The Courage to Go©
Written and illustrated by De Dorman
© 2005 All Rights Reserved
This story is based on Flor Adamé Moncada Patton's testimony, who is now a missionary, alongside her husband, Matt, to Cuba.
Hebrews 13:5 "I will never thee nor forsake thee."
We all have a need to be loved, to feel safe and secure in our homes. Little Florita was no different. This seven year old girl, who lived in the city of Saltillo, Coahuila ( in Mexico) with her mamá , Grandpa and Grandma Coco, was still trying to adjust to a devastating loss that had taken place in her life. Her papí left home just as she was being born and in all the years that's past, she has seen him one time. It was as though, when he left, all that remained was an empty spot in her heart. With him leaving just as she was arriving into the world, Florita felt that she wasn't wanted. Throughout the unwanted divorce, Mamá tried to be strong for her little girl and reassure her that it was not her fault that her papí left.
One summer morning, after having a night of unrest and fear, Florita asked her mom, "Mamá , when can I see my papí ? I would feel safer if he were here." " I don't know, Querida." Turning away, Mama continued, "Tio Tico said that your papa has moved away." When Mama saw the saddened look on her daughter's face, she tried to bring a ray of hope by saying, "Maybe you'll see him soon, Sweetheart. But, remember, Grandma and Grandpa are here and your uncles...they have been so kind to us. "It's true," Florita thought to herself, "They help us so much, but why has my papi forgotten me?" No matter how many uncles she had, it would never be the same without her father at home. That hole in her heart seemed to get bigger and bigger...Who could repair such a damaged little heart? (Psalm 147:3)
It was the first day of school and Florita was so nervous. The shame of not having her papi nearby loomed over her head like a dark cloud. She tried to cover up her shame by calling her grandpa "Papí ", but the children started to ask her if that was really her father. What was she going to tell them? Would they laugh at her or tease her? She was so saddened by the whole situation and there was nothing that this forsaken girl could do to bring her daddy back home.
"Oh, if this were only a bad dream, then I could wake up and everything would be OK," she hought to herself as she walked out to the truck. But it wasn't a dream, Uncle Alberto was waiting, just like he had promised, to give her a ride to school. Each day for a few weeks he would take her to school and pick her up in the afternoons and then her other uncles would take turns. One day, Rosita, a classmate, and Florita were each waiting for their ride home. How Florita had hoped that Rosita would be the first to leave, but it didn't happen that way. Around the corner came the brown pick up truck with Uncle Alberto at the wheel. Would Rosita, who was always asking questions, want to know who was driving the truck?
It certainly wasn't that Florita was ashamed of her uncle. He was wonderful and she loved him, as well as all her family. It was just that she didn't want to talk about her papi. "Hey, Florita, is that your papi coming?" asked Rosita as she pointed to the approaching truck. "Yeh," stammered Florita as she jumped in the truck so fast that there was no time to say goodbye! She knew that lying was not the way to handle the question. Her world just seemed to be falling apart! Before long, Florita had entangled herself in a terrible web of lies! It all caught up with the heartbroken girl as she was waiting on Uncle Juanito to take her home. There were several other children waiting, too, when Tio Juanito turned the corner. "Just hurry to the car," Florita told herself. "Just hurry to the car!" But before she had the chance, Francisco yelled across the playground, "Hey, Florita, your papi's here!" Rosita, turned to look and bellowed in return, "That isn't her papi..her papi drives a brown pickup and has a mustache!" "No he doesn't," another girl chimed in, " He drives a green car." Francisco insisted that this was her papi because she told him so earlier. Before anything was determined, humiliated Florita was in the car and on her way home. She was so thankful that it was Friday! "Maybe they'll forget all about this before Monday," she silently hoped as she greeted her uncle. But deep within her heart, she was miserable. She didn't need anyone to tell her that lying was a sin, she knew. The sadness she felt for not having her papi at home was worsened by the guilt of all the lies that she'd been telling . "Who could love someone like me?" doubted a tearful little girl. (Jeremiah 31:3..."...I have loved thee with an everlasting love...") But God in Heaven, Who heard her cries and saw her need of a Father, was working on her behalf.
Saturday morning arrived and with Mama at work, Grandma was happy to watch over her granddaughter. She had prayed so much for her little Flor and had even taught her some Bible verses. Florita loved Grandma Coco (Mama Coco to her) and enjoyed their time together. "Florita," Mama Coco began, "How would you like to go to the ranch this weekend and see your cousins?" "Oh, Mama Coco, that's a great idea!" Florita exclaimed as she jumped up and down with excitement. That was her favorite place to go; not only did she get to play all day with her cousins, there were all kinds of animals at the ranch...donkeys, chickens and cows, and little Flor took great comfort in caring for them.
