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July/August 2011

Bombs Away! p. 16

o ls : A ide s In

The Highway Stalker El acosador de la carretera, p. 2


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B Y

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B A I L E Y

Illustrated by Shane L. Johnson

The Highway Stalker

El acosador de la carretera

The man in the pickup was up to no good.

El hombre de la camioneta no tenía buenas intenciones.

J

J

erry! Wake up!” hissed Mom. Thirteen-year-old Jerry Bonson, stretched out on the school bus seat, struggled to wake up. Jerry; his 14-year-old sister, Sandy; and Mom had been visiting Gramps in Detroit when Mom’s car had finally died. The old school bus was the only vehicle she could find on short notice that would get them back home to Rifle, Colorado. “What time is it, Mom?” “It’s the middle of the night, and we’re being followed. Wake Sandy. Maybe if the person who’s following us sees there are others in the bus, he’ll go away.” Jerry yelled at Sandy, but she was

July/August 2011

erry! ¡Despierta!” lo llamó su Mamá en tono sibilante. Jerry Bonson, de trece años de edad, estaba estirado en el asiento del bus escolar y luchaba por despertarse. Jerry, junto a su hermana de 14 años de edad, Sandy, y su Mamá, habían visitado al Abuelo en Detroit. Estando allí el automóvil de la Mamá había dejado de funcionar. El único vehículo que la Mamá pudo encontrar con poco aviso que podría llevarlos de regreso a Rifle, Colorado, fue un viejo bus escolar. “Mamá, ¿qué hora es?” “Estamos a la mitad de la noche, y alguien nos sigue. Despierta a Sandy.

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Si la persona que nos sigue ve que hay otros en el bus tal vez se aleje.” Jerry llamó a Sandy, pero estaba profundamente dormida y no la podía despertar. “Mamá, ¿cómo sabes que nos están siguiendo?” “Llegué a un área de servicio y este hombre me seguía vigilando. Cuando salí de la tienda, me siguió. Lo podía escuchar que se acercaba más y más. Di un salto en el bus y tiré la puerta para cerrarla. Traqueteó la puerta para tratar de entrar. Cuando arranqué el carro soltó la puerta y corrió a su camioneta. Nos ha seguido desde entonces.” Justo entonces las luces que alumbraban detrás del bus cambiaron y la camioneta comenzó a pasarlos.

deeply asleep, and he couldn’t wake her. “How do you know we’re being followed, Mom?” “I pulled in at a service area, and this man kept watching me. When I left the store, he followed me. I could hear him getting closer and closer. I jumped into the bus and yanked the door closed. He rattled the door, trying to get in. When I pulled out, he let go of the door and ran to his pickup. He’s been following us ever since.” Just then the lights close behind the bus swung out and began to pass. “He does this every time we come to an exit,” Mom said grimly. “Watch.” The pickup rushed ahead to the exit, then stopped beside the ramp.

How Does Prayer Work? The topic of prayer brings up all sorts of questions. “How can God read my thoughts if I pray silently?” “Are all prayers answered?” “Do I have to say certain words or do certain actions when I pray?” “If God knows everything, why should I pray?” “How can God hear everyone’s prayers at once?” I wish I had all the answers to these questions, but I don’t! I may not understand exactly how and why prayer works, but that doesn’t keep me from praying. It’s like electricity—I don’t have to understand physics to plug in my computer or microwave and take advantage of the power. Think of prayer as talking with a good friend who really cares. Just say, “God, I’d like to tell You something,” and say what’s on your mind. Then leave what happens next up to Him!

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“How do you know we’re being followed, Mom?”

