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“When will we be home, Dad?” asked Justin from the back seat of the van.
“In a couple hours, Justin. We still have a ways to go,” Dad replied.
“I’m not ready to go home yet,” Jessie sighed. “I had so much fun on our trip together.”
“Me, too,” Justin agreed. “How about you Ellie?” Justin peeked over the seat in front of him where his little sister was buckled into her car seat. “Did you have fun on vacation?”
Ellie twisted around trying to see Justin. “I don’t want to go home,” she whined. “Mommy, can we get out of the car?”
Ellie squirmed in her seat and kicked the back of her mom’s seat—ka-plunk, ka-plunk.
“Ellie,” Mom said, turning around. “You need to stop kicking my seat. We can’t stop right now. We’ll be home in a while then you can get out and run around in circles if you want to.”
“No,” Ellie fussed. “I don’t want to run in circles.”
“Hey, Ellie,” Jessie said cheerfully, “Let’s sing ‘Jesus Loves Me.’”“Okay,” Ellie agreed and started singing. “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so!”
Jessie joined in, and soon everyone in the van was singing as the miles flew past.
They sang just about every song they knew. Finally, on the last few notes of “Old MacDonald,” Justin belted out “Eee-iii-eee-iii-oooh!” as loud as he could.
Jessie looked at Justin and laughed. “Wow, Justin. That was loud. I didn’t know you could sing so high. You sounded like a monkey swinging in the trees, ‘eee-eee-eee!’”
Jessie made a goofy face and scratched under her arms pretending to be a monkey.
Justin smiled, but he didn’t laugh. He wondered, “Did Jessie mean what she said?” He looked at Jessie again to see if she was still laughing at him, but she was staring out the window.
“We’re home at last!” announced Justin’s dad as he turned the van into the driveway.
Everyone slowly climbed out of the van. They were all tired from the long ride home. Jessie and her parents went to their house next door while Justin and his family entered their home and headed straight to bed.
The next morning, Justin sat down for breakfast. He started to peel his banana when Ellie said, “Justin, do monkey face, please!”
Justin turned toward Ellie, ready to show her his silly face. But then he remembered what Jessie had said the night before. Justin frowned at Ellie. “No. I don’t wanna do monkey face anymore.” Then he bit into his banana and finished his breakfast in silence.
All day, Justin was in a sour mood. He kept thinking about what Jessie said. “She never said I sang funny before,” he thought. “I didn’t know I sounded like a monkey.”
That evening, Justin and Jessie went to kids’ club at church.
“Boys and girls,” said their teacher, Mrs. Jacobs, “we’ve been asked to sing for the grown-ups in a few weeks.”
“Yay!” Jessie clapped. “I love to sing. We sang on our way home from vacation last night. Didn’t we, Justin?”
Justin looked up, startled. “Uh, yeah.”
“Let’s all stand up and practice together,” Mrs. Jacobs instructed as she turned on the music. “Here we go. Give it your best now.”
The music started. Justin liked this song and began to sing. Then he glanced at Jessie next to him. She was singing too, only she was looking over at Justin and smiling. Suddenly, Justin felt nervous. His voice quivered a little, and Jessie grinned at him.
“Oh, no! I still sound like a monkey,” Justin thought, imagining himself swinging around in the trees and squawking like a monkey.
Justin closed his mouth. He crossed his arms and just stood there between Jessie and another girl singing along with the music. “Nope,” he thought. “I’m not going to sing ever again.”
After kids’ club was over, Mrs. Jacobs walked over to Justin.
“I noticed you weren’t singing with the group tonight. Is there something wrong?” she asked.
Justin was embarrassed, but he told his teacher what Jessie said to him when he sang in the van.
Mrs. Jacobs thought for a moment. “Hmm. You two are such good friends. Do you really think Jessie would try to hurt your feelings?”
Justin shrugged then suddenly he heard someone shout, “No!”
It was Jessie. She ran toward Justin. “I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings! I thought we were all being silly. I’m sorry.”
Mrs. Jacobs smiled. “You know what? I don’t believe it matters how a person sounds if they’re doing their best to give God praise.”
“But I don’t know if God wants to hear me if I sound like a monkey,” Justin replied.
“Well, we don’t think you sound like that, but even if you did, remember who gave you your voice.”
“You mean God?”
“That’s right.” Mrs. Jacobs nodded. “God gave each of us our very own voice, and he wants us to use it for his praise and glory. So whether you’re a bird chirping or a monkey screeching or just you singing, God is pleased when you use your voice for him.”
“Okay. I’ll practice our song on the way home!” Justin promised.
“And I’ll sing with you,” Jessie added, putting her arm around Justin with a smile.
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.