I have been missing in action this last week. I took some time get away for a little while. But, now I am back…here is part 3 in the story. I hope you enjoy it.
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Just a few blocks away, Lisa Miller looks around the small house that she and Andrea share and starts to think about how life has changed for them since her husband left them and moved away. Life is a lot harder now, but, she is grateful for her daughter and the new church family at Grace Neighborhood Church. They don’t attend every Sunday, but when they do go, people seem to go out of their way to make them feel at home there. She is especially glad for the time that Mrs. Johnson, the pastor’s wife, takes to talk to her and to encourage her and tell her about the difference that Jesus could make in her life. Lisa and little Susie have hit it off and are spending a lot of time together too.
She remembers the things that Mrs. Johnson has told her about how Jesus has love enough for everyone. How anxious He is to forgive us for what we have done wrong and to help set us up on the right path. Her heart aches so badly sometimes, she knows that she needs something to change in her life and her heart. She is just not sure that Jesus is what she needs. The tears well up in her eyes again and begin to roll slowly down her cheeks. She sits in her favorite window seat and cries her heart out, again. But, this time, she also turns her heart to thoughts of Jesus and wonders if He really can heal the hurts so deep in her heart and soul. A peace that she has never felt before begins to embrace her. Somehow she knows that Jesus is answering her question. She pulls her legs up to her chest and hugs them with her arms and let’s go of all of her hurts and fears. And, she smiles through her tears. She knows what she must do.
Susie and Andrea were getting busy dusting the guest room. Andrea was dusting the photos that sat in frames on the dresser. She paused to look at them and then spoke to Susie. “Susie, are these pictures of your Gram and Grandpa? There is one here that looks just like you.”
Susie giggled and said, “Oh yes, that’s my Gram Susie when she was about my age and lived in Millville. Great Grampa was in charge of a saw mill there after they moved up from Texas. Lot’s people think that is me. Grampa Johnny says that I’m the spittin’ image of her.” Susie giggled again and pointed out some of the other pictures on the dresser. “Here’s one of Grampa Johnny hugging Gram Susie after she got rescued from the kidnappers. That’s one of my favorites”
Andrea blurted out, “She was kidnapped? What happened?”
Well, Susie loved telling stories about her namesake and told Andrea all about it, she said. “One day Gram Susie and Uncle Johnny were walking and two men drove up in a car and took Gram Susie and held her for ransom. Ten thousand dollars!! Grampa Johnny and the sheriff (and everyone else in Millville) looked and looked until they found Susie in the kidnapper’s hideout in the swamp. Gram Susie was a missionary even then. She kept telling the robbers about Jesus until one of them prayed with her and trusted Jesus as his saviour. Finally, Grampa Johnny and the sheriff captured the kidnappers and took them to jail. There’s a lot more to it than that, but, Grampa Johnny is the one that tells the rest of it best. He was there, after all.”
“Here’s their wedding picture. They both look so happy!”
Andrea looked away and held her breath for just a moment, then looked back again.
“What’s this one?” she asked.
“Oh, that’s them when they took off on a big ship for Africa. They went there to tell the natives about Jesus. Here’s one of their home there. They lived there for about 30 years. That’s where my Mom grew up and met my Dad. His parents were missionaries there too.”
“Wow! Why do people go over there to be missionaries Susie? Doesn’t everyone know about Jesus already?”
“Oh, no, Andrea, some have never heard about Him at all. I’ve been going to church all my life so I have known about Him for my whole life. But, other people like the natives in Africa didn’t know about Him at all. Someone had to go and tell them so that they could learn about Him and ask Him to come and live in their hearts. Some people, even people right here in Crescent City don’t really know about Him either. That’s why we have special meetings at the church sometimes and we invite everyone in the neighborhood. I’m really glad that you and your Mom have started to come to church over the last few months. I’m hoping that you will ask Jesus into your heart too.”
Andrea stood there and looked at Susie for just a moment and then said, “When did you ask Jesus into your heart Susie. How did it happen?”
Susie stopped and thought for just a moment and then a surprised look came over her pretty little face. She screwed it up and wrinkled her nose and looked up at the ceiling for another moment and said, “You know, Andrea. I can’t remember when I did it. It must have been when I was VERY young. I have been going to church my WHOLE life.”