“Lo hace cada vez que nos acercamos a una salida,” dijo Mamá en tono grave. “Fíjate.” La camioneta se apresuró a llegar primero a la salida, luego se detuvo al lado de la rampa. Cuando el bus escolar pasó la salida, la camioneta volvió a seguirlos. “Él tiene planes de seguirnos cuando nos bajemos—y la salida a Rifle está cerca,” dijo Mamá. Jerry comenzó a sentar algunas cosas sobre los asientos, esperando que se percibieran como personas que se estaban levantando: un maletín para guitarras con un sombrero sobre ella, una maleta, y una almohada. El perseguidor no se dejó engañar y seguía de cerca detrás de ellos. “Mamá, ¿ya oraste?” “Es una buena idea,” dijo Mamá.

“Mamá, ¿cómo sabes que nos están siguiendo?” When the school bus passed the exit, the pickup pulled in behind it again. “He plans to follow us when we get off—and the exit to Rifle is coming up soon,” said Mom. Jerry began to prop things against the seats, hoping they would look like people waking up: a guitar case with a hat on it, a suitcase, a pillow. The stalker wasn’t fooled and kept close behind them. “Mom, have you prayed?”

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Real is a Christian story magazine for young people. It is published bimonthly by Review and Herald® Publishing Association, 55 West Oak Ridge Drive, Hagerstown, MD 21740. Copyright © 2011 by Review and Herald® Publishing Association. Printed in U.S.A. SUBSCRIPTIONS: Call toll-free 1.800.456.3991 or visit www.RealMagazineOnline.org. Yearly subscription: $9.95. Unless otherwise noted, Bible texts in this issue are from the Holy Bible, New International Version. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. Unless otherwise noted, photos © 2011 Thinkstock.com.

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July/August 2011

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“That’s a good idea,” said Mom. Dear Lord, Jerry prayed silently, I don’t know this man’s intention, but it doesn’t look good. Please protect us. Just then the pickup passed them again and disappeared around the last curve before their exit. As the bus followed the pickup around the curve, Jerry saw a semitruck beside the road, surrounded by flashers. The driver waved, and Mom pulled the bus over. The semi driver called up through the closed window, “A pickup has rolled. I think the driver’s in bad shape. Can you call for help?” “This is my exit,” Mom called back. “I’ll go to the 7-Eleven and call.” She pulled back onto the highway. Mom and Jerry immediately recognized that it was the stalker’s pickup that had crashed. Soon afterward they learned that the pickup had been stolen, and its driver was an escaped convict. Jerry will never forget how God answered their prayers for protection on that dark and lonely highway.

Querido Señor, oró Jerry en silencio, desconozco las intenciones de este hombre, no parecen buenas. Por favor protégenos. Justo entonces la camioneta los pasó otra vez y desapareció por la vuelta de la última curva antes de la salida. Mientras el bus seguía la curva por donde la camioneta había ido, Jerry vió un camión de semirremolque al lado de la carretera rodeado de luces intermitentes. El conductor saludó con la mano, y Mamá apartó el bus. El conductor del camión llamó por la ventana cerrada, “Una camioneta se volcó. Creo que el conductor está grave. ¿Puede pedir ayuda?” “Esta es mi salida,” respondió Mamá. “Iré a 7-Eleven y llamaré.” Regresó de nuevo a la carretera. Mamá y Jerry se dieron cuenta inmediatamente que la camioneta del perseguidor era la que había chocado. Poco después se supo que la camioneta era robada y el conductor era un preso en fuga. Jerry nunca olvidará como Dios contestó sus oraciones pidiendo protección en aquella carretera oscura y solitaria.

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A Passion for Justice Ida’s encounter with discrimination started her on a lifelong campaign for equality. B Y

J A N E

S C H R O E D E R

Illustrated by Joe VanSeveren

O

n May 4, 1884,

Much had already changed in Ida’s 21 years. She had been born into slavery on July 16, 1862, in Holly Springs, Mississippi, during the second year of the Civil War. Holly Springs was peaceful because not much fighting took place there. Better yet, the war had ended slavery. Ida had learned to read by age 6 and had read every book she could find, including the entire Bible and William Shakespeare’s plays. At age 16 she had begun teaching school. Each Sunday evening she had mounted her big white mule and ridden out to her

Ida Wells boarded

the train from her home in Memphis, Tennessee, for the 10-mile ride to her new teaching job in Woodstock, Tennessee. It was a ride that would change her life.

