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Twelve-year old Joel and little brother Benjamin are fishing one morning on the shore of Galilee. Although their net keeps coming up empty a stranger who comes along changes their luck when he suggests they throw the net in a spot that yields the biggest catch of their lives.
In the coming days they begin to notice that the same stranger is kind, feeds the hungry and heals the sick. When he speaks everyone listens because the man is a rabbi who teaches unforgettable lessons. Joel and Benjamin soon become friends with the newcomer. Benjamin becomes an instant follower of the hero, but Joel has conflicts in his heart. Aspiring to leave the Galilee shore as a fisherman, Joel studies faithfully at the synagogue hoping to become a powerful Pharisee leader of Galilee. He listens to debate over why the newcomer must not be trusted. Who should he believe?
In Joel’s heart there is also a special love. A love for Leah, the most beautiful girl in Galilee that he hopes to someday marry. Just when it seems she begins to notice him she falls gravely ill and all hope fades as she begins to die. How could he imagine his life without her? Just when Joel starts to give up, Benjamin convinces his brother that there is one person who can save her.
And soon they set out to search for the man that would change their lives and the world forever.
“The Eternal Promise” is a short story I wrote when I was 14 years old. My pastor at the time was encouraging all the young people in our church to use their talents for God. My sisters, Melanie and Stephanie were already accomplished violinists and I did not feel that my writing was as noteworthy as their concertos. At the beckoning of Reverend Robert P. Johnson I wrote what I thought was a science fiction story with a Christian theme that no one would really like. I wrote it on an electric typewriter perched on an open windowsill. For some reason I chose to remove the screen. This was long before computers that would later have their handy save and delete features. On the floor was a lot of used chalky correct tape. It took me three days. I still remember the powerful connection to God with the vision of that story. To my surprise the story won at the national level and set my path as a writer. Now, after so many years and other publications it is still my favorite story.