God’s Goats

By Debbonnaire Kovacs

MacKenzie Isabelle Evans had a pen pal! Clutching her first letter from her new friend, she raced out her back door to go and show Joseph. Then she stopped. Slowly and carefully, she made her way across to Joseph’s house. She was almost there when Joseph’s back door opened. She heard Joseph call, “G. M., come here quick! It’s Mac, and she’s not running!”

Mac looked up. G. M. put her head out the door behind Joseph and grinned. “Open the door wide and stand back,” she advised. “She’ll burst in all directions as soon as she gets here.”

Mac giggled. “Even I can’t run on all this ice!” she explained, holding the railing tightly as she climbed Joseph’s slippery steps. She jumped through the door and bounced around the room, waving her letter and talking twice as fast as usual to make up for her snail-like arrival. “I have a pen pal! Her name is Susannah May Farmer. And guess what? She is a farmer! Isn’t that cool?”

Joseph wrinkled his forehead. “You just said she was a farmer.”

“No, I mean she lives on a farm. Isn’t that a great name for someone who lives on a farm? She has horses, and goats, and chickens, and rabbits, and everything! I wish I lived on a farm. Wouldn’t that be the coolest thing? Look at this picture she sent.” Mac was bursting with excitement.

Joseph and G. M. bent their heads over a picture of an old, white farmhouse and a shabby, gray barn. There were rolling, green hills in the background. They could make out chickens pecking the ground and a horse with its head over a fence.

“It looks way different from Oregon,” Joseph observed. “Where is her farm?”

“In Ohio. Where is Ohio, G. M.?” Mac asked.

“Go bring the globe, Joseph,” G. M. said. Joseph ran out of the room and was back in a minute with the globe. G. M. showed them Oregon and Ohio.

“That doesn’t look so far,” Joseph said.

“It’s farther than it looks,” G. M. told him. “It would take days to drive there. As for being different, God made lots of different places on this continent. Look, here are the mountains, running all the way down through Canada, the U. S., and Mexico. Then here are the prairies, where it’s so flat you can see for miles. Here are the Great Lakes. And here are Indiana and Ohio where the land starts to be hilly again. But they have no snowy mountains like we have here.”

“No mountains?” Mac exclaimed. “Maybe I wouldn’t like to live there after all!”

“It reminds me of our Sabbath School lesson,” Joseph said thoughtfully. “I wonder if God had fun making the world.”

“Of course He did,” Mac said, who liked looking at the globe, but wanted to get back to her letter. “Here’s a picture of Susannah.” She showed them a smiling girl with blonde braids and freckles. “Doesn’t she look friendly? She told me all kinds of stuff in her letter. Her goat is going to have babies in the spring. And her cat has kittens right now. They live in the hay in the top of the barn. And listen to this! She has four little brothers, and their names are Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John!”

They all laughed.

“I wish I had a pen pal,” Joseph said a little enviously.

“Well, maybe Matthew would like to be your pen pal, Mac suggested. “He’s eight. I’ll ask when I write back to Susannah. Here’s a picture of her goats. The brown one is the one who will have babies in the spring. And you’ll never believe this! Her Sabbath School teacher asked her class to do the exact same thing Pastor Chuck asked us to do!” Mac’s red curls danced with excitement.

“What? You mean to think of things in nature that show us God’s love?” Joseph asked.

“Yes! Can you believe it? I say the mountains, because they make me feel safe and protected, like something big and strong is watching over me. Almost like God is right here all around me. Well, He is all around us, but you know what I mean. What did you think of?” Mac asked Joseph.

“I thought of the stars,” Joseph replied. “I always pretend they’re little holes in the sky and heaven is shining through, even though I know it’s really stars and suns and stuff. I’m glad God knows my name and all about me, even though I’m so small compared to the whole universe.” Joseph saw G. M. smiling and asked, “What makes you think of God’s love, G. M.?”

“Children’s faces,” G. M. said, ruffling their hair and making them laugh. “Including your new friend, Mac. You’re right, she does look friendly. What does she say reminds her of God’s love?”

“That’s the best part,” Mac answered eagerly. “She says her goats!”

“Her goats!” Joseph and G. M. exclaimed together.

“Yes. Listen.” Mac shuffled the pages of her letter, looking for the right place. “Here it is. ‘Everything on the farm reminds me of God’s love—the mama cat taking care of her kittens, and the snow that covers all the mud, and riding my horse in the woods. Even the apple trees that look dead right now, but are getting ready to make more apples next summer remind me of His love.’ ”

Mac interrupted herself. “That’s one thing the same as Oregon. They have apple trees there too!” Then she read on: “ ‘But the thing that most reminds me of God is my goats. I love to come to the barn in the morning and lean on Daisy and Sabrina while I milk them.’ ”

Mac interrupted herself again. “I didn’t know you could milk goats, did you?”

“Of course,” G. M. smiled. “I wish I lived next door to Susannah so I could buy some of her goat’s milk. They have it in the stores, but it costs a fortune!”

“Where was I?” Mac looked at the letter for a minute. “Oh, here. ‘Their milk makes a little singing sound as it squirts into the bucket, and it looks so white and foamy. Every day, they give their milk to us, and all they ask is for us to love them. I’ve decided this year Daisy’s babies will be my investment project. I’ll give the money to show God I love Him too, and to thank Him for making nice, creamy milk and silly goats to nibble on my hair and chew the buttons off my coat.’ ”

Joseph laughed.

Mac looked up. “Isn’t that funny and nice?”

“Very nice,” G. M. said. “Susannah is very poetic.”

“Come on!” Joseph said. “You can write back to her right now, and I’ll write a letter to Matthew and see if he wants to be my pen pal!”

Together, they ran to look for paper and pencils.

 

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