Tori's Story: Sleepover at the Parkers' House

by Julianne, 13, from Texas

Editor's note: Read Weslie's story "The Guest" in the August issue, then read this fun sleepover story from Julianne.

One Friday afternoon, I was gulping down my Wod-Fam-Choc-Sod at Whit's End when Olivia Parker strolled over to me.

“Hey Tori, do you want to come over tonight for a sleepover?” she asked cheerfully.

“OK! I would love to come, but I will have to ask my parent first. What will I need to bring?” I asked.

“Just bring pajamas, a change of clothes and your toothbrush and hairbrush, things like that. If your parents say yes, call me. You can come anytime around 5:00,” she said.

My parents were fine with the idea and were glad I was spending time with my friends. I got my things together and called Olivia. “I can come, I can come!” I said happily.

When we arrived, Mr. Parker and Olivia answered the door. They told my parents to pick me up around 10:00 the next morning. My parents gave me a hug and left.

I stepped into the Parkers' house and immediately took off my shoes. I looked around for the getabako, or shoe cupboard, but I couldn’t see one. Olivia noticed I looked confused and suggested I put my shoes by the door.

“Oh,” I said quietly and put my shoes down. I was a little embarrassed by this, because in Japan, we always took off our shoes and placed them in the getabako.

It was time to eat, so we went to the dinner table. Mrs. Parker had prepared a lovely meal of crispy chicken, rice, and buttery rolls. I asked Mrs. Parker, “Where are the chopsticks for the rice?”

“We don’t have any,” she said sweetly. “We normally just use a fork.”

I nodded as to say OK, but was silently disappointed. We prayed and began to eat. I was having trouble eating the rice, because I had always eaten it with chopsticks.

Matthew, Olivia’s brother, noticed I was struggling. “I think I have a pair of chopsticks in my room,” he said. He left the table and ran to his room. When he returned, he had some chopsticks in his hand and gave them to me.

I quietly said, “Thank you.” Then I had no more trouble eating my rice.

We finished dinner, played some games, watched a movie and got ready for bed. I admitted to Olivia that I was really used to my family's traditions and sometimes forget where I am. It makes me feel like the odd one out.

“I understand,” she said. “Sometimes I feel like the odd one out. Then I remember, God doesn’t focus on your appearance or where you’re from, He looks at the heart.”

I thought about that for a while. Then I realized, God has never looked at me as the odd one out, He looks at me as His special child. With this thought in my head, I went to sleep.

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