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“Goodbye, Jeremy,” said his mom, giving him a hug. “Have a marvelous time!”
Jeremy waved then turned to follow his dad through the airport. Soon they met up with a group of friends from church. “Hey, guys!” their pastor called out. “This mission trip is going to be super.”
Jeremy sat down next to his dad on the plane. “I’m nervous,” he said.
“Oh? What are you nervous about? Flying?” Dad teased.
Jeremy chuckled. “No. I feel like maybe I shouldn’t even be going on this mission trip. I’m just a kid who loves to play soccer. I don’t know what I can do to help at an orphanage.”
“I felt the same way,” Dad admitted.
“Yeah. My job is working with numbers all the time. But I don’t know what good that will do in Mexico. Then Pastor Jack reminded me that it doesn’t matter what we think we can or can’t do, it’s whether we’re willing to do the job God gives us at the time.”
“So, I should just wait and see what God wants me to do when I get there?” Jeremy asked.
“Yep. Pray about it, then be ready to act in faith and do what God leads you to do.”
After several hours, the plane landed in Mexico where the mission team climbed on a bus. As they drove along, bouncing up and down over every bump in the narrow road, Jeremy prayed quietly, “Dear God, please help me know what you want me to do and be able to do it right.”
Finally, the old bus lurched around a corner and rumbled to a stop in front of some buildings that looked like long houses. Suddenly, boys and girls surrounded the bus, smiling and shouting excitedly, “Hola!” “Hello!”
Jeremy stepped off the bus and stood with the team. A tall man came forward. “My friends,” he said, “I am Miguel. You are all welcome here. There are many things we can use your help with. But first,” he said, grinning, “Let’s eat!”
They all went into a big room full of long tables with benches. Jeremy saw a group of boys about his age who lived there at the orphanage. He smiled at them. Then he noticed another boy sitting by himself. Jeremy walked over and sat down beside him. “I’m Jeremy,” he said. “What’s your name?”
The boy pointed to himself and said, “I am Jose.”
Jeremy held out his hand for the boy to shake while the other boys laughed and pointed. Jeremy was surprised when Jose did not shake his hand. Jeremy figured he just didn’t understand.
It wasn’t long before Jeremy found out that he was the one who didn’t understand.
When Jose finished eating, he got up from the table. That’s when Jeremy noticed that Jose had no right hand; his right arm was missing! Jeremy was shocked. He had never seen anyone with only one arm before.
After lunch the team looked around the orphanage with Miguel. Jeremy saw a group of boys playing with an old, beat-up soccer ball.
“Hey! That’s my favorite sport!” Jeremy exclaimed.
“Well, go play with them,” said his dad.
Jeremy ran over to the boys. One of them kicked the ball to Jeremy, who then dribbled it across the dusty playing field and scored a goal in a saggy soccer net. The boys hollered and cheered. “You play with us?” they asked.
“Sure!” said Jeremy. They set up another goal using old trash cans and started a game. But when Jose came to play, the other boys pushed him away. “No! No! You can’t play, Jose,” they said.
“Wait! Why can’t Jose play, too?” asked Jeremy.
The boys tried to explain. “He has only one hand; he cannot play.” And they left the field, taking the ball with them. Jeremy watched the boys go. “Now what do I do?” he wondered. Then he got an idea. “I’ll be right back!” he shouted as he ran to find his group.
Jeremy watched the boys go. “Now what do I do?” he wondered. Then he got an idea. “I’ll be right back!” he shouted as he ran to find his group.
“Pastor Jack,” he said breathlessly. “I need some soccer balls for me and Jose.” The pastor found the supplies they brought and gave Jeremy two new soccer balls.
Jeremy handed one to his new friend. “Jose, you don’t need two hands to play soccer. You just need to be good with your feet,” Jeremy explained. Jeremy kicked his ball around and Jose copied him. It didn’t take long for Jose to get the hang of it.
All that week, Jose practiced with Jeremy. Soon the other boys were stopping to watch. Once, Jose kicked the ball really hard. Jeremy ducked just in time, and the ball flew straight into the goal. “Nice shot!” Jeremy shouted. The other boys from the orphanage came to Jeremy. “Can we play, too?”
The other boys from the orphanage came to Jeremy. “Can we play, too?”
Jeremy turned to Jose. “What do you think? Should we have a game?”
Jose nodded and smiled.
One of the other boys said, “Jose, we are sorry we never let you play. You and Jeremy will be captains and pick the teams. Okay?”
“Sounds great!” said Jeremy. “Let’s get started!”
Jeremy was glad to see Jose playing with his new friends. But soon, it was time to leave. As they rode the bus back to the airport, Jeremy turned to his dad and said, “I’m glad I came. God knew exactly what he wanted me to do. And I’ll never forget my new friend, Jose.”
Justin & Jessie show kids how the Bible applies to real life! These weekly stories are part of Answers Bible Curriculum, our full-Bible, chronological Sunday school program for all ages.