“Are there bathrooms where we’re going?” we asked our African host.

“In Africa, there are bathrooms everywhere.” He motioned out the window of the jeep.

Sure enough. I’d have to be careful where I looked. And stepped.

Although my mind was still whirling from the ACFW conference, I was excited about this trip. My husband and I, along with three friends, were scouting out a ministry for a possible church partnership.

Bathrooms might be plentiful, but bedrooms were hard to come by. Exhausted from our flights, we were discouraged that the rooms we’d leased were unsanitary, even by mission trip standards. They had had running water at one time because there was a toilet, but the water was cut off and the toilet was full. After a few more attempts at accommodations the decision was made that we would sleep on the roof of the missionary’s house. Air mattresses were scarce so my husband and I got the trampoline with the mandatory mosquito net hung over us.

The breeze was refreshing on the roof. It would’ve been perfect if it wasn’t for the 5:00 a.m. call to prayer blaring on the mosque’s loud speakers one street over. It would’ve been quieter to sleep in the village where there was no electricity, but at least we could check in with our families via email at the missionary’s house in the evening.

That’s what I was doing when I saw the email from Bethany House in my inbox. My heart stopped. So he got my submission? I thought about carrying my laptop somewhere more private, but I knew what it was going to say. I wouldn’t be surprised or upset, so I opened it.

It was a request for the complete manuscript. That’s all. One sentence. I scratched my head.

“What’d you get?” my husband asked.

“A request for the complete manuscript.” There was some excitement in the room, so I clarified. “It’s good, but it’s one step in a million- step process. They’re probably just being polite.”

“I don’t think they’re polite. They like the book.” My husband, the optimist.

“You don’t understand,” I said. “They give bonus points if you go to conference. They almost always ask to see pages.”

“But you sent pages, and now they want more.”

Some people don’t know when to stop. “I’ll send the complete when we get home, but I’m not getting my hopes up.”

And in the meantime, I would take some friends up on their offers to critique the whole book for me. I’d declined offers before because I didn’t want to waste their time – we’re talking 350-some pages – but now, despite my refusal to admit it, I was hoping for the impossible.

The Miracle – Publication Story, Part 7

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