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Spanish 'Y cachorro' Front Cover
Flash Flood Warning
The BIG Flood
The Morning After
Life in the Home
Giving my life to
I'm a new creature
I'm in the Lords
Free at last
Peace like a river
He watches over
CHAPTER 1 – Flash Flood Warning
"Johan, No school tomorrow, the radio
says there has been heavy rain in the Mountains and we are
expecting flooding" my Mother announced the news.
"Hurray! No school!" I thought to myself.
Being seven years old and in Primary School, I much preferred
playing in the river with my dog to school work!
Spanish 'Y cachorro' Chapter #1
(Front and back page)
"The Prime Minister says no work either it is serious"
my Mother continued.
“He said the rains this year have been much heavier than usual
and the soil is very wet so only a small amount of rain could have
I knew the rainy season was between late April and October. So
hearing mum talking about some frontal system and a trough sending
torrential rain and she said the north had been ravaged by severe
flooding after several days of heavy rain in the Mountains. This
was so early in the season I started to get nervous.
Uncle Diego told me to go and start collecting sand he had to make
up sandbags to try and put around the house especially blocking
up the doors. Puppy and I took the wheelbarrow down to the beach
I was shouveling sand into it and Puppy was scratching it out. It
turned into a game until I remembered mums warning ‘We gotta
be prepared” I rushed home with my sand and helped Uncle Diego
bag it up.
Mum was busy gather supplies, she said it was in case we had to
leave immediately, or if services are cut off. She had to remember
Granny’s specific needs, including medication. I told her
not to forget Puppies special needs, like dog food, a bone and drinking
water. Mum seemed more interested in drinking water for the family
and I was running around drawing water from the well and Granny
was boiling it up and putting it in large containers. “Put
in the bleach” mum kept saying.
Uncle Diego had obtained extra batteries and everyone was busy
charging their cell phones. Someone from America had once sent us
a solar charger for phones and Uncle Diego was clutching it like
his life depended upon it!
Granny was busy putting all our important documents in a waterproof
container, it was taking a long time because every time she came
across a birth certificate, it always seemed to have a long story
behind it. And the marriage certificate had stories about the great
day, even the Passports had to pondered over, page by page remembering
all those trips to far off lands.
Auntie Rosa was busy putting items into bags include things like
blankets, towels and clothing. Boxes contained all the extra tinned
foods that Uncle Diego had got from the market. “Things are
selling out the shelves are bare” he told mum. “This
is a crisis, don’t forget the first aid kit.”
Mum said we should make up a Family Disaster Plan, in which each
person has a role and knows in advance exactly what to do and how
to work together in case of emergency.
All of a sudden I felt very lonely and ignored, all the adults were
busy doing important things and I was told to just ‘go away,’
I felt very rejected and alone. I wondered where my Dad was.
He did not live with us or even in our village. He worked in the
cotton fields and cutting sugar cane. I did see him though, as he
would bring bags of food for my Mum. He would sometimes talk to
me on her phone. Even thought dad was not here I know I was important
to my mum and dad. Mum was always telling me “Johan you are
a special boy” She always told me God knew me and would quote
the Bible “I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s
womb. Before you were born I set you apart” It always made
me feel special and I tried to remember this now as everyone was
rushing around preparing for the ‘BIG flood.’
But as time went on I started to get frightened, I wish Dad was
here, no one seemed to have any time for me, so I went outside to
find Puppy and we sat together and watched the dark storm clouds
get darker, ‘full of rain’ Uncle told me, I wished they
would go away and leave us alone.
CHAPTER 2 – The Big Flood
We will never forget that night, It was about
7pm when the electricity went off and we turned on Uncle Diego’s
flashlight. The wind was howling outside and Granny kept talking
about a storm and flash flood she had been in as a child.
Uncle Diego got a message on his phone from a friend in America
to say that torrential rain was causing flash flooding and
mudslides in the interior.
Spanish 'Y cachorro' Chapter #2
(Front and back page)
It didn’t seem that far away from us and very soon the water
started coming under the door and something hit the window and broke
it. Uncle Diego taped a cushion over it. Mummy and Auntie Rosa were
trying to mop up water with old towels. I was holding the Puppy
and hoping no one noticed she was inside.
