Real monkeys! I could hardly wait to see them! I’m a stuffed, toy monkey, not a real one, but I always wanted to meet the real thing. Would they look like me? Would they be glad to see me? I like being a toy and living with lots of children, but sometimes I think being a real monkey and living wild in the jungle would be better. Just think, real monkeys don’t have to obey any rules.
I heard that there were two real monkeys in the village of Longkhoad. Brother Anond told the children, “Don’t get near the monkeys. They will bite you.” But they wouldn’t bite me, I was sure. I hoped I would get to see them. Maybe they would play with me. Maybe they would say, “Come live with us in the jungle.” I would never have to obey. I wouldn’t have to sit and be quiet. A wild monkey can act wild. That sounded like fun to me.
And I did meet real monkeys. But they got me into big trouble!
We went to a Thanksgiving service in a village called Longkhoad. All the children and all the workers at the children’s home went by taxi. Well, they call them taxis, but they are really just pickup trucks. They really squeeze all the kids in the back as tightly as they can!
I rode with Grandma and Grandpa and Brother Anond in Brother Anond’s pickup. It took a long time to get there as we traveled along winding curves through the mountains.
At last we got to the village. “Where is the turkey?” I asked Grandma. “Don’t they have turkey for Thanksgiving here?”
“It’s a different kind of Thanksgiving,” she told me. “They don’t just have one day to celebrate like they do in America. Instead each church has a special day to give thanks. They invite all the people in the village and from other churches. They have special services with singing and preaching. Then they eat special Thanksgiving food — but it isn’t turkey and dressing!”
We went into the church and I saw right away that something was missing.
“Where are the chairs?” I asked.
“They don’t have enough chairs for everyone,” Grandpa said. “They only have a few. We will collect an offering today to buy more chairs. Today everyone will sit on the floor.”
And they did! Would you like to sit on the floor during church? I liked it, but Grandma sat on a chair when they offered it to her.
I saw something else interesting. Bananas! Why were there bananas on the pulpit?
“The things by the pulpit are Thanksgiving offerings,” Grandma told me. “People bring rice and fruit and vegetables they have grown as a ‘thank you’ present to God.”
I was surprised. “Does God eat bananas?” I asked.
Grandma smiled. “No, Linkee. The church gives the bananas and other food to the children’s home. The Bible says that when we give to poor people with our hearts full of love for Jesus, it is just the same as giving it to God. God sees that they brought what they have, though it isn’t very much. He will bless them for loving Him and giving this gift for him.”
Gracie reached her arms up to Grandma, and Grandma knew just what she wanted. She wanted to play with me. Grandma handed me down to her and Gracie hugged me. Now was my chance.
“Gracie,” I whispered to her. “Take me over to the bananas.” I liked bananas. And I was hungry. "I would like to eat one now.”
Gracie took me over and sat me down right on top of the bananas. I started to take one, but then I remembered something. God sees us all the time — and I didn’t want Him to see me take His banana. I decided I wasn’t THAT hungry.
The Lahu people like to sing, and they sang and sang. There were a lot of children there, and they sang a lot of special songs, too. Grandpa preached about being thankful, and Brother Anond repeated what he said in the funny Lahu language.
Then it was time to eat. There wasn’t a turkey, but there were strange balls of pork and many vegetables I didn’t recognize. I wasn’t hungry because I thought of something. Now, while Grandma and Grandpa were busy, I could go and find the real monkeys.
The children played with me while they were waiting for their food. When no one was looking I slowly, carefully, I edged closer to the door, and then slipped outside. As quick as a flash I scampered across the churchyard and into the jungle trees. Up, up, up I climbed. Surely the monkeys would be around here in the trees. I looked for a long time. Then I saw them.
“What’s that thing?” the white monkey asked.
“I don’t know,” a black monkey answered. “Do you think it is good to eat?”
“No, no,” I cried. “I’m a monkey, too.”
“You don’t look like a monkey to me,” said White Monkey. “Your fur doesn’t look right.”
“Yeah,” said Black Monkey. “And you are too little to be a real monkey.”
“I’m not a REAL monkey,” I said. “I’m a toy monkey.” I was nervous. Those monkeys looked MEAN.
“I want to know what you are,” Black Monkey said. “If I bite off your arm I can find out what is inside you.”
My stuffing felt all quivery. Those monkeys were big. They had sharp teeth. They could bite off my arm with no problem. But they were bigger than I am. How could I get away? I turned to run away. I slipped and fell out of the tree. Down, down, down I fell — splat to the ground.
Oof! That hurt! But I had to get up and run because the monkeys climbed down the tree almost as fast as I fell. I ran and ran to get away. Could I get back to Grandma and Grandpa before the monkeys ate me?
“There you are, Linkee,” Supucket said. “Grandma is looking everywhere for you. It is time to go.”
He picked me up and carried me with him. Would the monkeys chase Supucket, too? I looked back. No, they turned back and climbed up the tree.
I hugged Supucket and was happy to climb in the taxi with him. I didn’t like meeting real monkeys after all. It is hard to be quiet and I like to act wild, but I decided I didn’t want to live wild in the jungle after all. It was too scary!
I was happy to ride back to the children’s home where I am safe and loved.
I’m glad Linkee survived his adventure and is safe at home! What do you think he learned during his jungle adventure? Do you think rules are bad or good? We don’t always like to obey the rules, but they keep us safe. That’s why we have them!
What did you think about the Thanksgiving service? How is it different from the Thanksgiving you will have? I hope one thing is the same. I hope you will be thankful to God for all the good things He has given you.
I miss all of you so much! I have lots and lots of children here, but I miss my own special kids! I love you!