“Yippee!” I shouted, bursting out the door 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 in my friend’s hut.
“Oh,” his mom replied, “He went with his dad to our mountain farm. He will not be back until dark.”
One by one, I tried each of my friends’ homes, with no luck. “I have to be stuck in school until 3:00 pm every afternoon,” I grumbled to myself. “The kids here get to go fishing or help their parents harvest their 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. Paralyzed from spinal tuberculosis, Palincin could not go anywhere.
“None of my friends are home,” I pouted. “I have no one to play with.”
“I know how you feel,” she replied kindly. “I get pretty bored just lying here all day, too. Hey, how about you tell me a story?”
“Okay!” I agreed enthusiastically and launched into a detailed description of Jesus’ second coming and the wonders of heaven.
That was the beginning of a lasting friendship with Palincin. Every day after school, 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 so popular that some of the women stuck at home watching their children would come over and listen.
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 and baptized her. I realized then that even a bored, eleven-year-old could lead someone to Jesus!