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“Sir, I intend to stay right here,” Id a s aid with

for White women traveling alone. However, Ida took her seat there as she always had in the past. But as soon as the conductor saw Ida, he approached her and said, “Miss, I must ask you to move to the car assigned for Black men and women.” Ida knew that smoking was allowed in that car. She didn’t care to be around people who smoked or men who drank and swore. And besides, she knew that she had a right to sit in the ladies’ coach, because the U.S. Constitution said that state laws must protect all citizens equally. Glancing up from the book she was reading, Ida replied to the conductor in a stern voice, “Sir, I intend to stay right here!” “Is that so?” the conductor shot back.

determination. one-room school so she would be ready for class Monday morning. On Friday afternoon she’d ridden the six miles home. But now she was living with her aunt in Memphis and riding a train instead of a mule. While there was nothing unusual about a Black woman taking the train to work, it had recently become illegal in Tennessee for her to sit in the ladies’ coach. That car was reserved

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“I’ll get her out of this seat,” the conductor mumbled.

Ida ignored him and continued reading her book. Suddenly she felt a pull on her arm. “Let go of me!” she screamed. But the conductor continued trying to pull her out of her seat. Finally she bit his hand. “Take that!” she yelled. “Now go on about your business and let me alone!” The conductor wasn’t about to let a young Black woman tell him what she would do. “I’ll get her out of this seat if it’s the last thing I do,” he mumbled to himself. When the train reached the next station, he asked the baggage man and stationmaster to help him move Ida to the car for Black passengers. “She’s nothing but a troublemaker,” he told them, “and she needs to learn to follow our rules.” When the three White men began pulling on Ida’s arms, a number of White people gathered to cheer them on. “Pull harder! Pull harder!” they shouted. A few of them stood on the seats to get a better view of the ruckus. “Stop! Stop!” she cried as she braced her feet against the seat in front of her. “I have my rights!” But her plea for mercy fell on deaf ears. Rather than be forced to sit in the “colored” car, Ida chose to get off the train. With tears streaming down her face, she looked at her torn sleeves and the bruises on her arms and made a vow to seek justice, because these men had violated her civil rights. It was Ida’s first step in what would become a lifelong crusade against racial discrimination.

July/August 2011

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da filed a lawsuit against the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad and hired a White lawyer to represent her. He fought hard and did an outstanding job. On Christmas Eve, 1884, the circuit court ruled that Ida was “wrongfully ejected” from the train car. She was to receive $500 in damages. At last I’ve gotten justice, she thought. Ida was happy to have the lawsuit behind her. Now she could give her full attention to other things—or so she thought. But as far as the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad was concerned, the real battle was about to begin. Their lawyers appealed the case all the way to Tennessee’s Supreme Court. The judges ruled in favor of the mighty railroad, saying that Ida Wells intended to harass the railroad with her lawsuit. Ida was ordered to pay more than $200 in court costs. She knew the judges had based their ruling on personal prejudice against Black people. In her diary she wrote how she felt about losing her case: “O God, is there no redress [relief], no peace, no justice in this land for

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Ida describ ed the terrible

fter she had begun teaching in Woodstock, Ida had joined the Lyceum Club, which met weekly in a Memphis church. The club published its own newspaper, the Evening Star, which printed local news items, poetry, and other tidbits. At the meetings the editor read the newspaper to the members. Later, after the editor moved to Washington, D.C., Ida took on his job, even though she was still teaching school. She loved the work, and eventually the paper became so popular in the city’s Black community that many people who weren’t club members began packing the church to hear her read it. Before long, Black pastors across

conditions in the Black

schools.

us? Thou has always fought the battles of the weak and oppressed. Come to my aid at this moment and teach me what to do, for I am sorely, bitterly disappointed. Show us the way.” God did show Ida the direction she should go to fight discrimination against her people. He did this by opening a door of opportunity in a most unusual way.

