The Girl Who Did Not Laugh
When the other children laughed at Vladimir, why didn’t Julia laugh?
Vladimir (vlah-Dee-meer) and his family live in a little town in Ukraine, a country in Eastern Europe. His father is a shoemaker and his mother is a teacher. The family has a big garden full of vegetables and fruit. They also have chickens, ducks, and goats. Vladimir also helps his parents weed the garden and care for the animals. There is little time to play, but Vladimir does not mind. He likes to help his parents.
Vladimir and his family read their Bible together. They love to tell others about Jesus’ love. Vladimir likes to play the guitar and sing; he especially likes songs about God. Vladimir wants Jesus to come again soon. But he knows that Jesus will not come till everyone has a chance to hear about Jesus and choose whether they want to live with him forever. Whenever he can Vladimir shares his love for Jesus with people he meets—with his classmates and with people he meets on the train, while waiting for the bus, or while walking along the street.
One day the teacher told the students to read something they liked and prepare to tell the class about what they had read.
Vladimir decided to read the Sermon on the Mount from the Bible. He read it several times to be sure he remembered all of it.
The next day the children stood and reported to the class about what they had read. When it was Vladimir’s turn, he stood and told about Jesus’ famous sermon. The classroom was silent as he began explaining what Jesus taught long ago. Then suddenly someone started to laugh. Then other children laughed. Vladimir continued his report. The teacher told the students to be quiet, but some children continued to snicker a Vladimir. Vladimir felt sad that his friends did not respect Jesus. He did not understand why they laughed at God’s word.
But one girl did not laugh; she sat quietly and listened. After class Julia (YOOL-yah) Julia told Vladimir that she liked his report. Then she asked if he had book about Jesus that she could read. Vladimir reached into his backpack and pulled out his New Testament and gave it to Julia.
That evening Vladimir told his parents what had happened in class. He told them how the children had laughed but how Julia wanted to know more about Jesus. “We must pray for the children who laughed,” Mother suggested. “And we will pray for Julia too.”
That same evening Julia told her mother what had happened at school. She showed her mother the New Testament that Vladimir had given her. Mother and Julia read the New Testament together. They both wanted to know about God.
A few days later Vladimir gave Julia another book, then another. Julia and her mother read the books together. They were glad to learn about Jesus.
New friends, new faith
Vladimir invited Julia and her mother to meet his parents. The two families became friends. They went on hike, had picnics, and spent quiet times just talking. Julia liked to sing while Vladimir played his guitar.
Julia and her mother asked a lot of questions about God, and Vladimir’s family happily answered each question. “What is the difference between our traditional Christian faith and the seventh-Day Adventist faith?”
Julia’s mother asked. Vladimir’s parents explained that Seventh-Day Adventists try to follow the Bible in everything they believe and do. They showed her from the Bible why they worship on Saturday and why they live as they do.
Julia and her mother began attending worship with Vladimir’s family. A few months later they gave their lives to Jesus and were baptized. Now Julia and her mother worship God and thank Him for everything. They are glad that Vladimir did not stop talking that day in class when the other children were laughing at him.
Vladimir is glad that he helped two people to be part of God’s family. He likes being a missionary and sharing God’s love with people who do not know about Jesus. He still tells people he meets about God’s love, whether it is at school, on the street, or in his home. If we all follow Vladimir’s example, soon everyone will have heard that God loves them, and we can go to heaven. Wouldn’t that be wonderful?