Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Missionary (10/19/06)
TITLE: NEVER GIVE UP
By Debbie Roome
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“It’s hopeless.” David slumped against the thorn tree, weary eyes scanning the horizon. Every morning, the yellow ground was a little more baked, a little more shrunken. A helpless victim of relentless heat and drought. He cast his eyes down to the village. Familiar clusters of mud huts, surrounded by patches of shriveled and blackened corn, Behind them, the snaking river bed was now a sludge of brackish mud.
“It’s hopeless God.” He bit out. Twelve years he had lived in this village. Twelve years he had served them day and night, pouring his heart and energies into the work. The price had been high, the rewards few. Just last year, his beloved Jeannie had succumbed to malaria. “Don’t give up, Davie.” She had urged from her death bed. “Don’t give up. God will answer in His time.”
He adjusted the brim of his hat. Six AM and already the glare was making his eyes water. “It’s hopeless, God,” he said again. “I can’t do this anymore. Their hearts are too hard towards you.”
From the valley below, David spotted a small figure running towards him. He couldn’t be sure, but it looked like Jabu. Jabu with the polished, ebony skin and straight, white teeth.
He straightened his back. “How can I tell them God?” he enquired of the heavens. “Must I tell them I no longer believe in miracles? That I don’t believe you can save them from this drought? That I’m going back to the States to build my own life?”
The figure drew closer and he could see it was Jabu. He would miss him. His spunk and lively nature. He was one of the first babies Jeannie had delivered in the clinic. A difficult breech birth, but mother and child had survived.
He turned his attention back to God. “Why are these people so stubborn and set in their ways? Why do they continue calling on their ancestors and seeking guidance from witch doctors?”
Jabu was scrabbling up the hill now, leaping over small rocks and hanging onto tussocks of dried grass to pull himself up.
David stretched and started slowly down the slope to meet him. Jeannie’s words were hammering inside his head. “Don’t give up, Davie. Don’t give up.” But he was giving up. He would gather the village elders this morning and tell them of his decision.
Jabu was bursting with excitement. “Mr David. The chief sent me to call you.” He paused, trying to get his breath. “He say I must tell you he wants to pray to your God. He had a dream last night. Your God told him he will send rain, but first, he must pray to him.”
David stood frozen. Ashamed. Humbled. He had given up, but God hadn’t. Jabu tugged at his hand. “You must come now. Chief wants to pray to your God.” David looked down at the village. The people were assembling, glistening ebony bodies undulating and drums beating a call.
“I’m sorry, God.” He whispered. “I’m sorry for my stubborn heart and unbelief. I’m sorry for giving up. Thank you for this second chance.”
Jabu tugged his hand again. Smiling, David squeezed it in return. “Let’s go Jabu. My God is going to do miracles today.”
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