Random Fact File

Weird words

You can impress your friends and flaunt your knowledge by using these words in your next conversation. When you want a small drink, ask for a nipperkin. A nipperkin is an old-fashioned unit of measurement, though historians don’t know the exact size. Or try fitting “dooking” into the conversation. Dooking is the noise ferrets make when they are happy. Have you ever seen a sardoodledum? That is a melodramatic play with a long, involved plot. If you need to impress someone, honeyfuggle them. To honeyfuggle means to flatter or sweet-talk. Politicians and car salespeople might be good at this. Or you may be twitterpated, which is to be giddy with love. That word is also used to describe people who are obsessed with Twitter, the messaging service.—Mental_Floss

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July/August 2011

Writing ab out these issues put Ida in

danger.

ease the misery and suffering of their own people. Writing about these issues brought Ida a lot of attention. It also put her in danger. In 1892, while Ida was away in Philadelphia, the Free Speech office was destroyed. Knowing it was not safe to return to her home state, Ida moved to New York, where she continued to write and speak against the cruelty and violence that many Blacks suffered at the hands of Whites. She even traveled overseas to promote the cause of justice. But despite all the attention she received for her work, she never forgot God. Throughout her life Ida continued to fulfill her Lord’s command to “seek justice” and “defend the oppressed” (Isaiah 1:17).

Wikimedia Commons

the country were asking Ida to write for their religious newspapers. She accepted the challenge and for the next few years wrote for many of their publications in some of America’s largest cities. In 1889 she became part owner and editor of two of the Memphis newspapers she was writing for. Later these papers were combined into one paper called Free Speech. Everything went well for Ida for the next two years—that is, until she ruffled the feathers of some of the school board members in Memphis. She wrote articles describing the terrible conditions in the Black schools. She pointed out that more schools were needed, many school buildings needed repair, and the quality of teaching was poor. Ida realized that by writing these articles she could lose her teaching job, so she didn’t sign them. But word eventually leaked out, and she was fired. Ida wasn’t aware of it, but God was opening another door. She loved her work as an editor so much that she decided to take a risk and write fulltime for the Free Speech newspaper. It paid off. Within a year the circulation increased from 1,500 to 4,000 copies. Soon she was making almost the same amount of money she had earned as a teacher. She wrote many articles about racial issues. Ida wasn’t afraid to criticize White people for being prejudiced against Black people or to scold Blacks who she felt didn’t do enough to help

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Ida Wells


BY MELANIE BOCKMANN

Uncool at the Pool June 29, 2009, was a hot, sticky summer day in Philadelphia. A group of day-camp kids were looking forward to cooling off in the swimming pool at the Valley Swim Club. When they arrived, however, they discovered they weren’t welcome. Some of the club staff members told them they had to leave because minorities were not allowed. Later the club president said there was concern that the group of Black and Hispanic kids would change the “complexion” of the club. Last year the U.S. Justice Department filed a lawsuit against the swim club, saying it was “illegal and inexcusable” for them to discriminate against the day campers because of the color of their skin. What does God think about racism? Does God prefer one skin color to another? Here is an example that Jesus, God’s Son, used: God’s club Planet Earth

“The kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish” (Matthew 13:47). people of every color, nationality, and language

invitation

In God’s “club” everyone is invited, no matter where they’re from or what color of skin they have. No one who wants to be part of it is ever turned away. God is the one who made us unique—and He loves the “complexion” of His club!

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Mixed-up Fish

This fish wants to turn around and head toward God’s net. Help it face the other way by moving three sticks. It is easiest to do this puzzle by creating the shape with eight matches or toothpicks and trying it for yourself. See if you can solve it before looking at the answer on page 27!

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Bombs Bombs Away!

