Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Sport or Fitness (02/15/07)
TITLE: Results Guaranteed
By jean Clarkson
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Margaret sat up on the edge of the bed, her head still foggy with sleep. While she pulled on her sweats, the questions surfaced again.
How are we going to do this? How can we do Apples of Gold with only three mentors? We had such a good team for the young women in the church program. Now we can do it at the Mission, but most of the mentors can’t come.
Pushing her problems aside, she went into the living room and clicked on the television. On the screen, Denise Austin stood on a sunny beach in a snappy little shorts outfit.
“If you’re still on that couch, come on - get up! You’ll feel better when we’re done,” Denise urged.
Margaret agreed. She felt a lot better after she started doing the exercise program six months ago. The results showed on the bathroom scale and in the way her clothes fit. Joe even commented on the change.
“You will have more energy for the day,” Denise said.
Margaret knew that was true too. Some days she wanted to stay in the warm bed, but knew she felt better when she got up and exercised. She focused on following the steps in the workout and tried to forget her worries. After the cool down, she turned the television off.
In the kitchen, she fixed a pot of coffee and warmed her hands around the mug. In the daily devotional, she read the scripture, Revelation 7:7.
“See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.”
The words spoke directly to her heart. Thinking of the open door at the Mission, she prayed, “Lord, this is either your program or it is nothing.”
The answer came quickly. “It is My program. Get on with it!”
Fully awake now, she decided to make this an exercise in faith. She would get the word out, then trust God to bring women to mentor the class. Whenever worries surfaced, she handed them to God and reminded herself to exercise faith.
The responses came one by one. Sally stopped her in the hall, recalling her Apples of Gold class. Her face lit up when she heard about the Mission program.
“I want to do that!” she said, offering to teach the lesson on Loving Your Children. Jane signed up at the display in the church lobby. Alice called to say God woke her up in the night and told her to sign up.
Within three weeks, a team of eight women formed with two more on a waiting list. Margaret thanked God for each of them when they met at the Mission that first morning. They divided up lessons and duties, each taking a share. They would make the little Mission church warm and welcoming for women who came to the class.
Nine women from the neighborhood arrived the first day. During introductions, they talked openly. One told about her twin sons, both in prison; another about her daughter’s difficulties.
“This is all new to us,” Margaret told them. “We usually do the class in someone’s home.”
With a shy smile, Tiffany said, “We’re glad you came to us because we couldn’t have gone if it was someplace else. Most of us don’t have transportation or money for bus fare, but we can walk to the Mission.”
The women came each week, enjoyed the cooking demonstrations and participated in Bible study and discussions. The team worked smoothly, setting tables, leading Bible studies and serving lunch. They sent the women home with recipes and ingredients, uplifted spirits and hugs.
A few months later, Margaret stopped to talk with a young friend at church. He told her how upset he was to be off work with a heart problem and might never work again. She promised to pray for him and opened her Bible.
“Let me tell you about this exercise program I’m doing,” she said, pointing to the verse in Revelation. “It gets results!”
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