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Emily frowned. "Yeah, for some kids."
"What do you mean?"
"I mean I can't afford to go."
"But Cory said there would be ways to earn money."
Emily just shook her head. "I don't think he meant the cost for the whole trip, Morgan. Besides we're supposed to put down a fifty dollar deposit. There's no way I can do that."
"Where's your faith, Emily?"
"Not in my pocketbook, that's for sure."
"You know what I mean. Why can't you just trust God to provide?" asked Morgan.
"I try to trust him to provide for most things ... but a ski trip? Well, that might be pushing it."
"You think it's too big for God?" Morgan twisted a beaded braid between her fingers as she studied her best friend's expression.
"Well, maybe not too big for God ... maybe it's just too big for me," said Emily.
"Come on," urged Morgan, "don't give up just like that. You can at least ask God whether or not he wants you to go, Emily."
Emily nodded. "Yeah, I guess you're right."
"If it makes you feel any better, I don't have enough money to go either."
"Enough money for what?" asked Mom as she and Grandma joined the girls by the car.
"The youth group is taking a ski trip, including snowboarding and skiing," said Morgan.
"When is that?" asked Grandma.
"It's more than a month away," explained Morgan. "Not until after Christmas."
"How much?" asked Mom as she unlocked the car.
"Two hundred dollars!" exclaimed Emily.
"Goodness," said Grandma. "That's a lot."
"But it includes everything," said Morgan. "Transportation, equipment rental, lift tickets, food, and everything for three whole days! Janna said it would cost more if we weren't going as a group."
"That's probably true," said Mom as they piled into the car. "Lift tickets alone are pretty expensive."
"And the church is offering ways for kids to earn money to go," continued Morgan.
"Like what?" asked Mom.
"We can make stuff to sell at the bazaar."
"That's less than two weeks from now," said Grandma.
"And Cory and Janna are going to cut down Christmas trees to sell. We can help with that too," said Morgan.
"And wreath making," added Emily in a slightly flat voice.
"Sounds like you girls are going to be busy," said Grandma.
"Does that mean I can go?" asked Morgan.
"I guess so," said Mom, "if you're sure you can earn the money. You know that things are kind of tight right now."
"I know," Morgan assured her. "And I plan on trusting God to provide."
"How about you, Emily?" asked Grandma.
"You mean, am I trusting God too?" Emily sighed.
Grandma laughed. "Oh, I know you're trusting God, sweetheart. But how about the ski trip—are you planning on going too?"
"I don't know ... that's a lot of money."
"But our God is a big God," Morgan reminded her.
"We can expect big things from him."
"How many kids are going?" asked Mom.
"I don't know," admitted Morgan. "But Cory said we could invite friends from outside of church. We're going to invite Carlie, Amy, and Chelsea."
"We are?" Emily's brow creased. "Since when?"
"Since now," said Morgan. "Or when we get home. We have a meeting today at two."
"And you're inviting them to go on the ski trip?" asked Emily.
"Of course," said Morgan. "How much fun would it be without them?"
"Well, I hope you have fun without me."
"Oh, Emily, don't be so negative."
"And don't be so bossy, Morgan," warned Mom. "Emily needs to talk to her mom about this before she commits to anything."
"I know ..." Morgan told herself to calm down. "It's just that I'm so excited about it. It's going to be so cool."
"You barely know how to ski," Mom reminded her.
"Janna said she'd give ski lessons. And Cory said he'd teach kids to snowboard. We can pick whichever one we want, but we have to tell them when we sign up."
"When do you sign up?" asked Mom.
"As soon as possible," said Morgan.
"As soon as God provides some of us with fifty dollars," added Emily.
"Fifty dollars?" echoed Grandma.
"Yeah, that's the deposit," explained Morgan. "I have fifteen now, Mom. If you loan me the rest, I can pay you back as soon as I earn it. And I already have some bead necklaces to sell at the bazaar."
"We'll talk about it at home, Morgan."
Morgan turned to Emily. "You are going on this ski trip, Em. I can just feel it. God wants to show you that he is a lot bigger than you think."
"God owns the cattle on a thousand hills," said Grandma. "And a whole lot more, Emily. Morgan is right. If God wants you to go, he will provide."
"What's your family doing for Thanksgiving this week, Emily?" asked Mom as she turned into Harbor View Mobile-Home Court.
"Nothing that I know of," said Emily as she reached for her bag.
"Why don't you come to our house for dinner?" said Grandma.
"Yeah," agreed Morgan. "Grandma makes the best pies, and her cornbread stuffing is awesome."
"That's a great idea," said Mom as she pulled in front of Emily's house. "We'd love to have you join us."
"I'll check with my mom," said Emily as she opened the door. Then she thanked them for the ride and got out.
Morgan felt a small wave of guilt as she watched Emily slowly walking toward her house. She could tell that Emily was discouraged, and Morgan hoped that she hadn't come on too strong about the ski trip. Two hundred dollars really was a lot of money; and it probably did seem overwhelming to Emily. Especially this time of year when things slowed down at the resort where Emily's mom worked. Finances might be tougher than usual for their family. Still, Morgan felt certain that the money dilemma would be resolved—the girls would work hard and God would help them. She just needed to convince Emily.
"Go easy on Emily, Morgan," said Mom as she pulled into their driveway.
"What do you mean?"
"I mean there's a chance that Emily's mom won't want her to go on that ski trip. Lisa told me just the other day that she was thinking about getting a second job during the winter."
"But Emily and I can earn our money, Mom. We can make things and sell Christmas trees and whatever it takes."
