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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: This Side of Paradise (not about the book) (07/14/11)

TITLE: Skuffer's Mission Field
By Lisa Keck


Growing up in Newport Beach, California the living was easy. Hank, “Skuffer” Jones was the typical teen-ager. He hung out at the beach as often as possible. He had gotten his name from his grandfather who took him to Sunday School and taught him everything he knew about Jesus. Grandpa Hank lived in a modest home in Santa Ana but his daughter had married an ambitious investment banker.

Skuffer had given himself his nickname. He loved skateboarding and surfing. His personality was a mix of his father and grandfather’s influences. He let his hair grow long which his father approved of. Just because he had to be straight laced and clean cut to be taken seriously as a banker didn’t mean he couldn’t appreciate the freedom his son was expressing. But Skuffer didn’t put money and the pursuit of it on a pedestal like his father did. He valued the faith his Grandpa Hank had encouraged him to develop.

After high school, he had a choice: go to the college of his father’s choice or set off on his own. For graduation his father took him on the trip of a lifetime to Australia. It was a surfing vacation, since his father still loved surfing. There’s no doubt that Australia has some of the best beaches and best waves, which are perfect ingredients for a surfer. The sixth most populous city in the country, Gold Coast City is located in the southeast corner of Queensland and is renowned for its sunny subtropical climate, popular surfing beaches and the canal systems. It’s the 70km of beaches and four epic point breaks (The Spit, Main Beach, Narrowneck, Palm Beach and Mermaid beach) that made people call it, the surfers’ paradise.*

It was a great time for father and son to bond. It was also the time that Skuffer realized he’d have to break that bond. Early in the morning, before his father woke up, Skuffer would spend time reading his Bible and praying. Like his grandfather, he was very concerned that people were too comfortable here and they needed to take the things of God a bit more seriously. Death would come to each man, Grandpa would tell the neighbors, and then it would be too late. Man needs to make a decision for Christ while he still has breath. On the last day of vacation Skuffer sat on the balcony of his hotel the sun rising in more brilliance than he’d ever known.
Something within him cried out that his grandfather was right but was going about it all wrong. People needed to see the light. They needed to see the beauty of Salvation and the promise of eternity in Heaven. Before ending his quiet time he prayed for strength to tell his father, who said he was a believer but only went to church when it was convenient.

“Actually son, I do understand.” Skuffer’s dad took another sip of his coffee as Skuffer let out a sigh of relief.

“You do?”

“Yes. I’ve always known you had a bit of your grandfather in you. In fact I admire your faith. Sure it’s a bit disappointing that you don’t want to join my investment firm but I won’t stop you if you feel this is what you are supposed to do. Let’s hit the waves.”

Skuffer hit the waves while his father watched from the beach. He mulled over the idea of his son surfing the world and telling others about a better paradise waiting. He took in the beauty that surrounded him and stopped to pray. It was an awkward prayer. He was used to asking for things but this time he was asking for God to become more real to him. He wanted the faith his father-in-law and son had. He wanted assurance that paradise was waiting. When Skuffer came in from surfing, his father had a surprise for him.

“Son, I know it seemed like I’d cut you off financially unless you went to college but I’ve decided to fund this mission trip of yours. It’s something you really believe in and with your charm I have no doubt you’ll be able to share your faith with anyone. You’ve opened my eyes. I’ve decided to go to church regularly and I’m going to start reading my Bible."

“That’s great Dad. Thanks. I’m glad we came to this piece of paradise.”

*10 of the World’s Best Surf Spots: HotelClub Travel Blog posted by Alex Ion July 18, 2008

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Member Comments
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Juliette Chamberlain-Bond07/24/11
It's not always about what we say, but how we live our lives. Skuffer's decision to reject personal wealth in order to evangelize obviously made the right impression on his father.

Well written, and an enjoyable read.
Anita van der Elst07/25/11
I enjoyed this well-written story. I liked how the MC could appreciate the paradise God made on earth at the same time he was developing a love for bringing folks to a heavenly paradise.
Noel Mitaxa 07/25/11
Great profile of your characters and how they interact. As an Aussie it was nice to have our own Surfers Paradise (nice play on the topic) brought into the story. I also enjoyed how you portrayed God's grace working through the whole piece.
Linda Goergen07/26/11
I really enjoyed this story but to be honest I felt midway of the third paragraph, that I was taken from the story into a commercial break to promote Gold Coast City! To me, all of that information about “surfer’s paradise” was not relevant to the story and in my opinion, instead detracted just a like a commercial does!

But that aside, your story had strong, likable characters whose intertwining life-choice stories made a good read showing how our life-choices can and does affect and testify to others! We should all remember that as we go about our lives, so your story gives a great message!!
Kim Hamlin07/27/11
Great story and a wonderful reminder that the witness for Christ can be any age and the audience is sometimes the parents!