Rodric Anthony is a writer of fiction and nonfiction. Creating new stories and seeing where they take him is his passion.
"Okay, Google," Hiriam commands his phone. "Open Snail Mail."
"Opening Snail Mail letter dictation app," the phone confirms. "Say "Start" to begin letter dictation."
"Okay, let's get this going. Start."
Dear Elder Smarts,
So much happened yesterday that I don’t know where to begin. I got your letter and pictures today in the mail. The pictures came just in time to present at Family Home Evening. Boy have you got skinny! I thought the people in South Africa love to feed the missionaries? All that muscle gone—what a waste. Just kidding.
I decided that I will send off my mission papers early. I figure I will be close to finishing my mission by the time you get home. I wonder if I will get my papers back within a week or so like you did.
Anyway, after church yesterday, well... During church yesterday, I went for a walk to the pond. Now before you get your name tag all twisted, I went to meditate about sending off my papers so early. When I got to the lake, I saw this girl fall in the pond, and I went in after her. I was so scared I didn't know what to do. I took her to the church, and she got a blessing and was sent to the hospital. Last I heard she was awake but in a daze. She wouldn’t speak for no one.
Keep her in your prayers if you can remember. I am fine, though. I will catch up with you in the next letter.
P.S. No one knows her name.
Hiram commands the phone to have the letter printed and packaged for mail. Not being one for writing, he appreciates the new app for his phone to print out letters ready to send through snail mail. Hib's in an area of South Africa where he can only get physical mail, and Hiram couldn't wait to communicate to his big brother about the girl.
“I am actually doing this,” he says to himself out loud. “I am going to serve a mission and leave early.”
In an attempt to make the decision real, Hiram repeats the same thing twice. “I am actually doing this. I am Going to serve a mission and leave early.”
Nothing. No feeling of peace. No extra reassurance from God his decision is the correct one. What's wrong? Is something wrong? Thoughts.
Why isn't he having the same experience Hib had when he decided? Hiram pushed Hib into their pool right before Hib decided to give up two football scholarships in order to serve a mission through the Church. Florida State was one of the options! His dream university, no less!
“You were so angry that you wanted to kill me, man,” he says out loud, a pleasant smile on his face. “You got me talking to myself too, Hib.”
Why do I love going to the pond when we have a pool, comes a random thought. Pools are much safer than the lake... ur.. pond.?
“God,” pleading Hiram addresses the Creator of all things about the troubling issue of his mission papers. “I don’t know what is going on. I decided to do as the stake president suggests and turn in my papers early, and I get no confirmation from You.”
“What am I supposed to be doing? Do you want me to serve You on a mission or not? I need to feel something.” Nothing.
“Okay, I will be patient. All I got is time, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.”
Words left his mouth, but the heart... The heart is not sure of what to think. Heber, Hib--his brother--taught Hiram that he could gain confirmation from God about his prayers if he asks with faith and real intent to do something with the answer.
"You remember Moroni taught that we can get a witness from the Holy Ghost about anything," rush memories of Hib's words into Hiriam's mind.
"Yeah, yeah... I hear y'all say that all the time. I know..."
"Hiram, just trust and ask God. I did. If He can answer me, He can give you your own witness of what's true."
As much as he believes Hib, the memory frustrates him about his current predicament. Serving as a missionary is the best decision for him since nothing else grew to fruition, with no athletic or academic scholarships awaiting him. Not that comparing himself to Hib troubled him. Hib put aside his dream of playing at FSU to serve the Lord.
"What am I willing to give up," Hiram asks himself.
"God," he continues lifting his eyes to the sky. "Why is it so hard to get an answer this time to a prayer from You? Is it because I use the pronouns wrong? Should I say Thee instead?".Nothing.
Irked, a little, Hiram apologizes in his head for taking out frustration with a diety. God speaks always, his parents taught him. Heck, he had experienced answers from God on multiple occasions! Why such a tease now? Hiram graduated high school early and saved up most of his mission costs.
This girl, though. As much as he tries to stop her from occupying his thoughts, each time a free moment opens, in she pops!
Her beauty haunts him, uncomfortably. Never has he felt so drawn to a person, not even closest friend as to her now. His closest friend disappeared.
“Wow, why is the girl in my head?”
"There's a girl in my head and I wish I was dead," sang brightly out of his mouth-hole, escapism at work through a little dark humor.
"There's a girl in my brain driving me insane--insane in the brain!"
"There's a chick on my mind and she's one of a kind," joviality turning to the truth. It is not his nature to lie, even to himself.
It's not like the answer escapes him. The girl is in his head because of his attraction to her. right. Hiram's problem with the situation multiplies exponentially by his determination to serve a mission and deflect notions of his connection to her.
"My goal is my goal," he swats mentally at the buzzing thoughts.
Missionary service can not be hampered by an infatuation with a girl! Thoughts, romantic thoughts hideaway under the surface of his skull. No. The thoughts are not necessarily romantic, but an attraction exists.
