Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Missionary (10/19/06)
TITLE: The Penguin Missionary
By william price
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The Reverend Carlos Claudios placed both of his hands on the sides of the pulpit as his intense brown eyes scanned the 50 people sitting in the pews before him. He was used to preaching to thousands, but he didn‘t want to be anywhere else.
“I have never shared what I’m going to tonight with anyone outside my hometown of Mendoza. I really don’t know how to get started. You will no doubt think I’m crazy. So, I am just going to jump in. I’m with you this evening because the ‘Penguin Missionary’ is supposed to be here.”
The preacher took a moment and wiped the perspiration off his forehead.
“I have a cable right here.”
The well-groomed Argentine reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out a folded piece of paper.
“It reads, ‘If you want to see the penguin, make arrangements to preach the evening service at the Cornerstone Church in Liberty, Florida on October 29th.’. And I’ll add, you were not that easy to find.”
The visiting minister tried to muster a smile.
“Now, I bet you‘re all wondering what a ‘Penguin Missionary’ is? Back in 1985 a couple of us young pastors started praying for a real revival in Argentina. We would also go into small towns and minister to the needy. Every now and then, we would hear a story of a person, dressed in a penguin costume, coming to visit these same people and do extraordinary things for them.”
The Reverend Claudios had to stop and smile while many in the congregation laughed.
“Yes, we have penguins in Argentina. So anyway, the other ministers and I assumed at the time the ‘penguin’ was just a very creative missionary visiting our land using the outfit to minister to our needy. We never saw the ‘penguin’ ourselves, until…”
Again the speaker stopped a moment and took a small drink of water.
“Until January 25th, 1985 while sitting in a church a little bigger than this one. We just started singing when a person outfitted like a penguin waddled in and started blowing a whistle and motioned us to follow him outside. I immediately jumped up and encouraged the rest of my church to follow. He led us to a clearing about 100 meters away. It was then we felt the ground underneath us begin to violently quake, knocking some of us off our feet. A large boulder then rolled down from a bordering mountain and crushed our church building. After we started to regain some composure following the earthquake we noticed the ‘penguin’ was gone. All that remained was his costume on the ground with a note that just read, 'Liberty'.”
“The earthquake had done great damage to our city. But, God had spared our lives. It wasn’t long after, in the early 1990’s; a grand revival broke out in my country. God totally rearranged our thinking about what a church was during this time. The greatest thing about our revival was that there was no method to it. We just let the Holy Spirit have His way.”
The Reverend Claudios paused to take another drink when he let his water bottle slipped out of his hand and spill on the floor. He stood there staring at a person in a penguin suit who just came in the back of the church. Tears began to well up in the preacher’s eyes. The penguin then blew his whistle and motioned to the wide-eyed crowd to follow him. The entire congregation jumped up and made their way out of the sanctuary.
Everyone was a safe distance from the church when three lightning bolts simultaneously exploded into the structure. The building was engulfed in flames within minutes.
“What should we do,” the shocked pastor at Cornerstone Church asked the Reverend Claudios?
“Pray that God fan the flame, for revival is coming to your Bible Belt.”
“But, what about the Church, the fire?”
“Well, I’d call the Fire Department. But wait, I hear sirens now. The ‘Penguin’ must have called.”
Both men quickly turned to see if they could find the phantom missionary. But, all that was left on the ground was a black and white costume with a hand written note laying on it.
Reverend Claudio opened up the note and chuckled.
Have you ever been to Australia?
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