David: Did u visit the Bringing Christ to Latin America website yet
Mary: Yes. How did you hear about them?
David: A friend recommended the group to me when I first began thinking about becoming a missionary.
Mary: What kind of a friend?
David: Ah, do I detect a hint of jealousy in your words?
Mary: Depends on whether the friend is male or female.
David: And if I say female?? What would you say?
Mary: I’d ask how old the female was.
David: What if she was twenty-something with long, blonde hair?
Mary: I might disconnect our chat.
David: No, no, please! I’m only joking.
Mary: Whew. I’m glad I won’t have to miss our conversations.
David: You seem different tonight.
Mary: Must be the herbal tea talking. Those rose hips can certainly make you want to let down your hair. J
David: LOL. I like this new you. Dare I say it’s a tad flirty?
Mary: What can I say? The sun was shining today and the afternoon was particularly glorious.
David: Wait a minute. Were u talking outside to your tenant?
Mary: Now why’d you have to bring up Jared?
David: Sorry. Got a bit carried away in the moment. I solemnly promise I will not let his name or any allusion to him pass through my fingers for the remainder of our chat tonight. How’s that?
Mary: That’ll have to do. Now about that friend…
David: I was hoping u had forgotten that topicJ. One of my friends, male!, knew someone who had joined Bringing Christ to Latin America and brought the group to my attention. OK if I abbreviate it to BCLA?
Mary: No objections. My fingers thank you. J
David: So I checked them out. Very strenuous application process. I wasn’t sure I’d make the cut.
Mary: I saw the requirements on the website. Makes sense to be rigorous in the selection process. I imagine work on the mission field is no picnic.
David: I’m sure you’re right. Now about your generous offer to help raise funds for my missionary work in Peru.
Mary sucked in her breath as she read the words. Would this be the time he politely told her he didn’t need her help? She hoped not. She liked the idea of helping him in a tangible way.
David: The Holmes, the missionary couple currently in Peru, need to come back to the states ASAP because of Mrs. Holmes’s health.
Mary: I saw their photos on the website, but didn’t know it was that serious.
David: She was diagnosed with some sort of heart disease that can be easily managed with medication but she shouldn’t continue doing the physical work.
Mary: I guess living there isn’t as easy as living here.
David: There’s no running water in their cottage. She has to go to the pump in the yard for all their water and then boil the water before using it. It’s taking a toll on her health.
Mary: What does that mean for u?
David: The Holmes have agreed to stay until I can arrive to take over their ministry. What would normally be a year-long process is being condensed into six months.
Mary sat back, her fingers poised over the keyboard as she considered her response. Just getting the visas alone took six months sometimes, a missionary had told her congregation last year.
Mary: Can you get a visa that quickly?
David: BCLA knows some people in the Peruvian government who can speed up that process, but it comes at a higher cost. The main concern is raising enough money in time.
She thought back to her calculations. Forty-two thousand dollars was a lot of money to raise in six months, especially since most missionaries had to visit lots of churches and educate people about their work in order to get sponsors.
Mary: How are you going to do that?
David: I’ll tell you if you were serious about helping me.
Mary bit her lip, tamping down the fissure of doubt that raised its head. For the first time in a long time, she was enjoying herself with a man, and she didn’t want to lose that feeling. If she didn’t help him, he would likely not have a reason to keep in touch with her, as he would be extremely busy visiting churches and fundraising. If she helped him, she would be able to correspond with him for longer.
Mary: I don’t know how I can help.
Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. Phantom Love is copyrighted and cannot be used in any form without permission from Sarah Hamaker.