“But, Mom,” Kendyl cried, “I have to go to Achievement Day. Sister Reed wants all of the girls there. She takes pictures of us at our activities to put in our scrapbooks, and I don’t want to be left out.”
“I know it’s important to go to Achievement Day, honey, but we have such a long drive ahead of us to Grandma’s! I don’t want to get a late start.”
“Can I at least go for an hour? Marie and I already planned to ride our bikes together.”
Kendyl’s mom looked down at the pleading expression on her daughter’s face and sighed. Even if it meant a delay, she was pleased that Kendyl didn’t want to miss the Achievement Day activities. “OK, honey, you can go for the whole time, but why don’t you and Marie walk so that we can pick you up from Sister Reed’s house on our way out of town.”
“Thanks, Mom,” Kendyl called over her shoulder as she ran to finish packing.
“Dad, is this the longest road in the world?” Kendyl’s six-year-old brother, Weston, asked.
“No, Son. It just seems that way because it’s flat and straight.”
This was a trip the family made at least once a year, and Kendyl had remembered how long and boring it was. Her backpack was full of things to keep her occupied—books, colored pencils, a drawing pad, and some braided cord for a key chain she was making as a gift for Grandma.
Weston was busy playing with action figures, making all sorts of growling and fighting noises. A few of the figures were missing arms or legs, but he didn’t care. He didn’t go anywhere without his Galactic Gorillas.
The family had long ago finished the sandwiches Mom had packed, and Kendyl’s stomach was starting to growl. The chips were gone, too, thanks to Weston the “chip monster.” “How much longer, Dad?” She didn’t want to sound like her little brother, but this trip seemed longer than any of the others. Wasn’t there supposed to be a town soon?
“Oh, we still have a few more hours. Try to get some sleep. That will make the trip go faster.”
She didn’t like sleeping in the car. Her neck always hurt on one side when she woke up. It was getting too dark to do anything else, though, so she rested her head against the back of her seat and shut her eyes.
A sudden drop in the car speed threw Kendyl forward against her seat belt, jolting her wide awake. “What happened? What’s wrong?”
“It’s OK, honey,” Dad said. “The engine cut out a moment, that’s all.”
“Are we there yet?” Weston sat up, stretching.
“Not yet, Sport. I think the car’s getting as tired of this trip as we are, that’s all.”
Kendyl and Weston sat back. The only light outside came from the stars spread across the velvet black sky, and the two bright funnels from the headlights. Suddenly Kendyl felt very small and a little scared, so she shut her eyes to say a little prayer. Just as she started her prayer, the engine cut out again. Dad steered the car over to the side of the road as it slowed to a halt.
“What’s going on?” Mom asked.
“I’ll get out and take a look. Thank goodness the lights still work.” Dad got out of the car and checked under the hood. “I don’t know what it could be,” he said, climbing back inside. “Everything seems to check out. Maybe we just need to let the engine rest for a minute.”
Kendyl’s throat tightened. She didn’t want to get stuck in the middle of nowhere.
“I’m hungry,” Weston said with a whine in his voice. “I want to go to Grandma’s.” The whine changed quickly into sobs. Hearing her brother cry made Kendyl’s own eyes water.
“Sweetie,” Mom said, “everything’s going to be fine.”
“But I’m hungry and cold.”
Kendyl’s stomach wasn’t only hungry—it was tied in knots.
Half an hour went by. Dad tried to start the car again. No luck. The more he tried, the more tired the battery started to sound.
“Mommy,” Weston said, “I’m really hungry, and it’s really cold.”
Then Kendyl remembered. “Mom, guess what?”
“I put our old camping blanket in the trunk.”
“You did?” Dad asked, his voice sounding happier.
“Sister Reed told us to at our last Achievement Day. And today she helped us make emergency kits. Mine is in the trunk.”
“Is there food in it?” Weston asked.
“A little bit. Peanut-butter sandwich crackers and fruit snacks.”
“Yes! Hurray for Achievement Day!” Weston shouted.
“Hurray for Sister Reed,” Dad added.
“Hurray for Kendyl,” Mom said.
Within minutes, they had the blanket, some jackets, extra clothes to keep them warm, and the canvas tote bag containing Kendyl’s emergency kit.
“Look—a candle and matches,” Dad said. He struck a match and touched it to the wick. The tiny flame bathed the inside of the car with its glow. Kendyl felt a lot better now that there was light.
“Bandages and a bottle of water,” Mom said, going through the rest of the bag. “And toilet paper, and wet wipes—and here’s the food.” She handed a fruit snack to everyone, and they shared a four-pack of crackers with peanut butter.
“This is the best food I’ve ever eaten in my whole life,” Weston said. “Mom, will you buy this kind of crackers when we get home?”
“Of course, Son,” Mom said. “Kendyl, it’s a real blessing to have this emergency kit. And to think that I almost didn’t let you go to your activity!”
“Sister Reed told us that if we were prepared, we didn’t have any reason to be afraid.”
“She’s absolutely right,” Dad said.
“You know what my teacher told us?” Weston said.
“What, Wes?” Mom asked.
“She said that when we need help we should pray.”
“Your teacher is also right,” Dad said. “Why don’t we have a prayer right now?”
They folded their arms, bowed their heads, and Dad said the prayer.
They had not sat there long after the prayer, when Weston called out, “Look—headlights!”
Sure enough, a tiny, bright circle was coming toward them. It quickly grew into two powerful tunnels of welcome light.
The whole family cheered as Dad flicked the headlights on and off to signal to the driver.
Not only did the car stop, but to everyone’s delight, the driver was a highway patrolman. He called a tow truck, and soon they were snug and safe in a hotel room.
Before going to bed that night, the family knelt in prayer. Weston reminded Dad to thank Heavenly Father for peanut-butter sandwich crackers. Dad also thanked Heavenly Father for watching out for them that night, for the power of prayer, and especially for Sister Reed, Kendyl, emergency kits, and Achievement Day.