Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Missionary (10/19/06)
TITLE: Meal of the Week
By Joe Moreland
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A missionary? Whatever. I had a lot of real problems that were much more interesting than listening to some guy talking about building toilets for some villagers in South America. My dad was dead, my mom was an alcoholic and my life and attitude were both a mess.
The only reason I even came to church every Sunday was because a bus wound its way through our slum of a neighborhood once a week and picked up those of us who were desperate enough for a free lunch to drag ourselves out of bed on a non-school day. What did I care about some guy helping people thousands of miles away? Let him come to my neck of the woods, then I might care what he had to say. Maybe.
The man spoke on and on for a while, until I finally found myself stifling a yawn. My Sunday school teacher finally leaned over.
“What’s the matter? He boring you?”
“Pretty much,” I replied with a grin.
He suppressed his own grin and went back to listening to our guest. I looked around at the other kids and saw they were all engrossed in his tales of natives and wildlife. I tried to listen for a while longer, but found myself thinking how those villagers’ lives seemed pretty good compared to mine.
After class, we went into church service, where I, once again, yawned my way through a boring sermon, and then on to lunch. The whole reason I came every Sunday. Lunch at Calvary Baptist was the highlight of my week. My mom didn’t cook and so I ate a lot of macaroni (without the cheese), peanut butter sandwiches and popcorn. Once a week, though, I got a hot meal that included not only a main entrée, but also vegetables (which I thought were unnecessary, but ate anyway), milk and even dessert.
When we had finished lunch, we got on the bus and headed back to our homes. Every week a couple of adults accompanied us on the ride home and spoke to some of the kids. This week my Sunday school teacher was one of them. He sat quietly next to me for a while.
“So, what bothered you so much about the missionary today?” Was how he started our conversation.
I shrugged my shoulders. “I dunno.”
“Don’t you think it’s great how he helps those people in South America?”
“You don’t have to go to that far away to help people.”
“Hmmm. That’s true, I guess. But that place is where God has put him.”
I shrugged my shoulders again. “Okay.”
“So…how are you doing?”
“Fine, I guess.”
“Are you going to camp this summer?”
“Yeah, right. As soon as my mom gets her Mercedes out of the shop.”
Smiling at my poor attempt at humor, my teacher had a ready reply. “You know, you don’t have to pay to go to church camp.”
I didn’t know. “So?”
“So, there’s horseback riding, canoeing, swimming, baseball, basketball, archery and a whole lot more.”
“Sounds okay, I guess.”
“So can I put you down? Your mom will have to sign a permission form.”
“We leave in two weeks,” he said pulling a form out of the folder on his lap. “I’ll have a list of thing’s you’ll need to take with you at Sunday school next week. Bring this back, signed by your mom, then, okay?”
With that he got up and moved on down to sit by another kid. Soon he had that boy engaged in a conversation about going to camp as well.
I sat in my seat, clutching the form to my chest as though it was a precious treasure. Apparently God sent missionaries to lots of places. Some closer than South America.
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