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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Park (10/25/12)

TITLE: Transformation
By Fiona Stevenson


Clarence looked from the elderly man at his side to the dilapidated building surrounded by overgrowth and rubbish.

“This is the place you wanted to show me?” his raised eyebrows posed the question.

“Yes, Pastor, this is the place. I know it doesn’t look much now,” his voice was apologetic, “but time was when it was a good place, and although it will take quite a lot of work I hoped I could interest the young people to get involved and – you know – make it into a sort of play park for the little kids.”

“Hmmn.” Clarence kicked his way through the scrubby growth as he made his way to the side of the building. Swiping cobwebs from a window he tried to peer through the dirty glass. “Who owns it? Or, at least, who has a key? We need to find someone responsible for the place and see what we can work out with them.”

The old man cleared his throat. “I don’t really know. I think it was a sports club of some sort, years ago, but I don’t know who is responsible or who has a key. Do you think the Town Offices might have something on record?”

“I’ll get Jack to do some digging and see what he comes up with. In the meantime why don’t you put a plan together that we can discuss with the church elders, and maybe get the youth leaders along too.” His look was direct. “They will want to know your special interest in the matter, too.”

The old man nodded his head. He seemed nervous. They walked back to the car parked at the roadside together. Clarence dropped him off in the town centre.

At the meeting some days later the old man was welcomed expressly by Doug. Doug had introduced him to salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ and persuaded him to come to the church. Now he introduced him to those men he had not yet met, and in particular to Steve and Jamie, youth leaders in the church.

Finally the time came when Pastor Clarence invited him to tell the group of his interest and what he saw of the possibilities, briefly explaining that Martyn had approached him some time earlier.

Martyn wasn’t quite sure where to start.

“I suppose I have walked passed that place hundreds of times without noticing it. But one day something made me look at it quite carefully and it was like looking back at my own life. It too was a mess, and like that it is no use to anyone. I thought I would like to see it cleaned up and perhaps made into a playground for the kids, but I can’t do it by myself. It reminded me of all the times I have tried to change my life, clean things up and do what is right, but I just couldn’t seem to do it. I was a slave to my bad habits. I was also a slave to nicotine.”

He held up his hand. The stains on his fingers bore testimony to what he said.

“Doug knows what I was like. But until he told me about Jesus Christ and what he could do in my life, it was just hopeless. But now I have turned my life over to Jesus. There is a lot for me to learn, and still many changes to be made. Doug is helping me to clear out the rubbish, reading the word and praying with me. I am no longer a slave to nicotine. But he is not just leaving bare ground. As we clear a bit, Doug, Pastor Clarence, and many of you even though you don’t know it, are planting good things in. In my life things are changing and I am becoming useful again. When I walk passed that piece of ground I know that we could make a difference. I cannot do it by myself, I need help. But ...”

He paused, reaching into his pocket, taking out a folded paper and a set of keys.

“I had some money put by. I found out who owned the property and I have bought it. Now I need your help. If you will help me, by the grace of God we can turn that rubbish tip into a safe play park for the children.”

He sat down, waiting. Pastor Clarence stood.

“This is an interesting proposal but first we need the counsel of God. We need to pray.”

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Member Comments
Member Date
Laura Hawbaker11/03/12
Good story. I liked the double meaning to the title, transformation of the old man's life and transformation of the dilapidated property. Seemed like there was a few too many characters to keep track of: Clarence, Martyn, Doug, Jack and a few more. I find it distracting to a story if I have to stop and figure out who everyone is. Maybe that is just a problem with my easily distracted mind!
Karen Pourbabaee 11/07/12
I too like the symbolism of transformation here and find it refreshing to read the story of the old man who desired to pay it forward.