Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: ZEST (10/01/15)
TITLE: The Ladies of Trinity Church
By Leola Ogle
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Drake tilted his head and stared at the ceiling. “Those older ladies are pillars of the church and set in their ways. We’re the new pastors at Trinity Church, we’re young, and I don’t want to rock the boat. Patience, Alana, patience. What does ZEST stand for again? Zany Elderly Sisters of Trinity?”
Alana chuckled. “Close, but no. It’s Zealous Elder Saintly Teenagers. It’s really corny, but kinda cute. Maggie said in the beginning they called themselves recycled teenagers and came up with that name. But now there’s no zest or zeal in that group. They meet to knit or crochet – I don’t know the difference. And, Drake, they gossip in the guise of prayer requests.”
Drake’s eyes widened and he smirked. “Well, that would be a first – gossipers in the church.”
“Don’t make fun. This is serious. Those ladies have lost their fire.”
“Then let’s find a way to light the fire again, Alana. They’re lovely ladies who have sunk into a rut.”
The next morning, Alana sprung out of bed and shook Drake’s shoulder. “Honey, I thought of something. The ZEST group meets every Thursday morning. The younger ladies all work. They can’t meet during the day, and it’s hard for them to fit in another night every week. Let’s start a bi-monthly Thursday night meeting tailored to the needs of younger women. Since the ZEST group is always looking for ways to raise money for their Money-For-Missions pledge, let’s ask them to fix a meal and provide babysitting on Thursday nights, and charge the young gals a nominal fee.”
Drake yawned and stretched. “Take that idea and run with it, honey. But right now, we better run to the kitchen to feed the kids and get them off to school.”
Alana shared her idea with Maggie since Maggie was the most open in the ZEST group. “They’ll balk at first, but I’m on board,” Maggie said.
When Alana presented her idea to the elderly ladies, there was a wall of murmuring and complaining. Maggie held up her hand for silence. “Ladies, let’s at least give it a try. It helps the young ladies and helps us. How can we say no?”
And that’s how it happened. The second and fourth Thursday nights, the ZEST group prepared a nice meal and took turns watching the children in the nursery. They did it with an attitude of grumbling in the beginning. But when those young ladies bragged on their cooking and asked for recipes, and those little children squealed with delight whenever they saw a ZEST lady, their hearts softened.
When the young ladies decided to start a Saturday morning aerobics class, a few of the older ladies showed up. When a young mother asked an older lady to be her prayer partner, other young ladies wanted a prayer partner.
“It’s perfect, Drake.” Alana could hardly contain her excitement. “Now the whole ZEST group wants to be mentors and prayer partners with the younger ladies. And some are being surrogate grandmothers for the little ones who have no grandmothers here.”
Drake’s grin lit up his face. “That’s amazing, honey. Sometimes the answer to a problem is something as simple as this. On Thursday mornings, instead of the clacking of knitting needles and wagging of tongues, I hear the ZEST group praying and praising God. They even pray over me every Thursday. I love it.”
What could go wrong, Alana thought. Then a month later Drake told her, “Today I met with the ZEST group. Kathy told me she strained her back muscles doing aerobics, Betty caught pink eye from one of the toddlers, Emma’s grandmother’s pearl necklace broke when one of the babies pulled it from her neck, and one young lady told Alma she needed a more trendy looking wardrobe.”
Alana groaned. “Oh, no. It was going so well. I guess they’re all mad.”
Drake grinned. “Mad? Not at all. They said they haven’t felt this alive in years. They were giggling like school girls. And Alma loves her new wardrobe. They’re inviting more women, young and old, to attend their meetings.”
The ZEST group was finally living up to their name.
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