Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Vines (11/21/05)
TITLE: The Typewriter
By Lisa Graham
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“I dread Sunday School,” Mamie confided.
Rachel almost dropped her cup. “You’re a preacher’s wife . . . how could you dread Sunday School?”
“My teenage class is difficult to teach,” Mamie sighed. “They get bored and restless. We don’t have a classroom, so, we’re forced to meet outside, which easily distracts them . . . the boys comment on cars and the girls complain about the heat! You know how it is . . . you teach high school English.”
“What’s your teaching method?”
Mamie shrugged. “I just read to them.”
Rachel groaned. “No wonder they’re bored! Teenagers are into rock-and-roll, sock hops and drive-in movies!”
“I don’t know how to hold their interest . . . I feel as though I’m entangled in vines of hopelessness.”
“The Living Word provides freedom from the bondage of hopelessness,” Rachel declared. “Let the teens read scriptures aloud . . . ask how the message applies to them . . . they’ll begin to see that the Bible is relevant to their lives. Share how God has touched your and Reverend Carter’s lives . . . personal testimonies are powerful illustrations.”
Mamie resolved to take Rachel’s advice.
On Sunday morning, the class assembled, talking excitedly about the football team’s latest victory.
“It was really cool when you sacked their quarterback,” Tommy slugged Jimmy playfully.
Joyce giggled. “Yeah, then Jimmy tripped over his own feet.”
The class laughed. Mamie gathered her courage. “Today’s lesson is on prayer . . . have you ever prayed for something special?”
“My prayer is to meet Marilyn Monroe,” Raymond grinned.
“I would just die if I met Elvis,” swooned Reba.
Tears welled up in Mamie’s eyes. “Lord, please give me the words that will reach them,” she prayed silently, and then spoke, “God answers prayer in amazing ways. For example, I really needed a typewriter to prepare the church bulletin. Typewriters are expensive, but I kept praying, and one day Reverend Carter brought one home!”
“Where did it come from?” Joyce asked.
“Hope he didn’t steal it . . . it’s not cool for a preacher to steal,” Richie guffawed.
“Reverend Carter repairs cars to earn extra money, and . . .”
“I wish he’d hop up my Chevy,” Jimmy interrupted Mamie.
“Your pile of junk doesn’t need a mechanic . . . it needs a miracle,” Curtis declared.
Mamie continued. “A man needed his car repaired, but he didn’t have any money . . . guess what he offered Reverend Carter as payment? A typewriter! God heard my prayer!”
Joyce raised her hand. “I believe God answers prayer. During the war, we prayed every night that my daddy would arrive home safely . . . and he did!”
The class grew silent. Many had prayed the same prayer. When the class time concluded, they departed, deep in thought.
Years passed. The teenagers grew into adults, married and had children. The Carters moved on to other churches and Joyce began teaching Sunday School.
One day, the Carters returned to visit church services, for the first time in forty years. The once vibrant couple was now frail and gray-haired. The story of the typewriter had influenced Joyce’s life, and she debated how to express the depths of her feelings. After church, the Carters would be surrounded by people, and she might not be able to speak with them, however, shyness made the idea of sharing before the congregation frightening to her. Teaching children was one thing, but speaking before adults was another. What should she do?
Services concluded with prayer, and the current pastor asked if there were any announcements before the congregation was dismissed.
Timidly, Joyce rose to her feet. “I’d like to share something . . .” her voice faltered. She prayed for courage and began again. “Years ago, in my teenage class, Sister Carter told us about how she desperately needed a typewriter. They couldn’t afford one, so, she prayed, asking God for His help. One day, her prayer was answered!” Tears streamed down Joyce’s face. “The seed she planted grew into vines of hope that encircled my heart. I’ve taught Sunday School for more than thirty years, sharing her story with each of my classes. I just wanted her to know that forty years later, her example of faith, through prayer, is still spawning vines of hope among our children.”
There wasn’t a dry eye in the congregation.
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