Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: GET COLD FEET (10/12/17)
TITLE: The Mission
By LeslieJean Anderson
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“I want to go on an overseas mission, Mom.”
“Yeah, right,” I snorted. “Who’s the dude who talked you into that idea, Abby?”
“His name is Jesus, Mom!” wailed my daughter as she slammed the door to her room.
I sighed, and sat down heavily. Stupid teens. Ruled by their emotions, every waking moment of every day. Overseas mission – ha! What a joke.
It was Abby’s idea to go to church with her best friend Marsha. I wasn’t in favor of it, but Abby was always in a good mood afterwards. Now I wondered what was really going on.
So, the next Sunday, I announced I’d be attending church with her. Abby was clearly conflicted.
“Why now, Mom? You said you hated believers because they’re stupid.”
“Now Abby,” I said in my calmest voice. “I said I hated the way believers look down on people who are realists. And that believing in invisible things is a stupid choice. Big difference.”
Abby looked at me like I was a snake.
“See – you’re judging me, and we’re not even out the door yet! Wouldn’t your Jesus be happy I’m going to church with you?” I put my hands on my hips. “Call Marsha right now, before she shows up to get you.”
So that’s how Abby got me to go to church with her. Not a promising start, I admit. Abby ran to sit by Marsha, of course, leaving me stranded. But fortunately, her parents smiled at me and invited me to sit in front with them. I was glad, since I was there to observe the folks who were influencing my daughter.
That first service was torture. I was shocked by the loud music, the arms waving, clapping and the singing of songs I’d never heard before. Where were the boring hymns from my Grandmother’s Methodist Church?
I cringed at the rock concert atmosphere. But it seemed to answer my question about “the dude.” The music ministry resembled a rock band, with a very good-looking lead singer.
Great, I thought. My daughter is a Christian rock band groupie.
But I accepted the invitation from Marsha’s parents to have lunch at a local diner. I wanted to get some more information from them. I asked them about the music.
“Isn’t it a bit irreverent?” I asked. They admitted it took them awhile to get used to it.
“The Good News is in the lyrics projected up on the screen,” said Marsha’s mother. “That’s what kids need to hear, and that’s what sticks with them.”
Next, I asked about the handsome lead singer. Marsha’s father answered that one.
“Oh, that’s Rev. Matthew. He’s older than he looks. Married with children. His wife is one of the backup singers.”
I wasn’t fully satisfied with the trust they obviously had in their rock star, but then I asked about the “overseas mission.” Marsha’s parents gave me a blank look. I told them what Abby had said. They seemed clueless.
I would have to calm down and try to get Abby to tell me herself. Finally, she did.
“Mom – did you know my great-grandfather was a Methodist minister who’d served a mission in China?”
I nodded silently. Yes – I knew. He’d left a wife and a son – my father – to go on that mission, and died there. His legacy at home had been two generations of religious resentment.
“Well, in the attic last summer, I found a packet of letters he’d written on that mission. When he got sick there, he prayed for one of his descendants to finish his mission for him.”
“And you want to be the one?”
“Yes, Mama, I do.”
“Because he came to me in a dream, and asked me to.”
For once I was totally speechless. My first response was to get her to a therapist, quick. But I asked to see the letters instead.
All week I read those letters, again and again. I’d never seen them before, and they changed me. My heart melted at my grandfather’s eloquent testimony. And my daughter’s response.
The generational resentment finally began to crumble. But I insisted on a full year of church attendance with Abby before I would give her my permission to go overseas.
“We’ll have to go to a traditional Methodist Church, Abby. It has the same message, but better music.”
Abby jumped up and hugged me. “Oh, thank you, Mom! It has the same Jesus, too!”
750 words This is a work of fiction.
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