Jumping Rope with Emma

    “Jumping Rope with Emma,” Friend, Nov. 2012, 4–5

    Jumping Rope with Emma

    Oh, come with me to Primary (Children’s Songbook, 255).

    “Emma goes to our church?” I asked Sister Taylor. I was surprised that she had called Emma’s name while taking roll.

    “Do you know Emma?” Sister Taylor asked me.

    “She’s in my class at school, but I’ve never seen her at church,” I said.

    “Maybe you should invite her to come with you sometime, Maddie,” Sister Taylor said with an encouraging smile.

    I nodded my head slowly. I didn’t know Emma very well. We played with different friends at recess. I was afraid to invite Emma to church. What if she said no? But as I thought about it, the Holy Ghost helped me feel calm inside. I knew I needed to try.

    The next day at recess I saw Emma jumping rope. I grabbed a jump rope and joined her. We jumped faster and faster, laughing when our feet got tangled in the rope.

    “Emma,” I said, untangling my feet, “I didn’t know we were members of the same church.”

    “Mormon?” Emma asked.

    “Yes. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” I said.

    She started jumping again. “I was baptized when I was younger, but my family stopped going to church.”

    I knew I should ask her to go to church with me, but my stomach felt like it was a tangled jump rope. I remembered I had promised myself I would try, so I swallowed the lump in my throat.

    “Would you like to go to church with me?” I asked.

    Emma stopped jumping. “Sure. If my mom says it’s OK.”

    After school I told my mom what had happened at recess.

    “Let’s call her mom and ask,” Mom said, picking up the phone. She talked to Emma’s mom for a few minutes and then hung up. “She said that would be fine,” Mom said. “We can pick up Emma before church and take her home when we’re done.”

    I was excited when Sunday came. We drove up to Emma’s apartment. She looked nervous in her pink dress. In sacrament meeting she whispered to me, “I don’t remember what to do.”

    I whispered back to Emma reminding her what to do with the sacrament bread and water. During Primary I sat next to Emma, and when we got to class I introduced her to the rest of the children.

    “We are so happy to have you here,” Sister Taylor said.

    By the time class was over, Emma wasn’t nervous anymore. She had a big smile on her face.

    I invited Emma to church and Primary activities whenever I could. She came more and more often. The children in our Primary got to know her, and soon Emma had many new friends.

    One Sunday, Emma stopped me after sacrament meeting. She was with a woman who had brown hair that matched hers.

    “Maddie, I want you to meet someone,” Emma said. “This is my mom.”

    “Thank you for being a good friend to my daughter,” Emma’s mom said to me with a smile.

    I smiled back. I was glad Emma was my friend too.

    Illustration by Mark Robison