Jaechan’s First Day

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“Jaechan’s First Day,” Friend, January 2021

Jaechan’s First Day

Was this the right way? Jaechan felt all mixed up.

“I sought the Lord, and he heard me” (Psalm 34:4).This story takes place in Gyeonggi-do, South Korea.


Happy music played as Jaechan and Mom got up from their seats in the school gym. Bunches of bright balloons floated along the walls as the other kids and their parents talked excitedly.

Tomorrow was the first day of school, and in South Korea new students always went to a special program to celebrate the start of school. As he listened to the songs and speakers, Jaechan felt excited. He couldn’t wait to start learning!

After the program, Mom and Jaechan walked down the school halls. When they got to his classroom, Jaechan met his teacher. She seemed really nice.

Later Mom and Jaechan walked outside into the warm spring sunshine. Even the sun and the sky seemed happy for school to start.

The next morning, Mom walked Jaechan to the school gate. She hugged him tight. “I love you,” she said. “Have a good first day.”

“I will,” Jaechan said. “I love you too!” He waved goodbye and turned to walk to his classroom, just like they had practiced.

As Jaechan walked down the hall, he started to worry. Is this the right way? Jaechan stopped and looked around. He turned and walked down a different hall. Soon everything felt all mixed up.

Jaechan took a deep breath. He knew he had been in this hallway yesterday. He kept walking and went through a big set of doors.

But Jaechan didn’t see his classroom, with desks and friends and his nice teacher. He saw the gym. And now there were no people or balloons. It was just a big empty room.

Tears filled Jaechan’s eyes. He tried not to panic, but he was scared. He didn’t know how to find his classroom. He knelt to pray. “Heavenly Father, I’m lost. Please help Mom to come find me and help me get to my class.”

Jaechan stood up. He took a few more deep breaths. Then he waited.

A few minutes later, Mom came around the corner. “Jaechan!” She ran to him and held him close. “What happened?”

Jaechan burst into tears. He was so relieved to see Mom. “I couldn’t find my classroom,” he said. “So I prayed that you would come find me.”

Mom wiped the tears from his cheeks. “I’m glad you said a prayer,” she said. “I was on my way home. Then I had a feeling that I should turn around and make sure you found your classroom. When you weren’t there, I looked all over. Then I found you!”

Jaechan held Mom’s hand as they walked down the right hallway. Jaechan had stopped crying. He knew Heavenly Father had answered his prayer, and everything was OK. When they got to the classroom, he heard the other kids inside laughing and having fun.

“Jaechan! We are so happy to see you,” Jaechan’s teacher said as he walked in.

“Thanks,” Jaechan said with a small bow. He gave Mom one more hug. It was going to be a good first day of school after all.

Friend Magazine, Global 2021/01 Jan

Illustrations by Shane Clester