The rest of the morning went just wonderfully, no one tried to get too close and then it was time to go on the tram to make the trip around the whole park. They were going to eat lunch after that.
At least that was the plan. While they were on the tram, the driver’s radio became alive with excited conversation. Susie, Johnny and Andrea were all sitting up in the front of the tram near the driver and Mr. Christopherson. It was hard to understand some of the conversation, but they did catch instructions to the driver to take the children to the far end of the park near where the moose and caribou exhibit.
“Mr. Christopherson” Susie said, “what is going on?”
“I’m not sure yet Susie”, he responded. “I think that there is some sort of emergency at the park office. We have been directed to head to a spot between the moose and caribou exhibits; which is fine because we were headed there anyway.” Mr. Christopherson hesitated for a moment and then turned and looked at Susie, Johnny and Andrea. “You kids know me as a teacher, but, you also know me as a Christian because we go to the same church. I want to ask you kids to pray for us. I don’t know exactly what is going on. My primary job here is to be your teacher; but, next to that, it is also my job to keep you all safe. Please pray that God will keep us all safe, ok?” Mr. Christopherson stood up and announced to everyone that they should probably eat their lunch now and then turned toward the driver so that he could talk to him and hear what was being said on the radio.
The heads of all three kids nodded and they huddled together to pray. Johnny started out, “Lord, Jesus, you know everything and are stronger and more powerful than anything else in the universe. Lord, please keep us safe from whatever is going on in this park today.” “And help us to helpful to Mr. Christopherson in whatever way we can” added Andrea. Susie followed with “Lord Jesus, help us to be your servants today. Help us also to be servants to Mr. Christopherson and all of the other kids in our class. Help other people to see you in us as we serve. In Jesus name we pray” and they all said together “Amen!”
Now Jimmy Barski had been sitting right behind Johnny watched them praying. He reached up and touched Johnny on the shoulder and got Johnny to turn around. When Johnny turned around to talk to him, Jimmy asked “Hey, what were you guys just doing?” Johnny smiled and said, “We were praying, Jimmy. We were asking God to watch over us and protect us just in case something bad is happening in the park.” Jimmy looked thoughtfully at Johnny for a minute, looked around and said in almost a whisper, “Can you pray for me too? I’m kind of scared. That thing with the raccoon kind of shook me up and…and…” Johnny looked at Susie who had also turned around by now and they both looked back at Jimmy and said, “You bet Jimmy, we’d love to pray for you.” Susie leaned over with Johnny grabbed Andrea’s hand as well. Johnny started out “Lord, it’s us again; we’d like to ask you for something special. Jimmy here is feeling the same way that we all are. We’re probably all afraid that something bad is happening and we’d like to ask you again to watch over us all, but especially touch Jimmy, Lord so that he knows for sure that you love him and are watching out for him. If there is anything that we can say or do, that can help Jimmy to get to know you better, just let us know. Thank you Lord. In Jesus Name, Amen.”
Jimmy looked at Johnny & then at Susie & then at Andrea & then back at Johnny and said, “You guys have something special going with God, don’t you?” Susie perked up and said quickly, “We sure do, Jimmy. Would you like to hear about it?” Jimmy hesitated and, while he was thinking up his answer, the tram radio started squawking again. “Well, yes I….” began Jimmy.
Mr. Christopherson suddenly stood up and made an announcement, “Ok, guys and gals, it turns out that one of the hawks had gotten into the reptile area and was going after one of their prize snakes. So they shut everything down while they captured the hawk. We are free to continue our tour from here, so let’s take some time to finish our lunch and then we’ll check out the moose and the caribou as long as we are here. After that, we’ll hike back to our cabin along one of the nature trails and study whatever we see along the way.
When Johnny & Susie turned back around to Jimmy, he was busy eating his lunch and talking to the person behind him. Disappointed, they opened up their backpacks and started in on their lunches as well.
“I sure hope that we can get a chance to talk to him again, Johnny” said Susie while thoughtfully munching on a pickle. Johnny was nodding while he was chewing a big mouthful of his sandwich. After he swallowed, he looked at Susie and Andrea and suggested that they individually pray for an opportunity for them to talk to him. Johnny had been inviting Jimmy to church for a couple of months now and he always had some sort of excuse. This was the first time that he had really seemed interested in God. They each nodded and prayed while they finished their lunches.