“Yippee!” I shouted, bursting out the door of our house and running down the path. “School’s out for the day! I can play for the rest of the afternoon!”
“Where’s Ardie?” I asked, poking my head into my friend’s hut.
“Oh,” his mom replied, “he went with his dad to our mountain farm. He won’t be back till dark.”
One by one, I tried at each of my friends’ homes, but none were home. “It’s just my luck that I have to be stuck in school until 3 every afternoon,” I grumbled to myself. “The kids here get to go fishing or help their parents harvest sweet potatoes!”
Wandering over to my friend Delpin’s hut, I climbed the ladder and plopped down into their rattan hammock. “Where are you going, John?” asked Palincin, one of my mom’s patients who was staying with Delpin’s family. She was paralyzed from spinal TB, so she couldn’t go anywhere.
“None of my friends are home,” I pouted. “I don’t have anyone to play with.”
“I know how you feel,” she replied kindly. “I get pretty bored just lying here all day, too. Hey, I know, why don’t you tell me a story?”
“Okay!” I agreed enthusiastically and launched into a detailed description of Jesus’ second coming and the wonders of heaven. I put all of the gusto and juicy details into the telling that an eleven-year-old boy could muster.
That was the beginning of a lasting friendship with Palincin. Every afternoon after school and before my friends got back from their work, I would sit in the little rattan hammock and tell marvelous stories from the Bible and answer question after question from Palincin. My stories got to be so popular that some of the other women who were stuck at home watching their children would come over and listen in.
My joy knew no bounds when, several months later, Palincin was carried by two burly men down into the river where the pastor prayed over her and baptized her. I realized then that even a bored eleven-year-old kid can lead someone to Jesus!