Mary pleated her skirt between her fingers as the phone rang on the other end. Five, six, seven times. She nearly gave up and disconnected the call when the phone clicked and a woman’s voice, a bit breathless, said hello.
A slight pause before the other voice answered. “Speaking. Who’s calling, please?”
Mary frowned. She was sure she had an appointment to talk with Brenda about helping David raise funds for his missionary work. “Mary Divers. I’m David Kline’s friend?” She was irritated with herself for adding the question inflection after David’s name. Perhaps this had been a mistake, but Brenda had been most insistent in setting up a phone interview after Mary had completed the paperwork.
“Oh, Mary Divers.” A silvery little laugh tinkled into Mary’s ear, and she had a fleeting impression that the woman was laughing at her. Brenda continued, “I’m so sorry. I lost track of time and didn’t realize it was time for our chat.”
“That’s okay. I thought you had forgotten or something.”
“No, of course not. It’s wonderful you want to help David raise his funds. So generous of you, although it is for such a worthy cause.”
“It’s the least I can do. David’s the one who’s really making the sacrifices.”
“True. But we at Bringing Christ to Latin America know how vitally important securing proper funding is. Without the money, the missionaries can’t effectively bring the Gospel to those poor heathens in foreign countries.”
A stab of pain pierced Mary’s heart at those words, so similar to her parents’ own philosophy in their infrequent letters. These Amazon River tribes desperately needed their guidance and words of spiritual wisdom or they would perish in hell for all eternity. Mary was being selfish to want them to drop their important work and visit her. No, if Mary came to visit them, she could possibly undo—unintentionally, of course—all that her parents had done over the past years.
Mary’s own faith grew out of a desperation not to become like her parents, Christians who put God’s work above even family. She believed firmly in God, in Christ as her precious Savior. But she had long ago vowed she wouldn’t abandon her family, her children, to hare off to a foreign land in some misguided attempt to bring Christ to those who didn’t believe. Of course, now that her next birthday would mark her exit from her thirties, children were unlikely to be part of her future. But she shoved that thought back into the vault, where the hurt from her parents’ neglect was stored.
The irony was that her parents showed no genuine love for the Amazon River tribes they proclaimed to serve. Her mother derided their primitive living and bemoaned that after years of living among them, they had yet to convince them of the superiority of American ways of doing things. Her father peppered his few letters with Christian platitudes for every imaginable situation. Every one of the letters smacked of self-serving sacrifices.
Brenda sounded like someone who thought like her parents. Mary reminded herself firmly that David was different. David had the right heart and the right attitude to really make a difference in Peru. And if helping David meant working with Brenda, then Mary would have to get over her initial distaste. She squared her shoulders and took a deep breath. “What do I need to know to help David raise money?”
Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. Phantom Love is copyrighted and cannot be used in any form without permission from Sarah Hamaker.