Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: FAMILY VACATION (07/30/15)
TITLE: Bless Her Heart
By Leola Ogle
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I love my mama. For her sixtieth birthday we decided to take a family vacation – a cruise along the west coast. Mama had never seen the ocean or been on a boat of any kind. I thought she’d be excited. “Well, Rebecca, if you insist, but that money could be better used for ministry,” was her response.
“Mama, even Jesus went on cruises.”
“He did not. He went on boats and he ministered. But I guarantee Jesus will be on this cruise because I’m bringing him with me.”
That’s Mama. Everything is about Jesus. As our departure date approached, I was pleased to see she was excited. My husband couldn’t get time off work, so I and my two teenage daughters were going. My sister, Rachel, was going. Rachel – bless her heart – was between husbands so she would be in my room adjoining my daughters’ room. My brother, Ronald, was going with his wife, and twin ten-year-old boys. My sister, Rose – yes, Mama, Ruth, named us all R names – and Rose’s husband, Daniel, was going. They didn’t have any children yet.
We drove from Nevada to our departure site in Long Beach, California. Every stop we made along the way, Mama found a way to tell someone about Jesus. My daughters rolled their eyes, and my nephews giggled. Mama, bless her heart, oozed love and compassion so people tended to patiently listen to her talk about Jesus.
We got safely aboard the cruise ship and situated in our rooms, but first Mama had to pray with our porter because, “He looked so nervous. It’s his first cruise.” And Mama insisted on having a room alone because, “I have to have my prayer time. I pray loudly and don’t want to disturb anyone.”
We toured the ship and Mama kept oh-ing and ah-ing. Of course she spit and sputtered every time we passed a pool. “My, my! Some of these girls only wearing a couple of strings. Bless their hearts, they need Jesus.”
Passengers were called to an upper deck so the crew could go over rules and emergency procedures with us. Life jackets and lifeboats were pointed out. During the presentation, we were told there was over nine hundred crew from fifty different countries. Mama had her camera snapping pictures and didn’t appear to be paying attention. But, bless her heart, she was. When asked if anyone had questions, Mama’s hand shot up. “This ship’s just like heaven will be. All nations and races together.”
Our instructor smiled politely. My daughters and nephews tried to slink behind us. Mama, bless her heart, beamed like a kid eating candy for the first time.
We dined in grand style that night. Mama couldn’t believe all the food available on the ship. “You can eat all day and night if you want. My, my. And people starving all over the world. Makes me feel downright guilty.”
The next day we departed the ship on boats to spend time on Catalina Island. We rented golf carts and drove the whole island. Mama snapped pictures the whole time…and told people about Jesus.
My sister, Rachel, was a prodigal and tried to avoid Mama as much as possible. Mama was concerned with telling people about Jesus while Rachel was on a bobsled to hell. Rachel had returned to our room in the wee hours, drunk and telling me about the men she’d met. “Maybe I’ll find husband number four.”
Bless her heart, I wanted to shake some sense into her.
Two days later we docked in Mexico. We left the ship to shop and sightsee. Rachel, bless her heart, was hung over. Mama pulled me aside, tears in her eyes. “Don’t think I don’t know how badly Rachel needs Jesus.”
When the cruise was over, numerous crew members kept coming to hug, “Miss Ruth,” because she had prayed with so many of them. Even Rachel stayed sober the remainder of the cruise.
Mama. Bless her heart.
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