Away! The seagull heard my angry shout and took it as a command. A S

T O L D

T

T O

K I M B E R L E Y

T A G E R T - P A U L

Illustrated by Mike Moran

he breeze from

Mom and I were in Muskegon, Michigan, visiting my dad. He was already working in the area while we waited to sell our home. Even though he came home every weekend, the separation wasn’t fun, so getting to visit him for the week had helped all of us feel much better. We had filled the days with activity

Lake Michigan

felt good. It was a cool day, yet the warm water kept the air from feeling chilly.

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quickly became addicting. What a sight it was to see the birds maneuver so close and so accurately. Yep, it was a cheap form of entertainment, but I had learned to love seagulls.

and had spent the evenings enjoying the area with Dad. Mom had taken me fishing several times at the Coast Guard pier. One night we had gone swimming in the lake, hopping the waves that rolled on forever. Feeding the gulls had become one of our favorite things to do. We would take old bread and journey down to the beach. It always surprised me when there wasn’t a gull in sight, yet as soon as we took out one slice of bread and shredded it into bite-size pieces, then threw them into the mistsprayed air, a flock of the ring-billed birds would appear immediately. The most fun part was holding a piece of bread in our hands and letting the gulls dive down to take it from our trembling fingers. It took courage the first few times, but it

I

t’s going to be fun living around here, I told myself as we neared the end of the week. I was sad to end our time in Muskegon, but Dad would be following us home for the weekend, so at least we wouldn’t be saying goodbye to him. Not yet. I prayed that our house would sell soon so we could be together again all the time. We had an hour before Dad got off of work, so Mom and I wandered down to the beach. We parked near the shelter that bordered the channel

Random Fact File

Mrs. Coade’s mysterious stone

While most natural stone sculptures erode in wind, weather, and acid rain, sculptures made of Coadestone last almost indefinitely. Coadestone was invented by Eleanor Coade in 1769. It was made from soft clay and some secret ingredients. The clay was pressed into a mold, then fired in a kiln. Mrs. Coade began her own artificial-stone manufacturing business in a time when few women ran companies. She employed children, as evidenced by the small fingerprints in the back of some of the surviving pieces of stone. She ran her Coadestone production company for 51 years. More than 200 years later about 650 pieces of Coadestone still survive. It is the toughest artificial stone ever made.—Why Does a Ball Bounce?

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the edge of the shelter. Mom sat underneath the shelter to shield herself from the sun, but I sat out in the open, enjoying the sun’s warming rays. We set up the board, and I graciously let her make the first move. Several moves later I saw that Mom was really catching on. She wasn’t just making random moves anymore—she seemed to have a plan. I studied her, then the board, before I made my next move. Just as I expected, she smiled and made a move that put me in temporary trouble. “You’re catching on.” I narrowed my eyes and looked at her. She just smiled. “Your move.” She looked out at the water and pretended indifference. I took my time and tried to formulate a plan. I wasn’t in the mood to lose. Not to Mom. Her next move put me in check, which meant that once again I was in a tight spot. By now my quick temper was getting the best of me. I started to get frustrated, and that translated into anger—rising anger.

into the lake. It was a great place to sit and stare at the beauty of God’s creation. Today Mom had a different idea. “Want to play a game of chess?” She reached into the back of the car and grabbed the wooden chess set that seemed to follow us everywhere these days. I smiled at her. Sure! If she wanted to be beaten again, I could accommodate that. “Why not?” I was already heading to the shelter, swaggering in my confidence. Mom hadn’t played chess in a long time. She had once been on the chess team at school, but she confessed it was only because a guy she had liked was on the team. She had won only one game the whole year, and it happened to be against him. Somehow things had never been the same after that. But I had learned chess at school and, needing some extra playing time, was reteaching her the art of the game. We pulled a picnic table up to

Mom was still busy laughing.