Thinking back to how delicately she felt in his arms, it made him feel ten times stronger!
"Aw, (expletive)," he spits before he could swallow the word.
“Yeah, and I'm pretty strong,” conversant with himself. “Not strong enough to hold in that word. I am going on a mission, though. This must be hell I'm going through right now. I can lock my heart. I bet she doesn’t even believe in the Church.”
It makes sense to him. Anything that distracts him away from his mission is of the devil, right? Feelings for this girl must be a test from God to see if he will choose to serve a mission or get involved with a... What? She might even be a harlot as far as he knew!
Cold, dark feelings follow his thinking. Embarrassment lets him know his train of thinking goes in a wicked direction, offending the God he claims he wants to serve as an ambassador to the world.
"She ain't no THOT," chuckles out of his mouth remembering something he heard in school. "That hoe over there... That's a stupid thang to say." Again, he distracts himself, thinking aloud about mindless things.
"Shouldn't it be TWOT, that whore over there anyway?"
Shame rises again to think he spent time trying to justify Pop cultural phrases that he does not use--at least in recent history.
That face! Leeching through the walls of differentiation, the image of her face rivetted his heart as a peaceful sensation fills his soul.
“I don’t know what that is about, but I cannot be distracted,” he bows his head and positions his body to pray, almost doing a dance as he bounces up and down perplexed by what action to take.
Passers-by take notice of the thumping stud of a boy standing outside the hospital talking aloud to himself, the Bishop's boy. Why would he go there to check on her if she provided no distraction from his mission goal? He spent the entire time there dictating his letter and praying—not caring if people could see him. No one wants to pay attention anyway.
- Woza Moya Ongcwele Chapter Three
Is it the Jane Doe in the hospital room that Hiram should focus on or the missionary papers on his dresser at home. One seems to be calling, while the other seems...
- Woza Moya Ongcwele Chapter One
Woza Moya Ongcwele, translation from Xhosa to English, Come Holy Spirit. This story is about, Hiram. a boy who finds a girl but not the way you would expect. This is the first of a number of stories about how God works to help him do some good.
© 2016 Rodric Anthony Johnson
Ann Carr from SW England on November 10, 2016:
You're welcome. If you want to make it deliberate you have to somehow establish that in the story with the speech. I know what you mean but, as you say, if you don't explain then it distracts from the reading.
Still well done though!
Rodric Anthony Johnson (author) from Surprise, Arizona on November 07, 2016:
Thanks BlossomSB. I appreciate your encouragement and interest. The next one is coming soon.
Bronwen Scott-Branagan from Victoria, Australia on November 06, 2016:
I enjoyed reading this, it moves along and holds the attention. I'll look forward to the next instalment.
Rodric Anthony Johnson (author) from Surprise, Arizona on November 06, 2016:
I made the changes Ann. I so appreciate you help! I am in the process of writing a memoir. I self-published it a year ago but took it off the market for editing and restructuring. It was a mess. I have the first edition of it, and it reads too much like a journal. My new version is based on an editing consult I received. Your review of my hub reminded me of that, and I appreciate the feedback. The good thing about this place is that I can change my work instantly.
I have been doing so much writing I have cut down on reading. Thanks again, Ann.
Rodric Anthony Johnson (author) from Surprise, Arizona on November 06, 2016:
Thanks Ann. I noticed the mistakes; I made them on purpose. It is not very clear I see, though. Hiram is supposed to be a 17-year-old body who is not concerned with grammar and such, but I think I should change it. If it distracts away from the story, then it is bad for business.
Hiram writes the way he talks, but that is not been established in the story yet because the first installment is on another webpage: http://wordscantsaytoomuch.blogspot.com/p/woza-moy... I did not include the link because each time I due the hub is considered substandard.
My intentions were good, but it did not work out. I did not give all of the background of the story yet. I did not reveal where they live until way down in the story. I did not develop this as well as I should have. Maybe I put the letter in the wrong place. I did not establish that the letter is the only way he can communicate with his brother. Because the first story is not on Hubpages, all that follows is confusing.
Thanks for helping me see this.
Ann Carr from SW England on November 06, 2016:
This is better than the first one; you've polished things up. Just a few things:
a typo I think 'them mail' should be 'the mail' shouldn't it?
'I got them just in time to present at Family Home Evening using them.' This doesn't quite make sense to me; maybe you rewrote and forget to delete one bit?
'I decided that I will send off my mission papers early. I figure I will be close to finishing my mission by the time you get home. I wonder if I will get my mission papers back within a week or so like you did.' - I think it would be a good idea to have fewer 'missions' here; I'm sure you could think of a way to get round the repetition.
'ten times stronger that what he is.' - She made him feel ten times stronger than (not 'that') he (no need for the 'what') was (keep the past tense).
Hope you don't mind me picking up on those few things. They don't, however, detract from the read and from the good standard of writing.
Do you proof-read at least twice? I do, but I still miss things!
Great story; you've got me intrigued!