Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Missionary (10/19/06)
TITLE: The Relunctant Missionary
By Venice Kichura
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Becca pulled the frantic little girl to her side. “La mamá es venida,” she said, reassuring Mamá would come soon and pick her up. Running her fingers through Marisa’s thick, matted black hair, she mused, She’d better be here soon…And her regular teacher had better be back next week.
She’d been hesitant to even fill in for even a day, and now she’d just finished her third week as an inner city daycare teacher. She felt displaced, like a fish out of water, and wondered how she’d ever agreed to substitute. She remembered how her husband had told her, “Just think of yourself as a missionary.” But a very reluctant one, she sighed.
She peeked out the window. Why can’t these mothers be on time? Pickup was fifteen minutes ago. Another five minutes and I’m calling Marisa’s mamá.
As hard as she tried, Becca couldn’t relate to these poor inner-city refugees. Growing up on a twenty-acre farm in the Florida panhandle, she grew up in church, not having a clue what it meant to be lost. In college she’d fallen in love with a drop-dead gorgeous Cuban ministerial student who’d felt called to start a storefront church and daycare center in south Miami’s “Little Havana”.
A pregnant woman who couldn’t be any older than twenty years old finally lumbered up to the door, a dirty toddler clad only in a diaper, tugging at her side.
“Mamá!” Little Marisa squealed, running up to her mother.
“Arrepentido para es tarde,” the woman rattled off, apologizing for being late.
Becca started to lash out, You think you’re the only busy woman? Instead she held her tongue, forced a half-smile, and mumbled, “Just don’t be late, again.”
“That’s it. I’m outta here,” she said, flipping off the lights and locking the door.
Thank God, it’s Friday. If the regular teacher doesn’t come back by Monday, Juan’s just going to have to find another substitute. When I said “I do” I don’t remember signing up for this.. Why does everyone think the pastor’s wife can wear all hats? Don’t even understand these people; my Spanish is rusty….. I share Jesus with the kids but I’m not getting through...…I hate this huge, congested city….Feel inadequate as a pastor’s wife….. Much less a missionary.”
She wanted to drive straight home but had promised Juan she‘d drop off food at a homeless shelter. Hmmm, I think I know how to get to that part of town…., she thought, studying the address. But her heart raced as she glanced up at the darkening sky. Her sense of direction wasn’t that good, especially at night.
Driving down the highway, she rehearsed the speech she’d planned for weeks…“Juan, you know I love you. But I’m slowing dying here. I need to get away. It’s not like I’m leaving you for good….But I need a break…Not sure where I’m going, but I have to get out of Little Havana before I they come for me in those little white coats…And, I’m not a missionary!
Consumed in her speech, she suddenly panicked, not recognizing her surroundings. Where am I?!
Hysterical, she drove around in circles in the dark for an hour, lost somewhere in “The Twilight Zone.” Her anxiety skyrocketed as she noted her gas tank was nearing empty. Then she brightened, spotting a patrol car parked on the side of the road.
She drove up and asked the policeman, “Can you direct me to the homeless shelter at 800 SW 12th Street?”
“No problema, señora…. I help you” he said in broken English, trying to calm her. “Follow me. I take you there and lead you back.”
Stunned the officer was willing to go out of his way to help her, she broke out in grateful tears, “Muchas gracias, señor!” Then muttered under her breath, “You don’t know how scary it is to be lost…”
“But I do, señora I was lost but kind mission pastor led me to Jesu,” he said, reaching for his pocket New Testament.
“I’m a believer, too, but I didn’t know what it meant to be lost. Until now.”
Hands lifted upward, Becca bowed her head and silently prayed Have your way, Lord. I’ll be your missionary.
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