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like it was laughing too, but it just soared away. I shook the . . . well, you know . . . from my hand and stood to take assessment. The gull had managed a direct hit, from the top of my head on down. Mom was still busy laughing. I wiped my arm on the grass and asked Mom if we had any napkins. She just pointed at the car and couldn’t stop laughing. After I got all cleaned up, I thought about the seagull that had obeyed my command. And then, I had to admit, it was funny. I wondered if God had had anything to do with the seagull obeying me. It sure taught me a lesson about my anger! If you want to make Mom laugh, all you have to do is mention that day. It instantly brings out the kid in her, and off she goes, laughing as if it had just happened. As for me, I’m learning to control my temper with God’s help. I only wish I’d had a video camera going that day. Oh, the things I could do with $100,000 from America’s Funniest Home Videos!

I moved out of check only to be put back into check with her next move. By now I was really getting mad. I could barely concentrate past the rising anger.

T

he next time she checked me, I got really frustrated. I slammed my hand down next to the board and shouted just one word: “Poop!” I’d like to say that what happened next took place in slow motion. Then I would have had time to move away. But it didn’t. The seagulls that I had come to love were circling overhead, probably hoping for a handout. The one directly overhead heard my shout, and . . . well . . . it obeyed! Mom was under the shelter, so the seagull “bomb” flew straight down on me, then splattered all over the chess board. I thought Mom was going to die from laughing, if you can do that. She laughed so hard she actually cried. I immediately got up and flung myself at the seagull, who sounded

I had to admit it was funny.

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God-centered advice for your

tough problems

FOR G I RL S

BY CHARMAINE MATTHEWS

Q: A:

I’ve always been really shy, but I hate it. How can I become more outgoing?

mirror, you might practice in front of your family members and then a close friend. Make sure you are comfortable at each step before moving on. Now you are ready to practice your outgoing behavior in a social setting. Choose an event that is interesting to you. That way you’ll have something to talk about with others. Take a friend with you for support. Remember to smile! This will make you more approachable and increase the chances that others will strike up a conversation with you. With your newfound confidence, you’ll be ready to chat when they do. Finally, keep in mind this advice from the Bible: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation . . . present your requests to God” (Philippians 4:6). You can pray about everything in your life, including your shyness.

Start by realizing that shyness is not a bad thing. It’s simply a personality trait that works well for you in some situations but not in others. For example, my shyness gives me more time alone to enjoy writing. On the other hand, shyness can be a problem when it causes me to miss opportunities to make friends. So I’ve learned to turn my shyness on and off in order to make the best of any situation. You can do the same. Shyness is often rooted in a lack of self-confidence. Perhaps you are worried that you will do something embarrassing in social situations. You can overcome this by practicing. Start in your mirror. Imagine that you are at a social event. Talk and act as you would if you were not shy. Once you are comfortable in front of the

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FOR G UY BY JOSUÉ SÁNCHEZ

Q:

I want to get my own cell phone and e-mail address, but my parents won’t let me. My friend is 11 and has both! What’s your advice?

A:

S

always works, as long as they don’t break God’s rules. I’m sure they haven’t given you a cell phone for a good reason. It may be because of financial issues, which is very understandable. It may be in order to keep you out of trouble (my friend T knows what happens when you use a cell in school!). Or it may be simply because you don’t need one right now! E-mail address? Ask me the same question in a few years when you have your in-box full of spam! Believe me, you can survive without an e-mail address. Later on you will be required to have one for academic purposes, but for now it is not really necessary. Focus your energy on developing friendships and playing real-life games. The digital stuff can wait.

Tell your parents that owning a cell phone will make you smarter, better looking, and ever obedient. Tell them that children who own a cell phone automatically keep their bedroom tidy, vacuum the whole house every day, and are the first ones to take a shower in the morning. Tell them that . . . H’mmm, this may not work at all. OK, now seriously. My advice is to abide by your parents’ rules. That

I’m sure your parents haven’t given you a cell phone for a good reason.

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Ricki’s weight of guilt was dragging him down. B Y

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Illustrated by Denny Bond

R

icki shifted his weight from foot to foot. His shaking hands fumbled

with the package as he searched for a new cigarette.

