Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: South America (02/05/09)
- TITLE: The Stand
By Patty Wysong
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Gloria kept an eye open for Maria, an older lady that came from another town to attend church—the service Gloria didn't go to because Sunday was her second biggest sale day of the week. Before the overcrowded bus had even come to a stop, one of the men hanging out the door jumped from the bus and jogged over to her. She scooped a double portion of meat onto a paper and handed it to him. Miguel was a regular that she had come to know and had been inviting to church for awhile.
“So, Miguel, are you going to go to church today?” Gloria asked as she poured a glass of tomatillo juice and handed it to him. She tucked the money he handed her into a pocket hidden by her apron.
He grinned as he popped a chunk of fried pork into his mouth. “Sure, I'll go if you do.”
Gloria shook her head. “I do go. I just can't on Sunday mornings. You know that.”
“And I'll tell you what you told me not too long ago. If you really wanted to, you'd find a way.” He chugged his juice then handed the glass back to her. “Gracias.”
Maria limped up as Miguel sauntered off. “He's right you know.”
“God will provide, Hermana Gloria.” A wave of customers flocked the stand, interrupting them and Maria kissed Gloria's cheek before leaving. “Hasta luego.”
Between customers, Gloria washed the glasses in a dented pail of cold water, using a soapy rag on them like she had seen the missionary lady do. As she worked, she thought about closing her stand on Sundays. When she and her husband had agreed to start tithing, God had stretched their money. Would He do the same if she were to close the stand so she could go to church with the rest of her family?
When Ricardo, her husband, returned from church, Maria was with him. As Gloria served customers she told him what Miguel had said to her.
Ricardo studied the towering mountains that surrounded them. “We need to have faith and trust God to meet our needs.” He looked over at Gloria. “We need to close the stand on Sundays.”
“Yes, that's what I was thinking too.”
Maria beamed at them. “Then I'll see you next Sunday in church. Maybe Miguel and some of your other customers will come, too.”
Gloria dunked a glass in the bucket of rinse water and filled it with juice for Maria. “I'll let him know the next time I see him.”
“Gracias,” Maria said as she accepted the juice. “I'll be praying for him, too.”
Ricardo picked a piece of pork out of the large pan and popped it in his mouth then spooned some onto a paper for Maria.
“Gracias, but no, Ricardo. I'm not able to buy any this week.” Maria pushed his hand away gently.
“This is gift, Hermana Maria.”
“I did not come looking for gifts.”
“I know. But like you said, God provides for our needs.” Ricardo smiled and took the older woman's hand and set the meat in it, then turned to his wife. “Tell your customers you'll be closed on Sundays.”
Gloria smiled. “And I'll tell them why, too.”
In the six weeks since closing the stand on Sundays, God had met their needs and answered many prayers.
Yesterday when Miguel stopped by, Gloria again invited him to church. “You told me you'd go to church on Sunday if I did. I've been going. Will you come tomorrow?”
Miguel smiled as he looked around at how busy her stand was. “I didn't think you'd do it. But I've seen the difference your faith has made in you.”
A customer interrupted them, and Miguel stepped out of the way. “I'll see you and Ricardo in the morning.”
Gloria smiled. “We'll be there!”
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