Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: STORM (10/05/17)
- TITLE: A Wing and a Prayer
By Francie Snell
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A week had passed since news of the fatal outbreak. The pilot's first attempts at making the journey had proved futile in the horrendous weather. But now a lull provided a brief window before the next impending squall would hit. Carefully packed in boxes and stored in the cargo hold was the medicine the villagers desperately needed.
His heart rose in his throat as a down gust sent the plane plummeting toward the sharp jagged rocks looming below. God help me! Then suddenly, like a mighty hand, an updraft lifted the craft from its perilous descent. The pilot sighed with relief as he leveled the nose with the horizon, then continued, soaring across the darkening sky towards the village.
The small clan was a generous and kind people known for their willingness to help any stranger in need. He knew first hand. He had been one. Shivering in the cold arctic throes of winter, he had received warmth, food, and protection from them for which he would always be grateful.
However, these people had proved a challenge in many ways. Steeped in strange beliefs and superstitions passed on by their ancestors, they were a stubborn breed and unwilling to listen to the good news he had tried to share. A look of angry disdain filled their eyes when he had mentioned the name of Jesus.
Nome, the elder of the clan, bundled in a coat of white seal skins, waved his weathered hand towards the towering totem pole carved with many faces. “Say no more,” he said with a shout. “The gods of our ancestors watch over us. We already have spirit helpers. They will take care of us, not someone you call Jesus.” With a cold glare as icy as the air about them, the old man gestured towards the plane parked at the end of the dirt runway. He proclaimed with a booming voice. “Leave here and never come back.”
Dejection hit Jim like a slap in the face. He turned on his heels and paced back to the plane and climbed into its cockpit. The engine shuddered into motion as he turned the key. With a deep sorrow heavy on his heart, Jim took to the sky wondering if he’d ever see them again.
He shook his head trying to sort out the memories of the last visit with the Eskimos. He was going back determined to save the lives of people who had saved his, to people he had grown to love. Would they still be alive? And if they were, would they welcome him?
Colliding winds pitched the plane in different directions as he drew closer to his destination. Ice pelted the windshield, and the swirling air was getting thick with blinding snow.
After a few more miles a small clearing came into view. The runway was empty as he lowered the nose for the approach. Lord, please help me land this plane. I hope I'm not too late.
The wheels skidded on the ice as he pressed the brakes. Careening left and then right, the plane finally caught traction and taxied to the side of the runway. With a sigh of relief, Jim cut the engine and peered intensely into the white air and waited.
Emerging from out of the dense whiteness, a figure, bundled in thick fur, trudged towards him with arms waving frantically. He could barely make out the man's voice in the howling wind until he came closer.
“My friend, you have finally come,” Nome said trying to catch his breath and blinking back tears. He wiped the forming ice from his cheeks and threw his arms around the pilot. “I thought you might never come back, but I prayed you would. I prayed that you’d bring medicine and tell us stories about your friend Jesus. He came to me in a dream and I believe He is real! Please, come. Many are sick and need your help. “
Jim closed his eyes in utter amazement. “Dear Lord, thank you for carrying me safely through the storm and back to these people.”
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