The Missionary
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"Ah, weekend," 19-year-old Emily Hicks said to herself one Saturday morning in April. "Tomorrow I'll have to study, but today, it's time for some fun!"

Emily was a full-time student in her sophomore year at the University of Maine, where she was pursuing a bachelor's degree in Professional Writing, and this week had been the week from hell. She had had three tests earlier in the week and a paper due yesterday. She wanted to scream. Today she felt better, but she was still feeling the lingering effects of her week. They weighed on her shoulders like the heavy books she carried to class every day. Fun was just what she needed to make that feeling go away.

Her idea of fun was to walk the university's campus, picking up coins in the dorm parking lots while checking out the day's activities, such as area high schools visiting the campus to see a play or to participate in an academic competition. She often fantasized that maybe she might find enough money to move out of the apartment she was currently renting and buy a house in a nice safe suburban neighborhood. "I know that's not realistic, but a girl can dream," she often told herself. She decided that today she would put on a T-shirt and sweatpants and go for a walk. That way, maybe she might get closer to her dream. Then she looked out her living room window and quickly changed her mind.

The sky was dark. It looked almost dark enough to be evening, but it was only 10:00 a.m. As dark as it was, it could begin storming at any time, and Emily knew that if she were stubborn and decided to go out despite the weather, she would be risking her own safety. Then, just as she began arguing with herself that she would be fine, she would only be gone for thirty minutes at the most, and a storm could not possibly be bad enough to be dangerous, she heard the storm warning sirens go off. She knew then that she was in for the day, so she fixed herself a cup of hot cocoa, picked up the James Patterson book that she was currently reading, and then sat down in her red bean bag chair to sip her cocoa, read, and listen to the storm. She had just opened up her book to pick up reading where she had left off when she was startled by a knock at the door.

Who on Earth could that be?, she wondered. She was not expecting any company or any packages from UPS, and she thought to herself that whoever was on the other side of the door must have some pretty important business to take care of to come out in weather like this. Cautious, and slightly annoyed, she closed her book, stood up from the bean bag chair, walked to the door, and opened it. Standing there in the pouring rain was a Baptist missionary. He was dressed in a suit and carrying a bible.

"Good morning, ma'am," he said. "My name is Kevin Davis. I'm a missionary from West Side Baptist Church. I'm inviting you to come worship with us, and I'd like to pray with you today." Emily felt conflicted about what she should do.

Part of her wanted to say, "I'm sorry. I'm not interested" and turn the missionary away. After all, she had been raised a Roman Catholic. Other Christian faiths also believed in God, but each one differed a bit from Catholicism. Emily did not want that kind of conflict in her life.

Also, she was not very religious. She went to weekly Mass and said a prayer every night before going to sleep, but aside from that, she devoted her time and energy to activities that were not religious. She wrote and published on her blog every day, read a chapter every night in the bestseller she was currently reading, ran, and listened to Top 40 music almost constantly.

Another part of her, however, was concerned for the missionary. Here was a man who was just out doing God's work. If she turned him away and then heard later on the 6:00 news that he was killed in the storm, she would never be able to forgive herself. She would live with that guilt for the rest of her life. With that in mind, she knew what she should do.

"Come on in," she said. "Get in out of the storm."

"Thank you," he said, stepping inside.

"We should get away from the windows," she said. "Follow me." He followed her into the kitchen, where she opened a door and led him carefully down ten steps to the basement.

"Have a seat," Emily said, opening up a folding chair for him so he could sit down. Then she opened one for herself and sat down across from him. "Can I get you anything?" she asked.

"Oh, no thank you," said the missionary. Emily then got herself a soft drink from a case of soft drinks left over from a Christmas party she had hosted and then sat down with her guest.

"So what made you want to be a missionary?" she asked, as the wind howled and the rain fell softly on the roof.

"I wanted to help people," he said. "I've had jobs before, but they didn't give me the same good feeling that I get from my mission work. I got tired of feeling like a number and tired of worrying that I might get fired. Now I work for God, and I'm happier than I have ever been. What are your plans for after college?"

"I'm a Professional Writing major," Emily explained. "I hope to write for a literary magazine."

"If you'll join my church and do some mission work with me, I'm sure you'll get some great story ideas."

"Oh, no thank you," Emily said. "As a full-time student, I've already got a full plate, and I get plenty of ideas by being on campus every day. Besides, I'm Catholic."

"Oh, I'm sorry," Kevin said, suddenly feeling uncomfortable.

"No, it's okay," Emily said, praying that the weather would clear up so that this man could leave and be on his way.

Then, God must have heard her prayer, because all of a sudden, everything was quiet and calm. Emily and the missionary looked at each other and frowned, not sure if they were hearing correctly. They listened and heard nothing but stillness. Then they stood up and went carefully back upstairs, where they could hear better and look out the windows.

There, they saw that the storm had stopped. The pavement was wet from the rain, and debris was scattered all over. Emily's neighbors were outside, checking for damage to their property, and children were splashing in puddles. The missionary smiled, and Emily breathed a sigh of relief.

"Well, I think it's time for me to move on," Kevin said. "Thank you for letting me come in out of the weather."

"Glad I could help," Emily said. The missionary then said a prayer, asking God to bless Emily and watch over her. Then he said goodbye, stepped outside, and was gone.

Emily thought about her encounter with the missionary and decided that she still preferred her secular, non-religious life to a religious one. She did not want to be a missionary, nor did she want to join Kevin in traveling the country to preach the Gospel. She had always liked organizations like March of Dimes, Easter Seals, and Toys for Tots, however, and decided that one day really soon, she would research these organizations and pick one to get involved with. She realized that it would help with her writing if she got involved in something. She smiled to herself, happy with her decision. Then she fixed herself a cup of hot black coffee, sat down, opened up her laptop, and got busy on her new story.

Works Cited

Creative Writing Now. Even more short story ideas.

A missionary visits your character's house and attempts to convert her to his religion. Your character is trying to get rid of the missionary just as storm warning sirens go off. Your character feels she can't send the missionary out into the storm, so she lets him come down into her basement with her. This is going to be a long storm...

2009-2015. William Victor, S.L. 18 April 2016.


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