Her mother tried to warn her. “Brooke, you love everyone. You give your heart too easily because you’re so sweet and gullible. You need to be careful and use wisdom, honey.”
Alas, it seems mom is right as usual, Brooke thinks, as he, Ammon, turns those chestnut brown eyes on her, melting her heart into a pool of mush.
“Someday you’ll get swept off your feet by the wrong person,” her mother lamented after she agreed to go to the senior prom with the school rebel. Justin had tattoos, piercings and drove a motorcycle. Everyone was afraid of him…except Brooke. She knew he lived in a foster home, and that he’d come from an abusive situation. She just wanted to be his friend, show kindness and share her faith.
Justin was just one of many that her mother objected to. “Why can’t you like some nice, normal boy? Finding romance isn’t an evangelistic field, something you do to share Jesus. Find someone who already knows Jesus. Please, honey, or I’ll die before my time worrying about you.”
After the fiasco with Mike in college, Brooke decided to heed her mother’s advice. Mike acted interested in God and giving his heart to the Lord, but in the end, he only wanted one thing from her. Thank God her friend Courtney burst into the dorm room in time. Mike had hit her before throwing her onto the bed, his intentions evident. Between Brooke and Courtney, they managed to shove him out the door.
After that, Brooke swore off guys for awhile, concentrating on school and doing street witnessing in groups, assuring her mother that she’d guard her heart from now on.
And she meant it – until she met Ammon. “He’s very troubled,” Mrs. Clark warned Courtney and Brooke. “He’s a loner, doesn't talk much to anyone. I’ve seen episodes of violence with him, too. Such a shame, I know. He’s so good-looking, isn’t he?”
Brooke couldn’t explain why she was drawn to him. Now she was thousands of miles from home, but she could hear her mother,“Brooke, be careful.”
She couldn’t tell her mother about Ammon and what she was feeling in her heart. At least not yet, remembering her mother’s sobs when she told her about her and Courtney’s decision to go to Egypt.
“Brooke, no! Why? It’s the Middle East. All kinds of horrible things could happen to you. You can’t. I won’t allow it.” Her mother’s eyes filled with tears, fear causing her to tremble.
“Mom, I’m twenty-one. I don’t need permission, but I do want your blessing. It’s only for two months. Courtney and I will be fine. It’s an opportunity we can’t pass up. I want to do this.”
Her mother finally came around, although she wasn’t happy about it. “Take care of yourself, Brooke. I can’t help worrying about you. You’re too nice and trusting sometimes.”
Brooke hugged her, telling her how much she loved her. “I’ll be back before you know it, Mom,” she said, excitement evident in her voice.
She couldn't find the words to tell Mom about Ammon and how much she’d come to care about him. Even Courtney didn’t understand, but trusted Brooke to follow her heart. The nearer the time came to go home, the more Brooke didn’t want to leave Egypt, especially Ammon.
Years later she would tell Ammon that it was because of him she chose to stay.
“I’m amazed,” Mrs. Clark said. “No one's been able to reach him. At first we thought he couldn’t talk. Both his parents and brother and sister were killed. He was shot too, left for dead. Some villagers brought him here to us. At first, he would punch and kick anyone that got near him, then he just retreated into a shell, not responding to anyone. You’ve certainly won his heart. Just amazing how God works, isn’t it? He brings someone from America to reach the heart of a little boy.”
Brooke just smiled as Ammon approached her, a shy grin on his face. The four-year-old slipped his hand into hers, whispering, “Miss Brooke.”
She did return home. It took several months for her to make arrangements, but she returned to Egypt and the Lillian Trasher Orphanage like she’d promised little Ammon. All the children there had stolen her heart, but it was Ammon that made her decide to devote her life to the children and ministry there.
Her mother was heart-broken about Brooke’s decision, but she gave her blessing.
**Fiction, although the Lillian Trasher Orphanage in Egypt does exist. It celebrated 100 years in 2011. You can read Lillian Trasher’s and the orphanage’s amazing story on the internet.
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