The cigarette package was empty. It was hot in the back room of the store. Ricki took off his cap and wiped his wet forehead before placing the cap carefully back on his head. He ran his hand across the familiar

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came. They always came too late in this neighborhood.

boxes of car parts, oil, and transmission fluid. Manuel was barely visible as he turned the tumblers of the safe. “All right!” Carlos cried out. The last click had found its mark, and the shiny black safe swung open. Inside the safe stood rows of paper money, neatly stacked and banded together. The three boys pulled out the pillowcases they had brought with them and loaded the money into the bags. They were careful not to drop any on the floor. After emptying the safe, they clambered up the stairs and out the back of the store. They were down the street before the store alarm pierced the night. It would be awhile before the police

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he three teens burst through the door into Manuel’s empty apartment. His mother worked a night shift at a restaurant every other night. They dumped the contents of the pillowcases onto the floor and stared at the money. “That’s a lot of green,” Carlos remarked to his two friends. Manuel rubbed his face, and his eyes gleamed at the thought of their success. He ran his hands through the piles of money. Outside, sirens screamed. Ricki felt sick. He rushed into the gray bathroom in the hallway. “I don’t know about this, guys,” he told them when he emerged. The two boys stared at him. “You don’t like being rich, man?” Carlos questioned. “Yeah, but this was other people’s money. My mom’s paycheck is probably in there, and Aunt Theresa’s. You know, the whole

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and had even made some friends there. Now Ricki felt sick in his heart about robbing Mr. Dan’s store. Mr. Dan was a good guy. It didn’t seem right. Mr. Dan had trusted him. “Ricki, put this money in the safe, will you?” Mr. Dan had said one day. “Here’s the combination.” Mr. Dan had handed Ricki a piece of paper with numbers written on it.

neighborhood buys stuff there.” “You’re just feeling guilty because of your friend Maria and going to that church,” Carlos told him. Ricki also felt bad because the store they had just robbed belonged to Mr. Dan. Mr. Dan was a friend. Months earlier Mr. Dan had approached Ricki in his store. He’d noticed Ricki hanging out there day after day. “Ricki, would you like a job?” Mr. Dan had asked. “Beats just hanging out. I need someone to help out here. How about it?” Ricki had started to work in the store after school. He made a little money, but, best of all, it kept him off the street and away from the gangs. After a while Mr. Dan had asked him, “Would you like to come to church with us, Ricki?” Ricki liked Mr. Dan and hadn’t wanted to hurt his feelings. And he had been curious about the church down on the corner. Sometimes he could hear loud music through the open windows, and the preacher looked pretty cool. Ricki had fingered the watch around his neck as he thought about how to answer Mr. Dan. Ricki’s dad had given him that watch. He wore it every day. He hadn’t seen his dad in a long time. The watch helped Ricki to remember that he had a dad. “OK, Mr. Dan, I’m your man,” Ricki had said, smiling. Ricki had begun to visit the church

July/August 2011

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icki remembered the first robbery he had committed, a year ago. He hadn’t wanted to do it. “You want to be one of us, you gotta do the job,” Carlos had told him, pushing him backward into some trash cans behind the pool hall. Ricki had pulled a knife on a frightened convenience store clerk, who quickly emptied a cash register. The clerk, in a brazen move, had pushed an alarm for the local police. Ricki had heard the police sirens in the distance. The clerk had stared at Ricki, his fear a mask across his face. He had ducked Answer: Mixed-up Fish, p. 15:

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streets and passed longtime neighbors. The neighborhood where Ricki and his friends lived kept its secrets. If one son was in trouble, everyone carried the burden. Day after day Ricki struggled with what he had done. “Have some of this, Rick,” Antoine said, thrusting a smoke at Ricki. “It’ll make you feel better.” Ricki took a long drag and then threw it in the trash. He didn’t feel any better. That week every time Ricki heard a siren or saw a police car, he was afraid. When his neighbors complained about the robbery, Ricki walked away. He couldn’t even see his friend Maria anymore.

behind the glass counter, begging Ricki not to hurt him. Ricki had run down the street that day, the bag loaded with coins and bills clutched in his left hand, while his right hand still held the knife. The coins had jingled against each other in the bag. Once, Ricki had dropped his prize on the dirty sidewalk. Panicstricken, he had picked it up and run faster, convinced that he was about to go to jail.

