I enjoyed this natural description pf reaching those we care about with the gospel, and its recognition that it's a team effort.