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Previous Challenge Entry
Topic: Beginnings (05/31/04)

TITLE: The Awakening
By sharron pete


I am alone, on a plane, bound for a new land.
Everything familiar, friendly, and comfortable is becoming a mere dot small and slowly disappearing as clouds fill my view. Sitting, surrounded by people, none of whom look like me, I pray to God for peace and assurance. Closing my eyes, tilting my head backwards and resting it upon the seat, I am confident He has given it to me. Starting something new is never easy, especially in a foreign country.

At the ripe age of 22, I found myself crossing the Atlantic Ocean, bypassing Eastern Europe, skipping over Africa and landing in India. Relying on my faith in God and His sheer goodness, I accepted an internship with an Indian software company for a period of four months. As the plane makes its dissenting approach, my mind rewinds to the many conversations I had months earlier with my parents. “I just don’t understand why you have to go so far away,” my father would say. “But dad, this is a great opportunity. And it will look good on my resume.” It’s true this adventure of sorts would be a great opportunity for me and would no doubt enhance my resume to companies that were touting the importance of international work experience. But if there is such a thing as a ‘spiritual’ resume that outlines previous faith-testing experiences, my time in India would easily surpass the ‘one-page resume rule’.

When I look back over those months spent learning new customs, meeting new people, and navigating through a strange land, I realize that my time in India represented more than just an adventure or resume filler. It was a new beginning, in more ways than one.

Prior to this time, God and I had been walking pretty closely. Somewhere between freshman orientation and college graduation, I realized that being a Sunday-morning Christian just wasn’t enough. God required more of me. He and I began a fellowship that grew and through it I was blessed with friends, health, peace, and a lovely hard-earned document that hangs over the mantle now. During college, God and I were on a roll and I thought our relationship couldn’t get any better. Of course, I was wrong.

The first step in my new ‘beginning’ was remembering to lean not on my own understanding, but to acknowledge God in all my ways and let Him direct my path (Proverbs 3:5-6). My new ‘beginning’ came when I realized that it was really time to ‘walk the talk’. Greater than that revelation, was the fear associated with walking it alone. I’m reminded of two paths, one straight and narrow, and the other wide. Being a Christian is not always easy, but prior to my time in India, I never had to be one alone.

As the only proclaimed Christian in my new household, I found myself getting hit with a barrage of questions. I was by no means an authority on Jesus or the Bible, but I sought answers in God’s Word and relied on Him to fill the gaps. My ‘awakening’ as I have termed it, led me to seek ways to bring others to knowledge of Christ. It was challenging and given the circumstances, I often felt that my words had little or no influence. But my job, as I have now realized, was not to grow the fruit, but to plant the seed.

In that instance God was using me to create ‘beginnings’ in others by helping others to see Him through me. I prayed then as I pray now that by my example I can help plant the seed that will create a new beginning for someone else.

Member Comments
Member Date
Marie B. Corso06/07/04
A good piece. Two small suggestions: When dialogue changes between people, start a new paragraph (as in the conversation with your father).
I think the 3rd paragraph should have been the beginning: At the ripe age of 22.
Also, space between the paragraphs. It makes it easier to read. And I think you have the wrong word: a plane decends.
And let's have more specific experiences about your time in India.
Dian Moore06/07/04
Sharron: This is a powerful testimony. I agree with the above comments on form (though I think it should be descending), and I really would like to learn more about your time in India. These sentences, specifically, touched me: "It was challenging and given the circumstances, I often felt that my words had little or no influence. But my job, as I have now realized, was not to grow the fruit, but to plant the seed. "

Well done.
L.M. Lee06/08/04
In that instance God was using me to create ‘beginnings’ in others by helping others to see Him through me...that should be the prayer each of us ask everyday.
Gary Sims06/08/04
Sharron - good article. I like the idea of the pathway of a Christian being wide - arms wide and embracing, reaching everyone we can with His love instead of small and inobtrusive. Isn't it easier to be a Christian when you are with a bunch of other Christians? Being alone is a great challenge.
Deborah Porter 06/09/04
Wow Sharron, what a huge step to take and what an experience! Good on you for following the call that God was whispering to your spirit.

Apart from the need to break up the lines with speech as mentioned by Marie, my one critique would be regarding the tense in the opening two paragraphs. It seems to switch from present to past, back to present and then back to past again. It was a tiny stumbling block. I think it would have been better to stay in the past tense, i.e "I was alone on a plane ..", "I prayed to God ..", "Closing my eyes, I tilted my head backwards .." etc. It would just smooth out the flow. But other than that, it's wonderful. Very inspiring. With love, Deb