Over the next few days Marta struggled with her feelings. She knew she wanted John for her own, but she also suspected he wasn’t the type to settle down. Oh sure they could be together, but it would be on his terms. They would live in a large city where she would be his pretty little wife and he a world traveling airline pilot. Sure, they would still serve God, but maybe as members of a large congregation, not in the capacity they now served as missionaries half a world away.
That is how she imagined her life with him. The more she thought about life without him, the bleaker that seemed. She would live with her decision forever and she would be happy here. Only the more she thought about John, the more desperate she felt knowing that the only other man she could ever love, would ever love, would probably be devoted to somebody else.
Numah approached around dinner time, as Marta carried water from a creek. Numah grabbed one of the water bags. “Will you be boiling this water or using the medicine?”
“The water may be a little dirtier, so I think I will use some of the iodine pills the nurse gave me,” Marta said.
“It is strange to think you cannot drink our water. Something we have always required for life, you cannot live with.”
“Yes, it is strange. It reminds me of a saying we have in America. ‘Don’t drink the water.’ We tell that to everyone who travels to foreign countries,” said Marta.
“Over the years I have seen you work very hard and struggle with many enemies inside of you, just to be our friend, and to teach us what you do. But lately, I have seen you struggle with something very strong, an enemy that may indeed be your friend,” said Numah.
Marta crouched mentally, every synapse, nerve, and muscle fiber poised, preparing herself for what was coming from her observant friend.
“I pray to God since you and Raymond showed Him to me that day three years ago. Since his death, I have been praying for the man who will make you his own and continue the work here,” said Numah.
“I am not lonely,” Marta protested. “I am here for one thing, and that is for all of you.”
“Do not assume we will fall apart without you. There are others who are willing to ‘toil in the fields,’ as you say. But I do not think you will leave us if you are with this man,” said Numah.
Jeffrey W. Bennett is the author of Commitment-A Novel and other non-fiction books, novels and periodicals..