Illustration by Emily Davis
Rachel waved goodbye to Mom and walked into the school courtyard. Her heart started to pound.
Only two weeks ago, Rachel’s family had moved from Wisconsin to Valencia, Spain. Rachel had been excited. She loved meeting new people and knew she would make friends.
But now she wasn’t so sure. Rachel could only say a few things in Spanish, so she hardly understood anything the kids said to her.
“Rachel!” one boy called, running toward her. Rachel’s heart sank. “What is your name?” he asked in choppy English. Some other boys and girls joined him, giggling.
Every day the kids asked Rachel the same simple question in English. It didn’t matter that they already knew her name. They just wanted to make her try to talk in Spanish. No matter what she said, they all laughed. Then they’d run off, leaving her alone.
“What is your name?” another girl repeated.
Rachel felt her face get hot. She pushed her way through the crowd and ran to her classroom.
When the day ended, she hurried to meet Mom. Rachel felt tears stinging her eyes.
“What’s wrong?” Mom asked as they began walking home.
“I don’t like school,” Rachel blurted out. “Everyone stares at me. I can’t understand what they say. I’ll never make friends.”
“Making new friends can be hard—and it can take a while,” Mom agreed. “But do you remember the blessing your dad gave you before we moved?”
Rachel thought for a minute. “He said living in Spain would be good for our whole family—especially me. And he said I would make good friends here.” She thought of how Dad’s words had given her a calm, peaceful feeling. “But how can I make friends?”
“What do you think you could do?” Mom asked.
“I can pray for help,” Rachel said.
“That’s a great idea,” Mom agreed. “I know Heavenly Father will help you, but you have to do your part too. Maybe we could work harder at speaking Spanish at home so you can learn faster.”
Rachel sighed. After a day of trying to understand everyone at school, she just wanted to come home and speak English. But she knew if she wanted Heavenly Father’s help, she would have to try her hardest too.
The next week Rachel prayed every night to make friends. And she spoke Spanish as much as possible. She even prayed in Spanish, with Dad’s help.
Soon Rachel began to notice small changes. She could understand some of her teacher’s instructions. She could pick out more words when her classmates spoke.
Then one day at recess, Rachel felt a tap on her arm.
“Hola, Rachel,” said Patricia, a girl from her class. Three other girls stood with her. Rachel cringed. Were they going to laugh at her?
“Would you like to play tag with us?” Patricia asked in Spanish.
Rachel was surprised at how easily she understood her. She waited, but nobody laughed. They seemed to mean it.
“Sí, I’d love to,” Rachel said in Spanish, a smile spreading across her face. “Gracias, Heavenly Father,” she said in her heart. She had done her part, and Heavenly Father had helped her.
You can learn Spanish too!
Hello! My name is …
¡Hola! Me llamo … (say it like “yah-mo”)
Would you like to be my friend?
¿Quieres (say it like “key-air-es”) ser mi amigo?
What is your favorite game?
¿Cuál es tu juego (say it like “huego”) favorito?
Goodbye! See you later!
¡Adiós! ¡Hasta (say it like “aw-sta”) luego!