"Lisa might need Emily to help out more at home," said Mom in a slightly warning tone. "I just don't want you to put too much pressure on Emily."
"But she has to go on the ski trip," insisted Morgan. "It wouldn't be the same without her."
"That's not for you to say, sweetheart," said Grandma. "But if you pray about it, maybe God will make a way for Emily to go."
Morgan just nodded as they walked up to the house. But sometimes she wondered why other people didn't have the same kind of faith she had—the kind of faith where you were willing to stand up and speak out. At least she thought it was faith—she hoped it was faith. And, unless God showed her otherwise, she'd continue to believe that it was faith. In the meantime, she'd be praying really hard for Emily to go on the ski trip.
Morgan went to her room and started going through her bead box. Her beading supplies were a little low at the moment. She had several necklaces partially done, as well as enough beads to create a bracelet or two. Still, even if she sold all of them, it would probably be barely enough to cover her deposit and certainly not enough for Emily too. Besides that, the church bazaar was almost two weeks away—what if the ski trip filled up before then? What else could she do to earn money? She looked around her room. She had some sewing projects going, but they weren't the sorts of things you could sell at a bazaar. She also had some watercolor paintings that she'd been working on, but she wasn't so sure that anyone would want to buy them. She wasn't even sure she'd be willing to have them hanging on a wall for people to gawk at. Art was still a somewhat personal thing to her.
"Morgan," called Grandma. "Come eat lunch." As they were eating, Morgan told Mom and Grandma that she was short on beads and was wondering if there was anything else she could make to sell at the bazaar.
"I'm knitting things for the bazaar," said Grandma. "But it takes time to knit."
"And I'm not a fast knitter at all," said Morgan, but she didn't admit that she really didn't like to knit. She didn't want to hurt Grandma's feelings.
"I have an idea," said Grandma as they were finishing up. "You could make socks."
Morgan frowned. "Socks? You mean by knitting?"
"No. I got a sewing pattern in the mail a couple of months ago. It's for polar fleece socks."
Morgan brightened. "Like for skiing and snow and stuff?"
"Yes, I suppose ..." said Grandma. "Generally, I thought they'd be for keeping your feet warm."
"Weren't you going to make some of those to sell in my shop?" asked Mom.
"Yes, but I just haven't gotten around to it."
"Do they look hard to make?" asked Morgan.
"No, I don't think so. They may involve a bit of cutting. But the sewing looked like it would be simple enough ... if you follow the directions." Grandma winked at Morgan.
"I can follow directions," said Morgan as she set down her milk glass. "It's just that I sometimes like doing things my way."
"Well, that works for some projects, but I suspect the socks need to be sewn a particular way."
"Can I try making some?"
"Of course. I even have a bit of polar fleece for you to practice on. It's that tiger stripe that's leftover from the throw I made for your room."
"No," said Grandma. "Warm."
"Right." Morgan thanked Grandma for lunch as well as the sock idea then looked up at the kitchen clock. "I gotta go unlock the clubhouse before the others get there," she said as she stood. "I want to invite everyone to the ski trip."
"Just remember," said Mom. "Two hundred dollars is a lot of money. Don't make anyone feel bad if they can't afford to go."
Morgan gave her mom a wounded expression. "Mom," she said, "I would never do that. They're my friends. I don't want them to feel bad. I just want them to have enough faith so that we can all go and have a really awesome time."
Grandma laughed. "Don't worry, Cleo," she said to her daughter as Morgan headed for the front door. "I think Morgan has enough faith for all five of those girls."
"That may be so," called Mom. "But, Morgan, it's a deluge out there. Put on your rain slicker before you go out. I don't think you have enough faith to stay dry in that downpour."
Morgan grabbed her bright orange slicker and went outside. Mom was right. There was a regular monsoon going on. She stood on the porch for a moment, just watching the rain careening down the gutters like waterfalls. She peered across the way to Emily's house, also shrouded in rain. In need of paint and some other repairs, Emily's house was the most rundown of the mobile homes in their park. But then Emily's mom was only renting and couldn't afford to fix it up much. Morgan knew that Mrs. Adams didn't get any child support and had a hard time making ends meet. Then there was Carlie's family on the other side of the beach trail. Their house was in better shape, but only because Mr. Garcia was a hard worker. Still, with their three kids to support, Morgan knew that it probably wasn't easy for them either. Maybe Mom and Grandma were right. Maybe it was silly of Morgan to think that all the girls in their club could afford to go on the ski trip with her. The truth was Morgan wasn't even sure that she could earn two hundred dollars in a month's time. Maybe it was just a crazy notion.
Then Morgan thought about what time of year it was—late November. She usually made gifts for her family and friends during December. What if she was so busy trying to earn money for a ski trip that she had nothing to give? Wasn't it selfish to think only of herself right now? All these troubling thoughts ran through her mind as she jogged down the sandy beach trail, jumping over pond-sized puddles, as she made her way to the old bus that served as their clubhouse. Even as she turned the key on the door of the beloved rainbow bus, she didn't feel a bit encouraged—instead of its usual bright and cheerful colors, thanks to the gray clouds, the bus looked dull and dowdy today. Then, just as Morgan stepped on the stair to go inside, a whoosh of rainwater slid off the sloped roof and splashed down onto her head.
She shuddered and went inside, closing the door behind her. She peeled off her coat and dried off her glasses. Maybe it was the gloomy weather, or maybe it was her mother's warnings, but it suddenly felt as if Morgan's faith was shrinking—and shrinking fast.
Excerpted from Raising Faith by Melody Carlson Copyright © 2012 by Melody Carlson. Excerpted by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Posted July 18, 2013