S

o far he hadn’t gone to jail. But after the robbery at Mr. Dan’s store, Ricki moved about the neighborhood with a heavy heart. He felt the weight of guilt and sadness as he walked the

SMILE FILE

BY BRUCE ROBINSON

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“Ricki,” she told him, “God loves you. He wants to forgive you. If you’ve done something wrong, you need to trust Jesus with your heart. He’ll understand and forgive you.” Ricki began to cry. He reached around his neck for the chain that held his dad’s watch. It was gone! Then Ricki heard the sirens. This time the police were coming for him. That night Mr. Dan visited Ricki at the police station. “You dropped the watch by the safe during the robbery, Ricki. I’m not mad at you for the robbery, but I feel betrayed.” Mr. Dan stood up and walked around the table. He put his arm around Ricki’s shoulders as the young man once again began to cry. “I forgive you, Ricki. Jesus forgives me for my sins, so I’m able to forgive you. Maybe you should give Jesus a chance to work in your life.” Ricki bowed his head, and in the midst of a gloomy gray room he asked Jesus to change him from the inside out. The next few months were hard for Ricki. Juvenile hall was noisy, and the first night was scary. His mom cried when she came to visit with him. Ricki tried to tell the other kids about Jesus, and how they would feel better once they trusted Him. Not everyone wanted to listen. Still, Ricki knew God was changing him. Forgiveness felt clean.

“Tell me again, man, how is this supposed to make me happy?” he asked Carlos. “What’s wrong with you, son?” Ricki’s mother asked him one night. “Hustle now; we got to get to church.” Ricki didn’t want to go to church. He just wanted to lie in bed. He pulled his covers up higher over his head. School was no better. There was a lot of blinking and nodding, with secrets hanging in the air. Ricki felt dirty.

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ate one day Ricki walked over to the church. Pastor Rob was a great guy. He wore jeans, shaved his head, and didn’t lecture anybody. “I’ve done something real bad,” he told Pastor Rob. The pastor waited. He watched as Ricki played with his cap. Pastor Rob waited some more in the dead silence. Just then Maria walked into Pastor Rob’s office. Maria volunteered to help out in the office twice a week. The church couldn’t afford a full-time secretary, so the kids in the youth group handled different duties, such as taking phone messages or filing. “I’m ashamed to tell you,” Ricki began. Maria put down her phone messages.

July/August 2011

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Yo u Can D raw It! B Y DE NI SE MC GI LL

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You don’t need high-level drawing skills to create this picture in the empty grid. Using the letter-number guide above each square, carefully copy what is shown below into each corresponding square in the grid.

July/August 2011

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Nose

Is Dead

D in n er in an in s tan t On Venus the surface air temperature is 900ºF, meaning you could cook a 16-inch cheese pizza in nine seconds. —Natural History

A us t rali an o d d ity The pig-footed bandicoot was a marsupial the size of a kitten with long, skinny legs; one toe on each hind foot; and two toes on each front foot. The animal became extinct in 1901.—A Gap in Nature

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Fantastic Facts

PAID

The ancient Egyptians invented one of the first deodorants: wadded-up balls of pine resin placed in the armpits.—The

Babies start growing hair several months before they are born. This hair is called lanugo.—Your Hair

The Eiffel Tower was built by 230 men in just two years (1887-1889) using 18,000 pieces of iron and 2,500,000 rivets.—Big Book of

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“Say n o to B O”

Th at b aby h a s l an u go!

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Real  

The July/August 2011 issue of Real magazine, the true story magazine for young teens.

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