Suddenly there was a huge crash and the door broke and a lot of
dirty water came gushing in and we realized that the river next
to the house was overflowing. We all backed into the bedroom where
Granny was on the bed. Uncle Diego put my mattress over her. The
noise was terrifying with the crashing of falling trees and buildings
and thunder rolling. We could hear the neighbors screaming. We slammed
the bedroom door and put a chair under the handle. Then we all hid
in the closet, even Puppy. We were squashed together in the closet
except for Granny who was still under the mattress..... the water
was coming in under the door we knew we had to get out.
Uncle Diego said "Come on, we will have to go to the Shelter.”
He pushed open the front door and there was a lot of water. The
river was where the road should have been. He told me "Go Go
Go!" He and Mummy went back in the bedroom for Granny. Auntie
Rosa was crying and saying she did not want to leave the house.
I found my coat and put it on pulling the hood up tight.
I held on to Puppy and stepped into the water. We had to get to
the Primary school up on the hill we would be safe there.
Even though I walked on the side of the road the water was up to
my knees. Auntie Rosa was holding Uncle Diego's phone shining a
light at me. Mummy and Uncle Diego were following, carrying Granny
at least I thought they were.....
By then the water was up to my waist and large rocks were tumbling
down. I held Puppy inside my coat. The light went out and something
hit my legs under the water. I fell over and felt myself being sucked
away by the water...... my head banged into something. Puppy put
her foot in my mouth it tasted all muddy, that was the last thing
CHAPTER 3 - The Morning After
I woke up under a car, kind of jammed against
the tyres. I was wet and had mud in my mouth and my head was
hurting but thank God I was alive. I could not really work
out where I was. I could see the sea and, where the ravine
usually was, there was a big river, with great big stones.
Spanish 'Y cachorro' Chapter #3
(Page 1 and 2)
Mud - mud, mud, mud everywhere. There was a beautiful rainbow
in the sky that was the only good think I remembered. You could
not see the road because of the mud the flood water was up to the
windows of some houses. I had a big lump on my head. And where was
my puppy? I called her and looked and looked. People were standing
on the roof of cars just looking. Cars were smashed and crushed.
Electricity poles were down and wires everywhere. I could not understand
how I had got to the Bay. Our house was much further up the ravine.
I thought I saw my puppy down by the sea and I went to look, but
it was a bigger dog.
Whilst I was there on the stony beach, a policeman in army uniform
called to me. I asked him if he had seen my puppy. The Policeman
took me to the Shelter and I expected to see my mother, Auntie Rosa,
Uncle Diego and Granny. He gave me to the nurse instead. She touched
my head and said I had to go to the Hospital in Town. I thought
maybe my mother was hurt and so I was going to see her. People were
just sitting and staring. One lady was bawling a lot. I heard someone
say she had lost her baby that seemed careless. I thought someone
should help her look for it. The Policeman said we would have to
go to the hospital by boat. Someone gave me a Tamale and a bottle
of water, I was so hungry it was delicious.
On the way back to the bay we went past a crushed car and I heard
a whimper. I saw a tail. I told the Policeman "stop, stop please
I see Puppy" and I looked under the car and there she was wet
and muddy but there......
I picked her up and hugged her tight she was shivering. The Policeman
said Puppy could come too, at last something good had happened.
The Policeman told me I was a champion and not to focus on what
I had been through I was to focus on where I was going in life –
where ever that was – the Hospital right now, unless this
boat sank! I remembered the story Auntie Rosa had told about floating
in a bath tub and I was thankful that I was in a wooden boat speeding
along with Puppy’s ears flying behind her!
CHAPTER 4 - The Hospital
We went on the boat and the Policeman took
me to Police Headquarters. Someone gave me a very big police
cheese sandwich and I shared it with Puppy. She liked it a
lot. A young police woman gave me a string to tie round Puppy's
neck so I did not have to carry her all the time.
Spanish 'Y cachorro' Chapter #4
(Page 1 and 2)
Then the policeman took me to the Hospital. It was quite a long
walk up a steep hill and there was lots of mud and a funny smell.
The river was very full. I saw a helicopter coming over my head
with a flag underneath. The Policeman said it was a British Union
Jack flag and that it was stuck under the helicopter was so people
would know which countries were helping. Cars were blocking the
road sitting where the river had put them. Some people seemed to
be carrying a lot of shopping which was odd as the shops were mostly
flooded with mud up to their window sills.
