Faith Wins in Pandemic Parable

Guatemalan professor wins first prize in Spanish writing contest

We challenged writers around the world to enter a series of five writing contests in English or Spanish starting in July. Katherine Alvarado de Estrada of Guatemala penned this parable on the theme of hope, winning our July Spanish-language contest, organized by MAI and Letra Viva. Translated by MAI for publication.

They eyed one another in the waiting room, awaiting the results of their swab test: Investment Fund, Life Insurance, Job Skills, Relationships, and Christian Faith. None wore masks or kept their social distance. Each felt untouchable by the virus.

Investment Fund, dressed in business attire, looked relaxed with legs crossed and leaning on an elbow. “All of you will certainly test positive: I’m the only one who offers real security,” he bragged.

“What can you provide in terms of real security?” Relationships protested. “How can you promise protection if you only offer help to people who believe money is everything? Besides, it only takes a little inflation or someone to declare bankruptcy and you disappear.”

Investment Fund could not hide an expression of surprise but kept his composure. “And what do you offer? The false expectation that someone will protect and care for you, knowing that no one will be around forever?”

Job Skills chuckled. “You’ve each self-destructed. Your problem is that you place your hope in something outside of yourselves. On the other hand, I promise security through trust in yourselves, in your own abilities….”

“But no one can guarantee that you will survive your own failures,” Life Insurance responded. “That’s why only I can offer real assurance; I promise you, life!”

Everyone broke up laughing. “Life insurance?” they cried. “Death insurance!”

As each mocked the other, revealing their own weaknesses, someone asked, “And what about Christian Faith?”

“Christian faith offers no certainty,” Job Skills said. “She says that she has everything but provides nothing.”

“We have your test results,” the lab technician interrupted.

“Read them aloud,” Christian Faith asked, invigorated. “Let’s see who gives real security, who offers real hope.”

“Life Insurance, positive. Investment Fund, positive. Job Skills, positive. Relationships, positive. Christian Faith, negative.”

Bedlam erupted as the group protested the accuracy of the test results. But shown these were correct, they asked Christian Faith, “How do you give real hope?”

“My care is solid and lasting because it rests in someone secure: God,” Christian Faith said with a smile and open arms. “Even if you lose your financial, emotional or personal security, you will remain strong and secure if your hope is God Himself.”

Katherine Alvarado de Estrada is an adjunct Bible professor at Central American Theological Seminary (SETECA) in Guatemala City, where she and her husband, Mario, live. Before the contest “I had not seriously considered the ministry impact of writing, and now I plan to dedicate more time to it,” Katherine said.

Through the Spanish language writer contests organized by MAI and Letra Viva, we are encountering young, gifted writers like Katherine whom we will encourage. Please pray that these emerging writers will bless readers across the Spanish-speaking world.

>>Check out our remaining writing contests in English and Spanish.

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