Chapter II of the Parks Family

August 2, 2016

The Parks Family

The Parks Family is a novel I wrote while we were missionaries in Argentina. It reflects the culture and living conditions of many of the lower class in Argentina. The plan is to add a new chapter to the web page each week as they are being translated from Spanish to English. You can read each chapter on line. You may want to print each chapter and collect them in a loose leaf notebook.

It is hoped that, after reading each chapter, you will take time to browse through all the other articles and read some of them.

The Parks Family has a story to tell that will thrill your heart. It is hoped that you will identify with the Parks family, as though they were your neighbors, and share in the drama of their life experiences.

Chapter II

As Mary did her work she thought about the telegram that Paul was going to get at the post office. While she washed the dishes she thought about her parents back in Santiago del Estero. Could it be that the telegram had news about them? While she was washing clothes an awful thought came to her mind. What if the telegram said that Paul had been suspended from his job? (That is the way it is often done in Argentina.) “What would we do,” she asked herself, “if he lost his job?” But no, she thought, that isn’t likely. She also tried to think of good news the telegram might bear, but she couldn’t think of any. When it came time for Paul to come home from work Mary sat on a bench in front of the house where she could look down the road. When she saw him coming she ran to meet him.

The telegram was addressed to Mary so Paul hadn’t opened it. He gave it to her as they walked together. She opened it and began to read it out loud. It said, “I’m sorry to have to inform you that your grandfather died at 4:00 this morning of a heart attack.” It was signed by her mother. Mary broke out in tears and Paul stopped on the road to put his arm around her and console her.

When they got home they shared the sad news with the children. Paul wanted, if at all possible, to send Mary back home to be with her family for a few days, but they didn’t have the money for a bus ticket. Another problem they were both aware of was that there wasn’t anyone to look after the children if she was gone.

Mary remembered the many special times she had spent with her grandfather and mourned his loss. She also thought of how her grandmother must be suffering. She wished she could be there, but she knew she had to accept the fact that there was no way to make that possible.

Eight days after they received the telegram a letter arrived in the mail from Santiago del Estero. It was from Mary’s mother. When Mary opened the envelope she found two letters; one from her mother and one from her grandmother. She read the letter from her mother first. It told about how her grandfather had died and the funeral arrangements they made.

Then she read the letter from her grandmother. It said, “Now you know that your grandfather passed away on the 20th of this month. He is now rejoicing in the presence of the Lord. Almost two years ago your grandfather and I accepted Christ as our Savior and we began attending an evangelical church in the neighborhood. The people from the church have given me much consolation in these days. I miss your grandfather very much, but it is a great consolation to know that he is with the Lord whom he learned to love. Your grandmother.”

Mary’s eyes filled with tears as she read that precious letter. But, she thought, what strange words are these! She couldn’t recall that her grandparents ever talked about God. Since her and Paul moved to Chilecito five years ago they hadn’t gone back to visit her parents or grandparents. She frequently received letters from her mother, but her grandmother wasn’t in the habit of writing letters. She didn’t know much about what was happening in their lives. Her mother’s letters never mentioned that they were attending church.

Along with the letters, there was also a gospel tract. The title was, “The Way to Heaven.” Mary read it quickly and stuck it back in the envelope with the letters. She was anxious for Paul to come home so he could read the letters and the tract.

Mary was overcome by grief again as she read those letters. She thought of her parents and wished she could be with them again. She also thought of those strange word in her grandmother’s letter. “What was that all about?” she asked herself. After her confirmation, when she was 8 year old, she hadn’t given much thought to the things of God. Spiritual matters had no importance to Paul either. She couldn’t understand how religion could give consolation to her grandmother. Next week, Lord willing, we will find out more about what is happening in the Parks family.


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