Friday Fiction: "Maybe God Doesn't Know Tenek"

It's Friday! That means it time for Friday Fiction. Be sure to go to Joanne Sher's blog Open Book for more great stories. If you wish to join the fun, add your name to Mr. Linky directing others to a story on your webpage.

Here's an excerpt from the story I'm writing based on the life of Fernando Angeles. He lived in a little village in eastern Mexico, where they spoke Tenek. His first introduction to God was through Catholic mass in Latin and Spanish catechisms.

Maybe God Doesn't Know Tenek

“Nando! Get up, Boy!” Tata shook his shoulders.

Nando blinked into the sparkle of a sunbeam squeezing through the bamboo poles.

“Nando, catch some chickens for your mother before you go to the church school.”

Nando’s eyes popped open. Oh yes! I’m going to school today! He remembered that Padre Louis and some of the holy sister teachers had come to the village. He would be going with Manuel and Alberto this year. He would learn Spanish! He wouldn’t have to work in the fields with Tata. He was going to school!

After stuffing a tortilla in his mouth and gulping a half glass of milk, Nando followed Manuel and Alberto to the center of the village, to the white washed walls of the church. No other building was as nice or strong as their Catholic church.

A few weeks ago, the men of the counsel had been preparing for the arrival of the new priest. The whole village helped. They raked the roads and filled in the holes with cracked rocks and dirt. Senor Raul headed up a crew to build an outhouse, for it would not be right for a holy man to use the forest like an ordinary person. Nando and Angel and Roman were assigned the job of painting the adobe walls of the church. They all got a licking the day they had a paint battle and wasted a lot of it. It took them a whole week to finish the job, but Nando thought it was most beautiful building in the whole village.

All the chattering and teasing of the children ceased as they entered the big wooden doors. They stopped inside with awe and reverent fear. Even their whispers and soft footsteps echoed in the large room. A shaft of sunlight penetrated the shadows and made the golden crucifix on the wall glow.

Nando couldn’t take his eyes from the statue of the body on the cross. Manuel told him it was Jesus, the Son of God, who died for the wickedness of the whole world. Nando jumped when a man got up from his knees in the front of the church. He didn't know someone was already there. The man was wearing a long robe with a blue sash around his shoulders and big gold cross hanging from a chain.


A few boys repeated the greeting. “Ola, Padre.”

“Buenas Dias.”

Nando looked from the priest to his big brother, who seemed to understand this strange speech. Manuel continued the conversation for a few minutes.

What are they saying? Why don’t they talk Tenek like everyone else?

The whole morning was long and confusing to Nando. The priest chanted a string of strange words from a big book. He waved his hand from his head to his chest and then from one shoulder to the other. The priest urged them to do the same.

After that, one of the holy sisters talked to them in the strange speech, asking them questions and having them repeat the answers. Nando tried to repeat the sounds that he heard, but he didn’t know what he was saying. Finally, the long morning was done. The priest read from the big book again and waved his hands over them, before letting them go home. Nando shouted with relief as they rushed through the open doors, back into the sunshine and voices that he understood.

“Manuel, why does the priest and the holy sisters talk funny?”

“They’re talking Spanish, silly!”

“Do you know what they’re saying?”

“Most of the time. Sometimes, I forget the words, but I want to learn it. That’s how they talk in the big cities.”

(picture of Tenek children
being taught the Gospel by Christy Angeles)

Each day, for a whole week, they went to church school. Each day, one of the holy sisters asked them questions in Spanish.

“Quen te hizo?”

Nando whispered to Manuel, “What did she say?”

Manuel cupped his hands around Nando’s ear. “Who made you?”

The children who had been there before knew the answer she expected. “Dios me hizo,” they chanted in unison.

“Manuel, what’s that mean?”

“’God made me.’ Now, sh-sh-sh.”

As Nando listened to this question and answer exchange each morning, he soon learned how to respond when it was their turn to speak. He even began learning what they meant.

“ Donde esta Dios?” (Where is God?)

“Dios esta en todas partes.” (God is everywhere.)

Nando wasn’t sure he liked the concept of God being everywhere. It was kind of spooky to him.

“Sabe Dios y ver todas tes cosas?” (Does God know and see all things?)

“Dios sabe y ve todas las coses, incluso nuestros pensamientos mas secretos.” (God knows and sees all things, even your most secret thoughts.)

Didn't want God to know everything he did or thought, especially when he got angry with Taophila, his sister, for tattling on him all the time. Maybe this God only knows Spanish thoughts. I will be sure to only think angry thoughts in Tenek. I'm glad God doesn’t know Tenek.

~ ~ ~

Pray for Fernando and Christy Angeles, as they translate the Bible into Tenek and teach these people of God's free gift of eternal life.

Pray for me, as I write this story, that I will be able to portray how God is working in lives. Pray that it will be used to encourage young people to serve the Lord.


Sherri Ward said...

Thanks for a nice story. I for one am thankful for missionaries all over the globe devoting themselves to spreading the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Sara Harricharan @ Fiction Fusion said...

Ah, how fun! I liked the spanish bits of dialogue, I could follow them-Yay! LOL. I like Nando too. Fun piece!


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