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Authors: Janette Oke

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A Woman Named Damaris

BOOK: A Woman Named Damaris
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A Woman Named Damaris

Books by Janette Oke

Return to Harmony
Another Homecoming
Tomorrow’s Dream


The Centurion’s Wife
The Hidden Flame
The Damascus Way


When Calls the Heart
When Comes the Spring
When Breaks the Dawn
When Hope Springs New
Beyond the Gathering Storm
When Tomorrow Comes


Love Comes Softly
Love’s Enduring Promise
Love’s Long Journey
Love’s Abiding Joy
Love’s Unending Legacy
Love’s Unfolding Dream
Love Takes Wing
Love Finds a Home


The Tender Years
A Searching Heart

A Quiet Strength
Like Gold Refined


Once Upon a Summer
The Winds of Autumn
Winter Is Not Forever
Spring’s Gentle Promise


The Meeting Place
The Sacred Shore
The Birthright
The Distant Beacon
The Beloved Land


The Calling of Emily Evans
Julia’s Last Hope
Roses for Mama
A Woman Named Damaris
They Called Her Mrs. Doc
The Measure of a Heart
A Bride for Donnigan
Heart of the Wilderness
Too Long a Stranger
The Bluebird and the Sparrow
A Gown of Spanish Lace
Drums of Change

with Davis Bunn

© 1991 by Janette Oke

Published by Bethany House Publishers
11400 Hampshire Avenue South
Bloomington, Minnesota 55438

Bethany House Publishers is a division of
Baker Publishing Group, Grand Rapids, Michigan

Ebook edition created 2011

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means—electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise—without the prior written permission of the publisher. The only exception is brief quotations in printed reviews.

ISBN 978-1-5855-8728-5

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data is on file at the Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.

Cover design by Lookout Design, Inc.

To Josue and Judith,
my Compassion kids.
May God bless your lives and help you
to be all He wants you to be.


I began supporting Josue when he was quite young. He is now sixteen and a fine-looking young man. He lives in Mexico with his family and enjoys sports—especially soccer. He writes me short notes and draws me pictures. It has been interesting to share his growing up.

I met Judith when I traveled with Compassion to Haiti in January 1989. We visited some of the schools where Compassion children were scattered among the students.

The Haitian children were so open and loving, running to us to say hello, shake our hand, or to get a hug. I wondered how they could smile when they showed how hungry they were, lifting their simple shirts and showing us gaunt tummies. It was so sad. In that extremely needy country it was wonderful to see Compassion-sponsored children receiving schooling, health care, a daily meal, and most of all, the opportunity to hear about our Lord Jesus.

But there are not enough funds to meet all the needs. Many children are still without sponsorship.

Judith was one of the needy children. She lived with her widowed grandmother, her mother having gone to Port au Prince in hope of finding some kind of work. Compassion decided to take on the care of Judith, and I was given the opportunity to provide her support.

Judith was shy—but sweet. We could not communicate with words, but I will never forget the little arm that wrapped around me. I fell in love with her then and hope that one day I will have the privilege of visiting her again.

Helping children through Compassion is a wonderful opportunity to share love. It amazes me that the organization is able to do so much with so little. Having seen the many other children in Haiti who have no such support, no proper meal to fill hungry tummies, no medical care when they are ill, no education to help them through life, no chance to hear the Gospel that will free them from the terrible fear of voodoo worship, I thank God that there are Compassion people who really care and give their lives to reaching out.

I am also thankful to be a small part of such a rewarding program. A few dollars makes it possible to turn a life around. I also have the privilege of remembering my children in prayer and communicating through letters. Compassion sends pictures and keeps me well informed of their welfare and growth.

God bless your work, Compassion!

Should you have an interest in being a part of the wonderful family of Compassion, you may write to them for information at one of the following addresses:

Compassion International
3955 Cragwood Dr., Dept. A
PO Box 7000
Colorado Springs, CO

Compassion of Canada
Box 5591
London, Ontario
N6A 9Z9

I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.