When we got to the hospital there was a fat nurse who was vexed
and said that Puppy could not come inside Casualty! I was tired
and sad. I wanted to see my Mummy and my Aunty and my Granny and
Uncle Diego! I said I did not want to stay there. The Policeman
said it was OK and that he would hold Puppy for me whilst I went
in with the Nurse. I thought I was going to see my family, I looked
in the room but there was just a little girl crying, an old man
who was very still and a very pregnant lady moaning. There was a
young boy like me with blood running down his leg into the water
on the floor making a horrible mess. The nurse took my temperature,
she said I had to see a doctor.
The doctor looked very tired. She said she had been there for 24
hours, all the way through the flooding, but no one had come to
relieve her. She said that I had a "con cushion" or at
least that is what it sounded like. She said I should go home and
rest. I told her our home was gone and I did not know where my family
members were. She called the policeman in and Puppy peed on the
floor. You can imagine the nurse was not happy!
Whilst the nurse was shouting and getting a lady to come with a
mop the police whispered in the Doctors ear. Then the Doctor told
me to go and sit outside on the chairs with Puppy.
After a long time when the Policeman came back with a bottle of
Juice for me and a Medianoche sandwich. He told me that I was going
on a big adventure. He also told me that they were looking for my
Mum and Uncle Diego and Auntie Rosa and that very sadly they had
found my Granny and she was not alive any more. He told me that
I had to go to a nice Big House and wait to see what would happen.
I was worried in case the people at the Big House would not like
dogs. I began to cry I thought I might lose Puppy and I would be
so lonely. I did not really understand what he said about Granny,
how could she not be alive any more.
The Policeman told me that he would tell them at the Big House
that Puppy had to come as well. I felt lost and lonely, totally
abandoned, all I really had to call my own was Puppy. I felt I just
had to cheer Puppy up so I told her a story my Granny once told
It was about a Rottweiller dog called Orion, who officially recognized
for his role in rescuing people during the tragedy years ago in
another Big Flood. A mudslide forced Orion and his owner Mauricio
Pérez to leave their home and go to a safer place. They came
across a young girl trapped by turbulent water. Orion guided the
girl to shore by swimming at her side, then jumped back in to pull
a second girl out of the water. He then helped eight children climb
to high place and over time he saving 37 people from drowning, ranging
from a girl of 8 years old to an elderly man of 80 years old. He
was awarded the Medal "Honor The Value" and a certificate
for the role he played. He also received plaques and medals from
private institutions and governments, international tributes.
I told Puppy she deserved one of those Medals and one day I would
give her one for sticking with me.
CHAPTER 5 – Life in the Big House
| I was waiting at the hospital and suddenly, things
happened in a rush. Some strange soldiers came and the Policeman
told me to go with them. I was pleased when I heard him tell
them "the Puppy goes with Him – it’s all
he has left".
Spanish 'Y cachorro' Chapter #5
(Front and back page )
We went to the savannah in front of the hospital and there was a
helicopter already there. The blades on top the helicopter were
spinning like a fan and it was very loud. The dust and leaves were
blowing me over, the policeman did me high five and gave me to a
big soldier who made me do up my coat and put a helmet on me. He
put ear plugs in my ears and a sort of life jacket on me, I wish
I had one for Puppy, she was in my coat but she was shivering with
Two soldiers pushed me up some big steps into the helicopter. I
looked back and waved to the Policeman. Then they strapped me into
a seat and they told me to hold Puppy tight. A lady soldier told
me this was a Wild Cat Helicopter. She was funny and blocked Puppy's
ears when she said “Wild cat” as she said dogs like
to chase cats! She had a red cross on her shoulder and she said
she was a nurse as well as a soldier. She said they were just giving
me a ride to the Children's Home as the bridge on the way was gone
and there was lots of rubbish blocking the road. I asked if my Mum
would be there but it was too noisy I could not understand her answer.
When the helicopter landed, they undid all the straps and took
off the lifejacket and I got out still clutching Puppy. It was further
than I thought and I fell down. I felt stupid as there were loads
of children watching from the steps of the big house. They seemed
disappointed that it was just me and Puppy, until behind me the
soldiers brought out bottles of water and boxes of biscuits. "Come
on Boy" said a Lady in an orange T shirt, “come away
from that helicopter.” She took me into the kitchen with Puppy
and I heard the helicopter flying away. I never got to say goodbye
to the nice Nurse Soldier Lady.
The Home was huge, the lounge, dining room and kitchen were thick
with mud, and there were piles of wet clothes everywhere. There
were lots of bedrooms for boys downstairs and upstairs there were
lots more for girls.
I was in a room with three other boys and I had my own bed. The
home had a generator that was noisy but it was nice to have light.
