This is from an email I got this morning from my son Travis who is serving a mission in Capetown:
Good morning. It is freezing cold here, raining and I can’t feel my feet. Winter in Cape Town is nice.
Well, the world cup has begun. It makes missionary work exciting. People started blowing their vuvuzelas Thursday night till late, and started blowing them again at about 6 on Friday morning and they went all day long. If you watched the opening match you probably heard that trumpet horn noise throughout the game. (That must be the buzzing sound so many commented on in their twitters!) Thats a vuvuzela. We were on our way to a teaching appointment when South Africa scored their goal and the whole township exploded (figuratively speaking). Everybody ran into the streets cheering and shouting. Old mamas and tatas were dancing, cars were hooting their horns. I’ve never seen such madness. It was fun. I keep telling people that USA is going to win and they always laugh at me. It is a good way to start a conversation. The work hasn’t slowed down because we haven’t let it. Those that are willing to turn their TV’s off really show a lot of commitment. Everybody thinks that we are a couple of tourists exploring the township to see what it is like.
Happy birthday Mum! I hope it was nice. I still don’t know your age. You stopped ageing for me around your 40’s so that is what you’ll always be.
Picture of this young missionary before he left for Africa nearly two years ago, with his "mum" who is clearly over 40:
Okay, besides the fact that I thought this was an interesting email considering the big match going on there, I am reminded of how many stories lurk just under the surface of everyone's daily events, wherever and whatever. An observant person who wants to write can find the stories everywhere.
In Travis's email, there's the story of these tall white Americans on the streets desiring to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and people thinking they're tourists there for the World Cup. There's the story of the people in the townships, and the food they eat, the homes they live in, the sports they follow, and that horn they blow that sounds like buzzing over the TV. There's the story of this tall young man with a name badge (who is he? why is he going to Africa? why is his mom so short? what's with that smile? why does he look so happy?)
Anyway, you get the point. I love writing from life. There's no end of material to choose from. In fact, no one writer can live long enough to get out all the compelling stories. If the path you have chosen is to write stories, then time is of the essence. Write, write, write on!