Better than Hopscotch

By Kathryn Lewis

(Based on a true story)

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Why couldn’t Emma miss church just this once?

“I want to tell my friends about our church and the happiness it brings to me” (Children’s Songbook, 168).

Better than Hopscotch

“One, two, three, skip four, and five!” Diane chanted as she hopped and skipped down the hopscotch squares. Now that school was out, she could play outside every day with her friend Laura. Diane teetered on one foot, then giggled. As she regained her balance, she noticed a girl she had never seen before walking over from the house next door.

“My name’s Emma,” the girl said. “Can I play with you?”

“Sure!” Diane said. Laura grinned and nodded.

The three girls laughed and played all morning long. Emma was a lot of fun to be around! When she told Diane and Laura that she was visiting her grandparents for two weeks, the girls decided to play together every day.

But on Saturday, Emma told Diane and Laura that she wouldn’t be playing with them the next day.

“Why not?” Laura asked.

“I go to church every Sunday morning, then spend time with my family,” Emma explained. “I’m a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”

Diane frowned. “Can’t you miss church just this once?” she asked. They didn’t have many days left to play together.

“I don’t want to miss church,” Emma said. “I love going. We have a fun meeting called Primary that’s just for kids. We sing and listen to stories about Jesus and the prophets.”

Diane and Laura looked at her doubtfully. It sure didn’t sound as fun as hopscotch.

“You could both come with me, if you wanted,” Emma said.

“Um, no thanks,” Diane said.

“Nah,” Laura said.

But on Monday, Diane asked Emma to tell them more about her church. She and Laura both wondered how it could possibly be more fun than playing on Sunday.

“Yesterday I heard stories from the Book of Mormon.” Her friends looked puzzled. “It’s a book like the Bible and has lots of scriptures and stories about Jesus,” Emma explained. “When I pray about the stories, I feel happy and I know that Heavenly Father is telling me they’re true.”

For two weeks the girls played together almost every day. It felt like they had always been friends. The days passed quickly, and then it was time for Emma to go home. She was sad to leave, and Diane and Laura were sad to see her go. They watched and waved as Emma drove away with her family.

“I didn’t really understand everything she was telling us about her church,” Laura said.

“Me neither,” Diane said. “But I felt good when she was talking about it.”

“Yeah,” Laura said.

Many years later, Diane had a friend named Lynn who was taught by missionaries. Diane saw how happy Lynn was. At Lynn’s baptism, Diane heard the name “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.” She remembered her friend Emma. That was the name of the church Emma went to!

Diane wanted to know more. She read the Book of Mormon and asked Heavenly Father if it was true. She felt happy, just like Emma had said she would. On the day of her baptism, she was so thankful for Emma, the friend who told her about the Church while playing hopscotch.