There was no TV or Internet as the Flood had messed up everything.
To save gas they just put the generator on from 6.00 -8.00pm then
we went to bed and used flash lights.
The Lady in the orange T Shirt was called Miss Camila, she said
Puppy had to live in the dog house under the building but that I
could see her when I wanted. She gave me to a man called Mr. Matías
also in an orange T Shirt and he showed me where Puppy would stay.
He even had dog food for her. He said their dog had got lost in
the storm. No one knew about my Mum and Aunty and Uncle Diego. I
told them the Police said Granny had died but they were looking
for the others. Another younger staff member said she heard they
were all washed away and said “accept her sympathy, the Lord
is with you boy, all these things will make you strong” I
thought that must be a mistake and at that moment I felt rather
weak not at all strong. I asked for my Dad but they said they heard
that they were all gone. I did not think that could be right.
I was beginning to feel frustrated, trapped and hurt. Pain started
to take over my feelings, I had to find someone to blame. I started
getting angry it seemed a way of releasing energy, it was my little
protest to the loss of my family, it just didn’t make sense,
it simple wasn’t fair and I wanted to lash out and hurt someone.
Nurse came to talk to me she wanted to know how I was feeling physically,
I told her I felt drained and empty. I seem to be having difficulty
making decisions or staying focused. I was becoming easily frustrated
and ended up arguing more with people, I was feeling tired, sad,
numb, lonely and worried. This was hard, I needed help.
CHAPTER 6 – Good and bad secrets
Another problem was Mr. Matías. He
always looked at me as if I was in the way and said I should
not hug Puppy as I would get ‘Leap To Spring
Osis’! And he told Sofia, my only friend, to
stay away from me. I began to avoid him. Then one Monday he
just did not come to work any longer!
Spanish 'Y cachorro' Chapter #6
(Front and back page )
One day Sofia told me she had a secret to tell me. We sat under
the house with Puppy and she told me........she told me Mr. Matías
had left because of her. He had been trying to get her to do bad
things. He told her that he would get her ready to have a boyfriend.
He had been trying to touch her under her panties. He told her if
she did not do what he said he would kill Puppy. She said she ran
straight away and told Miss Camila what he tried to do and the police
came and took him away. She said Mr. Matías was in the prison
waiting for the court to decide on his punishment. I was so mad!
How could he say he would hurt Puppy! I was pleased he had left
as I felt like doing him something.
Sofia said she knew what to do about Mr. Matías's bad intentions
towards her as it was not the first time. She said her mother's
boyfriend had done something wrong to her before and she had told
her Sunday School Teacher. She said that is why she was in the Home.
As her mother did not believe her but the Sunday School teacher
did. She said the Sunday school teacher told her to "tell the
truth and truth would set her free" and that she had prayed
with her, then she got brave and when the Police came with the Welfare
officer she told them all about it and they were sorting it all
Sofia said she knew that you should always run from people with
bad intentions and tell someone. She said she knew now that some
bad secrets should not be kept. She explained that “Good secrets”
were like not telling about a surprise party or what was in a present.
But “Bad secrets” were those where the person threatens
you if you tell what they did and where they touch you. No one except
your mum or the nurse should touch you where your underwear goes
and then tell you not to tell anyone that is a bad secret to keep.
Sofia said that after that experience with her mother's boyfriend
she had been different. She said her Sunday School Teacher had told
her that God loved her and that it was not her fault. She said she
had decided to serve Christ. I did not know what she meant but I
did know I was pleased Mr. Matías was gone.
CHAPTER 7 – Life in the Tent School
After about two weeks in the Big House, which
turned out to be a Children’s Home, with more new people
coming each day, the staff said the roads were clear and that
we would have to go to school.
Spanish 'Y cachorro' Chapter #7
(Page 1 and 2)
They made us walk about a mile as the bus had been washed away.
School was weird, no uniforms, no books, and mud everywhere, we
were in a tent. Tents are funny things. When the sun comes out they
are hot, hot, hot and you have to roll up the sides. When it rains
and some of the children cry because they think the storm is coming
back, then you have to let the sides down again and be hot and sweaty
again. Our tent had UNICEF written on it which meant that nice people
from overseas sent it.
