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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Valley (08/10/06)

TITLE: A New Family
By Joanne Sher


As Donald Minas flew in, his first impression was that the plane was descending into a very large bowl of beef broth. He had heard about the smog, but to fly right into it gave him a completely different perspective. Now he understood why this was called the Los Angeles Basin.

As his plane taxied to the gate, he closed his eyes and bowed his head.

Father, thank you for protecting me and the other passengers and for your continued presence with me on this trip.

Lord, prepare me for the work You would have me do here. Help me to seek You in everything and to accomplish Your glorious will.

As I enter this smog-filled valley, help me to find those here who are in a valley of sin, and to give them Your Good News so they can rise to the mountaintops of your grace and mercy.

And, Lord, help me to seek your guidance regarding how to share Your Gospel. I know that You often want me to use my words and Your Word, but that, sometimes, my Christian witness is a better, more effective testimony. Help me, Lord, to be sensitive to each person and situation and to be the witness You want me to be. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen

Don grabbed his duffel bag from the overhead bin and shuffled down the aisle toward the terminal at Burbank airport, heading for baggage claim. As he arrived there, he began scanning the crowd.

"Hey, Donny!"

"Jeff - how are ya? Long time no see!"

The two men embraced, ribbing each other like the old friends they were.

"Thanks for picking me up, man! I have no desire to drive in this traffic!"

Jeff laughed. "No problem, country boy! It took me a while to get used to it myself!"

Don grabbed his bag off the carousel and gave Jeff the "ok" sign. The two men walked toward the exit and to Jeff's car.

"So how is Sarah, Jeff? Haven't seen her in years."

"Doing great! All excited and hyper about the wedding, of course."

"Can't wait to see her. Hate to bring it up - but any progress on the spiritual front?"

Jeff sighed deeply. "'Fraid not. My little sister is just as Jewish as ever - her fiancée too! I've talked to her and talked to her, but she just isn't interested."

"If it's supposed to happen, it'll happen, you know. Remember what a battle it was for the Lord to bring US to Him. And we weren't half as religious as Sarah is."

"Don't I know it! But she's my baby sister, after all - and it's so frustrating to see her trying to live up to all the commandments, and go through all the rituals, when she doesn't have to."

"Maybe she just needs to hear it from someone different."

"That's what I'm hoping, to be honest. She's pretty anxious to see you. I'm praying you can get through to her."

"I'll certainly try my best. She's such a sweet kid - would love to see her join the family, so to speak."

The car pulled into the driveway of an elegant ranch style home and the men got out of the car and headed for the front door.

Knock, knock

Jeff laughed and threw open the door.

"Don't bother - nobody can hear it anyway!"

The house was aflutter with activity, people running in and out of every room, setting up for the ceremony that would be held the next day. As Don looked out the window into the back yard, he noticed the chuppah set up. He sighed.

"Oh my gosh - Donny!!" Sarah ran from across the house and literally bounced into his arms.

'Sarah! You look wonderful! How are you, kiddo?"

"So busy, and SOOOO happy! How are you? Thanks for coming! How's everyone back in Minnesota?"

"Doing pretty good. John and Phyllis say hi - said they're sorry they couldn't make it. I'm doing great - just started bible college last Fall, and I'm loving it."

"Oh, wow! You're really into that Christianity thing, aren't you?"

"Guess that's one way to put it. Love to tell you about it when you have some time."

"I think I can sit for a few minutes, anyway! Have a seat," Sarah said, pointing to an easy chair. Sarah plopped down on the floor at his feet, looking up at him.

Don prayed silently and was suddenly filled with hope.

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This article has been read 1682 times
Member Comments
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A great story, it left me wanting to know what happened next! Well written and an enjoyable read.
terri tiffany08/21/06
I loved your beginning paragraph. It set it up nicely. I think the dialogue was real. I wasn't certain about the way the final conversation was going to take place with all the hustle and bustle going on around them. But you write very nicely!!:)
Brenda Craig08/22/06
Wonderful story, and I am looking forward to a sequel to this. Great dialog, reflecting such real life. Great Job!
Linda Watson Owen08/22/06
Oh, yes! Wonderful dialogue! I felt like I was 'right there' in the place and in the moment. You have created characters whom the reader can really care about. No easy feat!! Great job!
Jen Davis08/22/06
I agree with Terri's comments about the setting of the story, but I loved the line: "Sarah plopped down on the floor..." The last line was a nice concluding sentence. You gave us enough for now; you left us with hope. Good job!
Edy T Johnson 08/24/06
You have such a delightful writing style, so easy to slip into your story, getting acquainted with your characters. My only regret, I got to the end of the story so fast!
Carol Gray09/09/06
Joanne, this was such a great story and well written, too. As someone else mentioned, I'm looking forward to a continual. I'm learning so much from your writing style. God Bless! Carol Gray
Jacquelyn Horne05/21/07
Enjoyed this read. Good story.