Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Extra (08/29/13)
TITLE: A Lesson for Life
By Janice Kelley
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The city was large, bustling, noisy, congested. The dwellings came in every size, shape and color: mini skyscrapers, cement block cubes, walls made of wooden pallets, cardboard shacks with a blanket for a door. Traffic zig-zagged through the intersections with a cacophony of sounds assaulting the ears. Cars, trucks, jeepneys, motorcycles, rickshaws, bicycles, pedestrians, dogs and other varied animals completed the confusing scene.
This was home to Cal and Connie. Well, really it was their home away from home. They were born in the United States of America though Cal moved to the Philippines with his parents when he was just a small lad. He grew tall and strong as the years went by, helped his parents with their mission work as he vaulted through his teens, then returned to the States to attend Bible college. There he met Connie, fell in love, married and together they committed their lives to returning to the island of Mindanao to tell the wonderful story of Jesus. Two little boys had come to bless their family. Cal had a wonderful way with the Filipino people, was loved and respected and listened to. The years flew by and Cal and Connie were seasoned missionaries, busy with their work and busy with their boys. They were pioneering a new outreach ministry on the northern coast of the large island. With Cal’s parents beyond retirement age, he had just been made director of the large and vibrant mission work on Mindanao. Life was very good.
Cal left home one bright, warm, sunny Filipino day on his motorcycle. He had an errand to run before an important meeting that evening. At a busy intersection a jeepney, decorated in bright colors, loaded with many people and a few animals, hit Cal’s bike. Sirens blared and a crowd gathered. Police came. There was no rush for Cal’s sake. He had taken his final journey to the other side of earthly life. Someone was dispatched to tell Connie that her husband of twelve years was dead, that her two little boys no longer had a daddy to hug, romp with and instruct them.
The accident was unquestionably the fault of Manuel, the jeepney driver. In the Philippines, under these circumstances, the person at fault goes directly to jail….and that’s where Manuel went. His family, too, was without a husband and father that night. Two homes filled with family and friends, tears flowing freely, anguish filling their hearts, children crying for their papas. Two wives spent sleepless nights wondering what the future held for them and their children.
So quickly life can change. Connie had so many decisions to make, so many preparations to complete. But before Cal’s funeral she had one very important errand. Connie went to the jail where Manuel was being held and pleaded for his release. She told the authorities she did not want to press charges, she wanted Manuel to go home to his family. When she was allowed to see Manuel he told her how sorry he was and asked for her forgiveness, but Connie had already crossed that bridge and told him so.
The story might have ended there: two traumatized families going their own separate ways. But it didn’t. Because of the concern and forgiveness Connie had shown Manuel, Manuel and his family sought out the church family of the man whose death he had caused. Manuel’s entire extended family began attending the very congregation that Cal had begun only a short time before. Manuel and many of his family accepted Christ as their Savior and became faithful workers in the Kingdom of God. Manuel had seen the love of God through Connie and now he not only felt her forgiveness, but the forgiveness of God. Jesus said so long ago, “If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles." Connie went the extra mile and led an entire family to their Savior.
Matthew 5:42 NIV
Based on a true life event.
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