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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Love (04/27/06)

TITLE: Greater Love
By Larry Elliott


Drums in the distance sounded even more menacing by the minute.

Margaret lifted her face to Ulu one of the local women that had immediately formed a friendship with Margaret. Without speaking Ulu frowned and shook her head, still no news about Todd.

Two years previous Margaret and her husband Todd traveled with a missionary group to this small African village to help build a school which would double as a chapel. In the two short weeks of the mission trip Margaret and Todd fell in love with the people.

Back in the states neither could get them out of their mind. God had placed such a love and a burden on their hearts that soon they both agreed it was His will for them to make this village their new home and to bring the gospel to the people. Seven months ago they did just that.

Early this morning Todd set out on a fishing trip with two native boys, brothers, he had been mentoring.

The brothers returned this afternoon, pulled from the Gambian River by a man from a nearby village.

According to Kojo and Dakarai the boat they were in capsized and all three were trying to stay afloat holding to a plastic ice chest.

“It just was not big enough to keep all of us above water for long.” Kojo, the eldest boy explained. He spoke quickly and in his native language so Ulu had to translate most of it for Margaret.

“Mister Todd told us not to forget how much he cared for us and our people, but the Father God has even a greater love for us. He said that he had lived a good life and we deserved the same. He asked us to say to Lady Margaret he loves her much and not to cry because he will see her again. Then he just let go. The water pulled him under and he disappeared. We cried out to Father God to save Mister Todd. We believe He will.”

Todd had so much love in his heart for these two boys from a another culture, a part of the world so different from his own home, two people he had known less than a year that he gave up his life so they could have a chance at theirs.

As Margaret waited in Banjul for a taxi to take her to the airport she fought to keep her composure. It had been almost a week since the accident and now she was going home to Wisconsin. There would be two mothers and fathers waiting to help her grieve.

Shortly she became aware of turmoil farther up the street. Through the jumble of excited voices she thought she recognized three words, ‘clinic’ and ‘white man’.

Margaret stood and began to make her way toward the center of the commotion

A familiar face came running toward her. It was Mashudu, a fish monger she and Todd had bought from when they came to the city for supplies.

“Lady Margaret.” The man’s excitement was not helping his broken English. “There is a fisherman in town. He says he rescued a man, a white man, form the river six days ago. He took the man to his village and tried to help him then brought him to Banjul to see doctor when he became worse. I hear about Mr. Todd and think could this be him. I have been to the clinic, Lady Margaret, and it is Mr. Todd. Doctor says he will be ok soon. Come I will take you there.”

So overcome with relief and joy Margaret nearly fainted, but grabbed onto a wooden cart full of noisy chickens.

On the way to the clinic Margaret repeated the only words that would come to her, “I love you, Father.”

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This article has been read 792 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Helen Paynter05/07/06
Great story. i wonder if it is fiction? Loved the first sentence. I did find the tenses/ time jumps a little confusing at times.
Purity Snowe05/09/06
The ultimate sacrifice with a happy ending! Very well done!
Maxx .05/09/06
I got a little turned around in this one ... and in level 4 that will be a problem for you. But the underlying story is very moving!
Suzanne R05/10/06
I'm so relieved to see the happy ending! Not that such stories always do end happily.

My one suggestion ... and difficult to do in 750 words ... is more atmosphere. I'd like more descriptions, so I can feel like I'm in Africa.

Fact or fiction? Either way, it is good - well done!