Katie lived in Papua New Guinea with her Daddy, Mummy and her sister Lucy. Daddy was a teacher at the Mission School.
Life was not easy for Katie’s family. There were lots of jobs to do. Katie tried to help Mummy whenever she could.
Today, Mummy was going to do the laundry. First Mummy, Lucy and Katie had to carry water from the tank beside the school. Mummy had a big bucket and Katie and Lucy had little buckets. Sometime Lucy spilt her water, but Mummy would smile and say, “Every little bit helps.”
First, the water was poured in the big pot over the fire. Mummy would wait until the water boiled so she could pour it back into the tub and begin washing the clothes.
Katie and Lucy were playing tag as Mummy worked. Katie skipped around the tub of boiling water and laughed as Lucy reached for her. Suddenly there was a splash and then a scream.
Lucy had fallen backwards into the boiling water.
“Katie,” Mummy had yelled, “run to the school and tell Daddy to come quick for an emergency.”
Katie had never run so fast in her life as she ran that morning. Daddy left his class and brought the old jeep around to the house as quick as he could. Then he ran and helped Mummy with Lucy. Katie went and hid behind the house to cry.
They all went in the jeep on the long, bumpy ride to the mission hospital. The doctors were very good, and said Lucy would be sore for a while, but she would be all right. One of the nurses came in with a beautiful yellow balloon to help Lucy feel better. Katie smiled at the nurse, hoping that maybe she could have a balloon too.
“I’m sorry sweetie,” the nurse replied, “I’d give you a balloon too but you can’t get them here. My brother sent this one to me from Australia. I’m sure your sister will share with you.”
Mummy and Daddy were busy with Lucy all day. Katie sat outside by herself. Sometimes she cried a little. She wanted Lucy to feel better, but she also wanted a beautiful balloon all for herself. Blue was Katie’s favourite colour and she imagined she had a beautiful blue balloon, but imagining wasn’t the same as really having one.
Lucy had to stay at the hospital for the night. Daddy, Mummy and Katie drove back to their village after dinner that evening.
After Katie’s Bible story that night she began her bedtime prayers.
“Dear Jesus, please look after Lucy and help her to get better soon. Thankyou for Daddy and Mummy, and thankyou for the blue balloon you are going to send me.”
As she climbed into bed, Mummy kissed her and then said, “Katie, darling, balloons are very hard to get here. It might be a long time before Jesus can send your balloon to you.”
Katie nodded, trying not to cry. She really wanted her balloon soon.
As Katie lay in bed trying to sleep, she listened to the soft hum of Mummy and Daddy’s voices in the next room. Suddenly, there was a knock at the front door.
“Who could that be?” she heard Daddy say, and then there was the sound of the door opening.
“Hello, Harry.” Katie heard the voice of their neighbour say. “The mail plane was in today with a delivery. There was some mail there for you so I thought I’d bring it over. It looks like a letter from home.”
Katie heard a rustle of paper and then a gasp.
“Oh, Harry, look what it is,” Mummy said.
A moment later Daddy and Mummy were beside her bed.
“Katie, honey, are you still awake?” Mummy whispered. Katie sat up. Mummy had tears in her eyes and Katie threw her arms around her neck.
“Jesus loves you lots Katie,” Daddy said. “Look what just came for you in a letter from Granny and Grandpa.” Katie twisted around to see what Daddy was holding.
It was a beautiful blue balloon, exactly the colour she had been imagining.
Author's note: This is based on a true story, although names and details have been changed. To her parent’s surprise, a blue balloon arrived within an hour of a little girl’s prayer from a remote area of the highlands of Papua New Guinea.
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