They were out the door and on the road in no time. Grandpa drove while Grandma and Florita watched for animals alongside the road. The trip seemed to take no time and all the cousins were thrilled to see the truck pull up! Tia Maria quickly prepared lunch for the welcomed visitors. They ate and chatted, and ate some more until a man and woman came knocking at at the door.
Hola!" they greeted as Grandma came to the door. "I'm Pastor Starling and this is my wife, Jessica. We're out inviting boys and girls to come to Sunday School tomorrow, and if they'd like, they can ride our church bus!" "Would your children like to hear a great bible story and sing some songs tomorrow?"
Mama Coco called Florita to ask her if she would like to go, mentioning the part about riding the bus, which she thought might be fun.
"Do you think it would be OK, Grandma?" Florita whispered. After all, it wasn't their traditional church.
Grandpa stepped in and answered, "You go and listen to what they have to say, then you can come home and tell me all about it!" "OK!" Florita responded as she saw Grandma nodding in agreement. None of the other children seemed interested so after giving Grandpa the time that they'd be around in the morning, the sweet couple went to another house around the corner, rejoicing in the thought of Florita coming to church.
Sunday morning arrived with roosters crowing and a beautiful sunrise coming up over the mountains. "Now what was I going to do today?" Sleepy Florita asked herself. "Oh, that's right, the bus is coming to take me to church!" she realized as she hopped over her cousin Anita and got dressed. Her stomach was a little upset at the thought of going to this new place all by herself, but somehow this little seven-year old found the courage to go.
The bus was right on time, more or less, and all the children seemed to be happy as they sang songs about Jesus. Florita didn't know any of the tunes but she enjoyed listening. As they neared the little church, Florita again became a little nervous, but the smiles of the children and the Starling couple helped her to relax somewhat. She was shown to her classroom for Sunday School and Mrs. Starling told her that she would be waiting for her after class to take her into the church service.
"This is where we hear a message from Pastor. Florita later learned that the couple had come from the United States to tell her people about the love of Jesus. "They speak pretty good Spanish for being Americans," she thought to herself.
The room was wall to wall children. It brought little Flor comfort when her teacher smiled at her. Some of the songs were a little more familiar to her, so she tried to follow along, afterwards they heard a Bible story about three crosses, but all too soon class time had ended and she was escorted by Mrs. Starling into the church service. She was so thankful that she could sit next to the nice lady. After another beautiful time of singing, the pastor came forward with a Bible in his hand.
"Before I give you a message from The Lord, let's pray and ask Him to help us." requested the pastor. With all heads bowed, he began by saying.."Heavenly Father..." These two words caught Florita's attention and caused her to sit up and listen. Mr. Starling closed by saying, "Thank You, Father, for Your great love for each of us..." "There was that word "Father" again," Florita thought to herself, "And he said that He loves "us!" She listened carefully, trying to see if this Father in Heaven loved her, too, even though she was constantly reminded about all the lies that she's been telling. How could she get rid of the guilt? Pastor Starling told the people how Jesus paid for everyone's sins on the cross and anyone could be forgiven, if they come to Him as they are, guilty and stained with sin. The invitation was given, and although Florita wanted to go forward and pray, she was afraid. After all, she was just a child, and this was only her first time at this church! What would people think? But when she heard the missionary, once again, pray, "Heavenly Father...," she thought to herself, "I want Him to be my Heavenly Father, too." So with that decision, she somehow found the courage to go forward. When the pastor ended his prayer, he saw a weeping Florita at the altar. He gladly talked with the her and he could see Florita knew that she was a sinner and needed Jesus to cleanse her from her sin-stained heart and the guilt. (Psalm 51:7) She timidly prayed a sincere prayer of repentance, ending with a heartfelt request;" Thank You for forgiving me. "Would you please be my Heavenly Father, too, and help my heart feel better?" (Hosea 14:3b "...for in Thee the fatherless find mercy...")
Florita walked out of that little church a new creature in Christ. That Monday, she confessed to the children at school what she had been doing to cover up her shame. Her real friends forgave her and, eventually, Florita forgave herself. Grandma Coco wept with joy as little Flor told her what had happened at that little church. He reached down and rescued her Florita! Her family saw a change as she gradually trusted her newfound Father with more and more of her life.
All along, her Heavenly Father had loved her, He saw her need and wanted her to turn to Him. Along with giving her the courage to go to church all by herself and go forward in an unfamiliar setting, as she grew to know Him more, He then gave her the courage to go tell boys and girls about her wonderful Heavenly Father who delights in them as well, and has a wonderful plan for their lives!
Can you say, as Florita did, that you see your need of God's forgiveness in your life? (Romans 3:23) (Romans 6:23) Do you have the courage that God gave Florita to come and ask Jesus to forgive you? (John 3:16) (Romans 10:13)
If you already know God as your Heavenly Father, should He choose to call you to a special place of service, do you have the courage to go? (allow response time)
Joshua 10:25B "Fear not, ..be strong and of a good courage.." Psalm 27:1 "The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?"