Fred E. Frog waited impatiently for his guest to hop off the huge 747.
Fred D. Frog poised on the platform with his tiny suitcase—and then, with one huge leap, was beside his old buddy.
What a happy reunion!
Fred D. Frog’s missionary friend, Sally, took the long way, following a line of passengers down the metal staircase.
She excitedly waved at her cousin. Penelope—everybody called her Penny for short—waved back.
“Welcome to Africa!” called Penny.
“Greetings from Ecuador!” exclaimed Sally, dropping her carry-on and giving Penny a big hug.
The frogs hopped over, so that they wouldn’t lose their friends. Fred D. got up onto Sally’s carry-on, and Fred E. leaped up to Penny’s shoulder.
Inside, they waited for Sally’s baggage. The frogs were interested in the conveyor belt that passed round and round while people grabbed their suitcases. Fred E. was just thinking that it might be fun to ride on it when….suddenly there was a scream!
“A frog! There’s a frog on your shoulder!”
“Oh!” In the excitement, Penny quickly covered Fred E. with her hand and scooped him into her pocket.
“There’s another one!” cried a little girl, gleefully. “That one’s brown!”
Sally grabbed Fred D. in two fingers and slipped him into her large purple purse. She left it open a little so he would have plenty of air. “How did you get out!” she murmured.
Fred E. heard his friend’s muffled reply, “because it was so hot and stuffy in here!”
“I could have lost you!” scolded Sally.
Fred E. croaked from Penny’s pocket. “Don’t worry—soon we’ll be home and we can jump and explore all we want. We’ll just have to watch out for the crocodiles.”
“Crocodiles! I thought I was getting away from the crocodiles. You have them here in Africa, too?”
“We have lots of animals that you don’t have in Ecuador—elephants and giraffes and lions and—oh lots of things,” replied Fred E.
“But yes, I’m afraid we have crocodiles—and of course, there’s monkeys everywhere. We have to watch them—they’re mischievous.”
“Ours, too—always playing tricks! And teasing us because we can’t swing in trees. And chatter— they just cannot keep quiet!”
“I know! But we can swim and leap long distances!”
Both frogs gave a loud croak of excitement, and both missionaries said, “shhhh!”
“At least until we get out of the airport!” added Penny.
Soon they were deep in the bush country, swimming about happily in Fred E.’s favorite pond.
“I liked riding in that little plane,” said Fred D. “We have MAF pilots back in Ecuador, too. They’re more fun than the pilots in the big planes—they don’t mind a couple of frogs riding along.”
Fred E. shuddered. “I hitched a ride once on a little Cessna. I wanted to see something different than this same old water hole—but when I hopped out—it was scary. Big planes, little planes! I hid in the hangar. It took a week for me to find the right plane and get back home. My pond never looked so good.”
Fred D. had gone around with Sally to meet everyone. He hopped into the clinic and
saw the doctor. Then they found the Bible Translator hard at work in the office.
“All the men are away,” said Fred E. ” They’ve gone to check out the site for the new orphanage. And they’re going to stop by the village and have a worship service. That’s always fun–I love to sing….”
“Ho,” croaked a neighbor nearby. “The village people sing a lot better than you do!”
That’s okay,” laughed Fred E. “The Bible says to make a joyful noise and that’s what I’m doing!”
Suddenly screeches and happy shouts filled the air.
“Come on!” exclaimed Fred E. “The kids are coming. Want to hear a story?”
They quickly hopped toward the village, where the missionaries were welcoming the African children. They all sat down in front of Penny’s hut.
“There you are!” she exclaimed, when she saw the frogs. “Come on, you guys. It’s time for Bible Club!”
Fred E. already knew most of the children. Sally had brought lots of new games and stories. Fred D. knew the boys and girls would like them.
The kids were a little different than the children at home in Ecuador—they had darker skin and some of the girls wore one long strip of cloth, tied around them to make a dress. Most of the boys had on shorts and t-shirts, but some wore African tunics. Many had beads, tattoos, or nose rings.
At home in Ecuador, the girls often wore white blouses and blue skirts—or a pretty flowered ones. The boys wore big straw hats—and one and all had brightly woven ponchos or shawls when it was chilly.
But kids everywhere seemed to love to sing, play games, and listen to stories. They were pretty good at reciting Bible verses, too.
In the midst of it all, Fred D. noticed one boy who was not having much fun, it seemed. He didn’t want to sing or play games.
“He’s shy,” said Fred E. “And very sad—but he likes to listen and watch everybody else.”
Fred D. quietly hopped over to the boy. He squatted right in front of him, looking up with his big eyes.
The boy saw him! And smiled just a little.
Fred D. croaked, “hello!” and the boy opened his hands and Fred D. hopped into them. The boy didn’t just smile—he laughed right out loud as the frog croaked again.
“Miss Penny, did God make every animal?” asked one of the children, for they’d been talking about God creating the world.
“Yes—all kinds of animals.” She pointed back to the little boy holding the frog. “We already met Fred D. all the way from Africa. He looks a little different from our own Fred E. from our own pond. Miss. Sally thinks God, the Creator, had a lot of fun making all the different kinds of animals. We have giraffes with long necks, elephants with funny trunks, zebras with black and white stripes. And we all know how crazy monkeys can be.”
“Come gather round and see an animal you may have never seen before! Sally flashed a picture on her solar powered laptop. “They’re so funny.”
“Come on,” Fred D. croaked. “Let’s go see! They’re penguins.”
The little boy that held him didn’t understand what he was saying, of course, but he suddenly got up, the happy smile still on his face, and crowded in to see.
Later the frogs stayed around the hut, listening as the missionaries caught up on all the news of the day.
“What would we do with out Fred D. and Fred E.” asked Penny looking fondly over at them. ““I’ve never been able to get Jabir to join the group—or even smile.”
The frogs croaked back, happily. It was going to be a fun vacation!
Suddenly the doctor rushed in. “The men just called–not on their cell phones–they’re not working for some reason. They used the radio. There’s been a mudslide. No one was hurt but there’s a big mess. They’re going to stay and help for a day or two.”
The technician from the clinic appeared at the door. “Come quick, they just brought in a boy that fell out of a tree. His leg’s broken–in several places–you may have to operate.”
“Come help, Penny. We may need you,” said the doctor.
The Bible translator overheard. “My satellite link is down. I can’t do anymore work right now. How about if I start supper?”
“I’ll help,” said Sally.
The frogs hopped back to the water hole, where a friendly hippo was half submerged in water.
They told him all about their day. “That’s the way it is on an African mission station,” said Fred. E. “Always good and bad things going on.”
“Same in Ecuador,” replied Fred D.
“Let’s hope it will be better tomorrow….”
To be continued….
By Carol Bennett
MAF stands for-Mission Aviation Fellowship. Check out Charlie, the Missionary Plane