“Where Are They?” Friend, July 2003, 43
Eleven-year-old Christine hurried out of the gas station. She knew she needed to be fast—her family was waiting. She threaded her way through the aisles and out the doors. She stopped.
They were gone!
At the gas pump where her family’s beige van had been was a small red sports car. Her stomach flipped. “Where are they?” she asked herself, trying not to panic.
She scanned all of the parking spaces. No van and no family. She walked around to the other side of the gas station to check the gasoline pumps there. Several 18-wheeler trucks were filling up with diesel fuel. “The van would be hard to miss,” she thought. “A beige 15-passenger van pulling a trailer isn’t going to just disappear.”
She looked toward the highway. A green car followed by a blue minivan zoomed past. Other cars hurried on to their destinations. Still no sign of her family’s van.
Only ten minutes before, Christine had jumped out of the van at the gas station. Dad had been filling it up with gas, her younger brothers had been trying to clean its almost-too-tall windows, and Mom had been coming back from taking three-year-old Mark to the rest room. Mom had told everyone that if they needed to use the rest room, they’d better do it now.
Her family was driving to Utah for a family reunion, and they had only started their two-day drive that morning. Christine knew that the next time they’d stop would be for lunch, so she had run inside to use the rest room.
She walked around the gas station once more, hoping to see them. Vehicles of all sizes were coming and going, but none of them looked like her family’s van.
Feeling very alone, she walked to the back of the gas station and saw a covered deck and several picnic tables. She slowly climbed the steps to the deck and sat down. From here she could see all the highway traffic.
Fear crept into her heart as she watched people coming and going. “I hope nothing is wrong with them,” she thought. “I hope that they miss me soon.”
A small rainstorm passed by. She moved to a different corner of the picnic area so that she wouldn’t get wet.
She bowed her head and whispered, “Dear Heavenly Father, please bless my family to come back and get me. Please bless that they are OK. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.”
When Christine looked up, the rainstorm had cleared and the sun was out. Her fear and loneliness left, and she felt that her family would be back for her soon.
After walking around the gas station again to see if she had missed seeing them return, she went back to the deck, sat down, and waited. Remembering the feeling that she had felt after praying, she stopped fretting.
Soon, a beige 15-passenger van pulling a trailer came down the highway. God had answered her prayer.
She ran to the front of the gas station to meet her family. They pulled up, and she jumped into the van to the welcoming chorus of her brothers and sisters.
Mom turned sideways in the front seat to give her a hug. “I’m so glad you’re OK. When we realized you had been left behind, we were so worried!”
“Well, I’m OK. I said a prayer that you would come back,” Christine replied.
“I’m glad you remembered to pray,” Mom said. “From now on we’ll be more careful to not leave anyone behind.”
Christine looked out the window as the gas station gradually disappeared. Silently she thanked Heavenly Father for bringing her family back to get her.
“There is no place for fear among men and women who place their trust in the Almighty. … In prayer we can find reassurance, for God will speak peace to the soul.”
President Ezra Taft Benson (1899–1994)
(Ensign, Feb. 1990, 5.)