The Rubik's Cube

Writer Author  Ruth Willms
Christian Article : Children  - Fiction  Yes

Christian Author Writer Guy was terrified. He did not want to go to Ghana. He did not want to leave his friends behind in Calgary. If he wasn't an only child it wouldn't be so bad. He did not want to hang out with kids that spoke a strange language and he didn't want to eat their yucky food.

His parents were missionaries. During the last twelve months they had been preparing to go to Ghana to share Jesus with the people who lived there. Guy could not convince them to leave him in Canada with his Uncle Harry and Aunt Sylvia. His parents insisted that a twelve year old boy belonged with his parents no matter where they lived.

When they arrived and got settled, everything Guy was afraid of turned out to be true. He hated everything. Instead of staying in a posh hotel room like when they were on vacation, they lived in a mud hut. The food was weird and hard to eat and made of things most Canadian kids don't eat; like the Tuo Zanfi made from millet. He didn't mind the fried plantains as much which were served with a spicy bean sauce.

He was used to being with people of different cultures and skin colors. After all, Calgary had a very diverse population. But here he was the minority. He was the only white boy.
Everything felt very strange to him. None of the other kids spoke English. He couldn't talk with them even if he had wanted to. And they smelled different then his friends back home.

He felt sick most of the time because his body wasn't adjusting too well to his new diet and he didn't sleep well at night. The noises in the night were so different here; they kept him awake. Sometimes it sounded like the birds and bigger animals were right outside his open window which was covered only with a loosely hanging screen. Guy worried that the scorpions and tarantulas in the bushes would invade the hut and his bed. At least the ants couldn't climb into his bed. He had a raised bed and each of its four legs stood immersed in a pail of water to discourage the ants from joining him as they marched across the dirt floor.

Guy stayed in the hut every day as his parents went out and taught the people of the village. Even though he heard them talking and laughing as they told the stories about Jesus, Guy remained stubborn and would not leave the hut.

He just sat there every day for a week and played with his Rubik's cube. He loved it. It was the one thing that made him happy. He tried so hard to solve it. No matter what he tried he just couldn't figure it out. But it kept his mind off Ghana and everything he had left behind in Calgary.

Thursday morning, just like the other mornings, Guy got up and ate breakfast with his parents. But today the plantains tasted good. He actually liked them and ate more than usual. His stomach didn't hurt. He realized his body must be getting used to the Ghana food.

At seven his parents left for work. They told him they were going to the church site to see how the building was coming along. Later they would be teaching the people more Bible stories and then working on Bible translations.

Guy watched Marta, their hired maid, clear the table and sweep the floor. After she went outside to wash the dishes by the well, Guy got ready for his day. He went to the shelf by his bed to get his Rubik's cube. He couldn't see it.

He pulled his books and trophies off the shelf. He thought maybe the Rubik's cube had slipped behind them. He looked longingly at the largest trophy. He remembered how proud he felt when his team won it at the provincial soccer tournament. Since he was the captain, his teammates let him take it to Ghana with him.

But where was his Rubik's cube? Right now it was his best friend. Playing with it kept him from feeling lonely. He looked in his suitcase in case he had put it in there absent mindedly last night before he went to bed. It wasn't there. He pulled the sheets and pillows off his bed and even checked under the mattress. But the Rubik's cube was no where to be found.

Guy felt frantic. He looked everywhere in the hut. Then he looked out the window and out the door in case someone had thrown it out. He thought Marta might have tried solving it and thrown it away.

Suddenly he remembered. The night before, his mom has asked him to go outdoors for awhile to get some fresh air. He had found a tree stump down the hill from the hut. It got dark quickly and he couldn't see the cube clearly enough to play with it. The sounds of monkeys in the trees had startled him and he had run home. He must have left the Rubik's cube on the stump. He hoped the monkeys hadn't picked it up.

Guy decided he would have to go find it. Cautiously he peeked out the door. The village seemed quiet. He left the hut and walked down the hill toward the stump. Then he stopped. He saw a boy about his size, sitting on the stump playing with something in his hands.

As Guy came closer the boy looked up. He was holding Guy's Rubik's cube. The Ghana youth grinned at him and held out the cube. Guy liked his friendly smile and grinned back.

Slowly Guy walked up to him. The boy twisted the Rubik's cube skillfully and looked at him for approval. Guy watched the patterns the boy was making.

"No not that way, this way," he heard himself saying and before he knew it, he had sat down beside his new friend. The two boys became engrossed in trying to solve the Rubik's cube. Guy couldn't resist helping the boy. It was clear that he loved the Rubik's cube just as much as Guy did and that made him just like Guy, not a foreign person at all.

The boys played for hours. Guy thought he was teaching his friend the logic of the Rubik's cube. Suddenly the boy laughed. He had solved the puzzle. He spoke excitedly to Guy in his own language, jumping up and down. Guy grabbed the Rubik's cube.

"You solved it!" he shouted with amazement. "I never saw anyone solve it before! That's amazing!" Guy said excitedly. He pounded the boy on the back, showing his sincere respect for what he had done. Then he mixed it up.

"Let's see if you can do it again," he challenged him.

Right away his new friend set to work. Guy watched tensely as an athlete, cheering in his heart for his new friend to finish the puzzle. He didn't see his dad and Mr. Johnson, the missionary he worked with, approaching them.

"What are you two doing?" he dad asked.

"Hi Dad! Hi Mr. Johnson. It's amazing! He solved it! He solved the Rubik's cube. He's awesome! I've never seen anyone solve it before." Guy stopped talking. Now his friend was jumping up and down shrieking with laughter.

"He solved it again!" Guy shouted and pounded his friend's back even harder this time. "You're amazing, you know that! You're smarter than anyone I know. How did you do that?"

His new friend didn't understand a word Guy said but he knew Guy was pleased with him. Both boys did 'hi fives' and rolled on the ground, laughing.

When they calmed down, Mr. Johnson introduced Guy to his new friend, Ramda. He interpreted for them as they talked to each other about the things they each enjoyed. Guy told Ramda about his soccer team and hockey games while Ramda told Guy about his love of baseball and tennis. After a while Mr. Johnson excused himself saying he had to get back to work but not before Ramda promised Guy he could join him and his friends in playing baseball on Saturday.

As Mr. Johnson walked him back to his hut, Guy asked," What did Ramda say to you as he was leaving?"
"Well Guy," Mr. Johnson said, "he told me to thank you for playing with him and he made an observation about the Rubik's cube."

"Oh, what did he say?" Guy asked with excitement. "He's so good at it. I want to know his secret."

"It's not a secret. He said it isn't as hard as it looks," Mr. Johnson replied and winked. "And you know Guy; the same is true of sharing your faith. By just being a friend, as you are being with Ramda, even if you are enjoying it and it seems natural, you are sharing your faith. All you have to do is not hide what you know about Jesus and let God guide you in acts of kindness and doing things with Ramda."

"Well, I want that for sure. Thanks Mr. Johnson. I'll let God show me how to share Jesus with Ramda. I want him in heaven too. One reason is because I want him to be happy," Guy said, meaning every word.

Looking at him askance, Mr. Johnson asked," What is the other reason?"

"Well, so I will have him there to play with me." Guy laughed.

Editor's Comment:

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State: Alberta
Country: Canada
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