“Jump-Start,” Friend, Apr. 1996, 46


My help cometh from the Lord (Ps. 121:2).

José felt Carmella nudge his ribs. “We’re going to be late for school!”

“I don’t care. I don’t want to go, anyway.”

“Why not?” Carmella’s mouth dropped open in surprise. “You like school.”

José sighed. “We’re having a review test in math today, and I’m afraid I’ll forget everything.”

Soon the children were waiting in the car for their father. When he got in and turned the key in the ignition, nothing happened. The car just sat there.

“It’s probably the battery,” he said. He went back into the house to call an auto repair shop.

The bright blue tow truck arrived very quickly. Jim’s Auto Service was printed in red letters on its door. Out jumped a smiling man in a red cap and blue coveralls. Those, too, had his name on the front pocket.

“Now then, let’s see if we can get you folks on your way,” he boomed, looking under the hood.

“Is it broken?” asked José.

Jim shook his head. “Nope. It just needs a jump-start.”

“A jump-start!” Carmella giggled. “What a funny name. Do you jump up and down on it to make it go?”

“Now wouldn’t that be a sight?” Jim’s laughter rumbled in his chest. “We want to start it—not crush it!” Then he explained, “If the battery is low, sometimes it needs help to turn the motor over.”

Carmella hopped out of the car to watch, her wide brown eyes full of wonder. She’d never seen anyone turn over a motor before. “You must be very strong!”

“No, no!” he laughed. “We don’t actually turn it over. That’s just an expression. It means ‘start the motor.’ That’s what these are for.”

He hooked up fat black and red cables between his truck and their car. “Once we get it running, it’ll do just fine.”

Sure enough, the motor was soon humming with quiet power.

“You’d better bring it in for a battery charge, though,” Jim cautioned.

José and Carmella got to school in plenty of time, but that didn’t cheer up José. He felt just the way he had when he had the flu last winter—miserable! His stomach seemed all knotted up, and his head ached. He just knew that he wasn’t going to pass the test.

When he and Carmella got home that afternoon, their mother gave them each a hug. They kissed their brother, Miguel, who drooled happily at them from his high chair, and sat at the kitchen table for their after-school snack.

“How did your big math test go, José?” Mother asked. “I know you were nervous about it.”

“Boy, was I ever! And when Miss Chung passed out those test papers, I couldn’t remember anything I’d learned. I thought if I could just get started, I’d be OK, but I kept looking at the test and all the problems seemed so hard. It was as though I couldn’t move. I sure couldn’t think!”

“What’d you do?”

“I said a prayer. Right away, I found a problem I could solve. Then I finished another one and another one. Everything came back into my mind. Pretty soon I was done. It wasn’t so awful, after all.”

“Wow!” Carmella was impressed. “That was neat! What did you say in your prayer?”

José licked the milk-moustache from his upper lip. His eyes twinkled. “I told Heavenly Father that I could really do all right if He would please give me a jump-start—and He did!”

Illustrated by Mark Robison