JANETTE OKE was born in Champion, Alberta, to a Canadian prairie farmer and his wife, and she grew up in a large family full of laughter and love. She is a graduate of Mountain View Bible College in Alberta, where she met her husband, Edward, and they were married in May of 1957. After pastoring churches in Indiana and Canada, the Okes spent some years in Calgary, where Edward served in several positions on college faculties while Janette continued her writing. She has written forty-eight novels for adults and another sixteen for children, and her book sales total nearly thirty million copies.

The Okes have three sons and one daughter, all married, and are enjoying their fifteen grandchildren. Edward and Janette are active in their local church and make their home near Didsbury, Alberta.



A Daring Idea



An Opportunity

On the Trail


In Camp

Traveling On

A New Life Begins

Miss Dover

The Book



A Dinner Guest

Christmas Day

The Name

The Truth


Fires of Rage


The Children



Chapter One


“Damaris! Damaris!”

Damaris Withers shrank back against the hard boards of the attic wall that supported her back. Pa was home, and she knew by his voice that he had been drinking. She wondered where he had found the money. She wished there was no such thing as money. It brought nothing but woe to the household.

“Damaris!” the man hollered again. “Where is thet girl?” he demanded, a nasty string of profanity following his second outburst.

Damaris shivered. She knew her pa would never find her in her attic retreat, but she never considered staying there. If she didn’t go when called, things would not go well for her mother. Her pa would become angry and abusive. If she hurried, he might do no more than lash out with words, but if he became angry…The thought made Damaris shiver again.

She laid aside her book, worn from reading, and crawled from her hiding place. Silently she lowered herself to the beat-up chest that stood against the wall in her room and quietly replaced the trapdoor leading up to her hiding place. Then she stepped carefully onto the sagging cot that was her bed and down to the rag rug that covered the broken floorboard beside it. She slipped her feet into worn shoes, brushed at her mended dress to get rid of any cobwebs, and hastened toward the creaking stairs.

“Here I am,” she said, trying hard to keep her voice from trembling.

Her father had settled himself in a chair by the table. One glance told Damaris that he had spent a good deal of his afternoon at the saloon. Fear gripped at her, but then a thought flashed through her mind.
If he’s had plenty to drink, then maybe—maybe he will soon take to bed and leave Mama and me alone.

“Get in here, girl!” roared her father. “Give yer poor ma a hand. Don’t ya care a’tall thet she’s got all the work to do?”

The man shook his head and began to curse again. “No respect a’tall,” he ended his tirade.

“Yes, Pa,” Damaris whispered.

No point telling him that already she had drawn water from the deep well for the two cows. That she had hoed the garden in the hot morning sun. That she had walked into town with the eggs and traded them for salt and flour. That she had chopped the wood for the fire and hauled the water to replenish the kitchen buckets. Or that Mama herself had given her permission to rest a few moments. All Damaris said was “Yes, Pa,” as she moved forward to appease her irate father. To answer back or fail to show proper respect would get her the back of his hand at best or a thrashing if he felt so inclined.

He sat at the table mumbling his complaints and curses as Damaris and her mother scurried about the kitchen preparing him a hot meal. They did not dare speak. They did not even raise their eyes to each other. Nor did they look at the man slumped at the table. Damaris did not need to look. She had played this scene before—many times—whenever there was money from somewhere. She hated money. Hated what it did to her pa. Hated what it did to her mama. And she hated the fear coursing through her now, shriveling her body into a quaking, trembling mass.

“What’s takin’ ya so long?” her pa demanded, his words slurred and angry. “When a man gets home his supper oughta be waitin’ fer ’im.”

More angry words followed but Damaris tuned them out. She held the chipped plate for her mother to fill with pancakes and fried salted pork and hastened to the table to place it before her father.

BOOK: A Woman Named Damaris
8.56Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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