Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Write in the ADVENTURE genre (05/24/07)
- TITLE: The Ascent
By Seema Bagai
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“We’re supposed to spend the day here with the Bible study classes.” I shut my journal and scrambled off the bed. Tension crept up into my neck.
This isn’t in the plan.
“Matt said we’re going. Looks like a road trip.” She smiled as she gathered her things and packed her backpack.
Where is my jacket? Do I have clean socks?
Our mission team landed in India two days ago. The four of us took two airplanes and one train to arrive in Chandigarh. We planned on spending two weeks with our sister church, discipling and teaching.
I’ve done enough traveling for a while. Can’t we just stay here?
An hour later, we packed ourselves into a van. Somehow we squeezed the four of us, Pastor Joseph, his wife, kids, and his assistant all into this vehicle that looked like it needed rest more than a road trip. Rachel and I sat in the last row, surrounded by bags, backpacks, and boxes of blankets and medicine. More boxes were strapped to the luggage rack.
Are we going to make it up a mountain with all this?
Once we left the flat highway and wound our way up the mountain, we felt every bump and crack in the road. We bounced up and down like jackhammers. I was splashed when I tried to sip from my water bottle. Conversation bounced lightly around the van, and I tried to focus on that rather than the jolts from the road.
Maybe I should have stayed behind.
As the van climbed, the road twisted and turned. Sometimes it would dip and rise like ocean waves. It felt like being on a roller coaster without any restraints. The van didn’t even have seat belts. Fear crept up inside me. I held on to the seat and tried not to look at the cliff at the edge of the road or the large tour buses careening around the turns.
Lord, please get us there safely.
The road hugged the edge of the mountain. Houses jutted from the sides of the green hills. Pine trees shaded the road from the midday sun. Above us rose snow-crusted peaks touching the pollution-free sky. After the congestion and crowdedness of the city, this part of the country was serene. The children counted the langurs lining the road, watching the parade of vehicles.
I would have missed this beautiful scenery if I had stayed behind.
Hours later, we arrived exhausted. Dozens of people met our van as it pulled up into the clearing in front of the church. Excited chattering and pointing surrounded us. We were led inside with a flurry of enthusiastic greetings. Pastor Joseph translated to us that some of the people were so excited to meet us, they had walked for hours to come down to the church. Embarrassment crept up inside me.
They walked and I complained about riding in a crowded van.
Inside the church, Matt and Sandy shared their testimonies. Our team then prayed individually with all of the people. Some were sick and needed healing, but I could see peace on their faces even in their suffering. Four people decided to accept Christ that evening. Excitement filled my heart.
I’m glad I didn’t make an excuse to avoid this trip.
That night, I curled up in bed with my journal and flashlight. While I could still feel the road rattling my bones, it was nothing compared to the joy inside me.
Lord, thank you for bringing us safely up the mountain.
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