Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: FOLD (10/08/15)
TITLE: The Church Bulletins
By Leola Ogle
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Faith was born with Down syndrome. Those who called her different failed to see how special her heart was. As a child, other children made fun of her and called her names. It caused her to avoid people whenever possible. Her gentle, loving nature wasn’t equipped to deal with hurtful words and unkind people.
Faith loved Jesus and she especially loved church. She wanted to serve in the church but not in front of people. When Pastor Paul suggested she could fold the church bulletins every Sunday morning – if her mother would be willing to bring her to the church early – Faith was so happy she cried.
Pastor Paul’s wife, Nora, hugged her. “Oh, honey, what a blessing this will be. I won’t have to do it anymore, Faith. Now I can be free to check on so many other things. Folding bulletins is an important job, Faith. You’ll do fabulous.”
“I’ll be a fabulous folder, won’t I?” Faith giggled.
Twelve-year-old Faith took her job seriously. She arrived an hour early on Sunday mornings. She sat in the waiting room outside of Pastor Paul’s office and folded bulletins. When she was finished, she set the stacked bulletins on the information desk in the vestibule for the greeters to hand out as people entered church.
“This is what I do for Jesus,” Faith told anyone who asked or commented on her job. She hummed or sang softly while she folded bulletins, smiling shyly whenever someone greeted her. Church was the one place where people were always kind to her.
Faith was eighteen when Pastor Paul asked to speak to her and her mother in his office. “Why? Did I do something wrong with folding?” Faith’s chin quivered.
“No, no. Of course not. It’s a good talk. I promise, Faith.”
Pastor Paul led the way into his office and motioned for them to sit on the sofa across from his desk. He set down, touched his fingertips together forming a V and smiled.
“What do you want?” Faith asked, her voice trembling.
“I told you it would be good, Faith. First, I want to thank you for your faithfulness in folding the church bulletins every week. You’ve done a fine job, never complaining, and we can depend on you. But I have another job I’m hoping you agree to do.”
“But I like folding bulletins. It’s my job. I want to fold. I like it.”
“I know. You can still fold bulletins if you want. But I would also like you to be a greeter. To stand at the door on Sundays, welcome people to church and hand them a bulletin. I see you shaking your head no, but just listen to me, Faith. You have a beautiful smile. People like you. You’re perfect for this.”
“People like me? Well, I can smile and say hello, but I like to fold bulletins. I’m good at it.”
With a bit more persuasion, Faith said she would try being a greeter if her mother could stand beside for her first time. Her first Sunday, Faith was surprised at how many people knew her name. “Well, Faith, how nice to see you this morning. Thank you for the bulletin.” Everyone said that or something similar to her.
“I help Jesus and I help people. I’m important, huh, Mom?” Faith said after her first Sunday being a greeter.
“Yes, honey, you are.”
Faith’s confidence grew. She loved being a greeter as much as she loved folding bulletins. Now she got to hand out the bulletins she had been folding for years. Folding church bulletins, a task that seemed mundane and tedious to some, brought happiness to Faith.
If you visit the small church on the corner of Adams Avenue and Fifth Street on a Sunday morning, be prepared to be greeted with a huge smile, a friendly hello, and you’ll receive a bulletin that Faith folded herself.
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