In the afternoon foreign workers came in blue T shirts they said
they were our friends and they set up something called a Child Friendly
Space where we played games. Their names were funny and if you did
learn them then they left for good! So in the end we just called
them "Miss" and "Sir" They taught us that this
sudden and intense storm they said was especially unusual because
it occurred in December, while we all know the typical rainy lasts
from May to October. They taught us that the out-of-season rains
were formed from some cold front but I didn’t believe them
because it was very hot! They told us about debris flows that moved
rapidly, and many of them were highly destructive. I guess that
is what hit me behind the knee and made me fall into the water on
that dreadful night of the Big Flood.
I did not have any friends in the Home except for Sofia. She was
12 and was already at Secondary School so she did not come with
me to the Tent School. She had lived in that Home for months before
the great flood. She would sit with me under the house and pet Puppy
and talk to me. I told her that I did not believe that my Mum and
Aunt and Granny and Uncle Diego could all be dead. Granny was old
so I could believe that she had not made it but not the others.
I had dreams that Mummy was calling me, and when it rained, the
smaller boys would cry and I would I dreamed I was under the car
covered in mud. (With Puppies paw in my mouth!)
The other children all seemed to know each other and the three
in my room were all from the same village. They called me Helicopter
Boy and would make helicopter noises every time I came in. One big
boy said that he hated people from my village and that he would
poison my dog as she wasn't a fierce race like a Pit Bull. He loved
Pit Bulls and so, after a while, that is what we called him, even
the staff. "Pit" became his name. Everyone would have
a job in the Home.
Pit’s was to take out the garbage to the bins. He always made
me do it so that he would not hurt Puppy. He said he would tie a
block round her neck and throw her in the sea. Sometimes I was very
sad and lonely I would hide and cry quietly hugging Puppy my only
I didn’t do too well in the Tent School, my mind was easily
distracted and I got muddled up at times and couldn’t concentrate.
I wish I could remember where I use to live, I guess it was that
bump to my head!
I wondered when my Dad would come and rescue me.
CHAPTER 8 – Giving my life to Christ
"Come and meet my Sunday School teacher
Johan!" So the lady who had helped Sofia ‘tell
the truth’ had come to visit. She was pretty and she
smelled nice. She had a guitar and played songs with the children.
Spanish 'Y cachorro' Chapter #8
(Front and back page)
She gave us Bible story books and crayons to colour. She said that
Jesus could sleep in the storm when he was on a boat. So I figured
He might be able to sleep through a flood and I thought that was
I could not sleep properly in a nice bed as the flood kept troubling
me in my dreams and I kept crying for my mother. She told us that
Jesus had a special power not to be afraid and not to hate people
who hurt him. She told us that because Jesus loved us he died on
the cross and wanted to help us to be friends with God and have
power not to be afraid and not to hate people. She said we had to
decide whether to follow Jesus or go our own way. She said the way
to become a Christian was to Repent and Believe.
I thought this sounded interesting I have always wanted special
powers!!! Also I was very troubled about how much I hated Pit and
Mr. Matías too!
I knew God had saved my life and I really needed to be able to
sleep in the storm and through the flood. I decided to give my life
to Christ and to be a Christian. I am not a great reader but the
Bible Books had loads of pictures and the Sunday School Teacher
said that God loved everyone whether they were top or bottom of
the class, good or bad, pretty or ugly, that Jesus still died for
them so they could "tell the truth and the truth would set
them free" She taught us about Noah who had survived a flood
and how God had put the rainbow in the sky to give us all hope that
He would never destroy the earth by flood again. I liked that story
because I had seen a big rainbow when I woke up under the car that
awful day of the flood.
Pit somehow heard that I had put my hand up when the Sunday School
Teacher prayed. He straight away said I was a Bible bashing Christian.
He said Christians were selfish, only helped their own church people
and taking people's money. He said he would kill Puppy then I could
pray for him to be raised from the dead. I felt myself getting red
I just wanted to punch Pit on the nose! That night I remember the
boys in my room were especially tormenting with their helicopter
noises and saying that nobody wanted to be friends with Helicopter
I pulled the sheet over my head and asked God to switch on those
magic powers as right now all I could think about was all the bad
things I wanted to do to those guys.
That night it started to rain heavy and the rain was lashing in
and some of the boys started to cry and one wet his bed but I went
sound asleep even though I still had a horrible dream, which made
me feel bad the next day I felt so lost and lonely all I really
had to call my own was Puppy, but then I remembered I could call
on my new friend Jesus.
CHAPTER 9 – I’m a new creature
Next week Sofia and I were the first in Sunday
School, I could hardly wait to learn more. She had told us
this week we would learn about a butterfly that really started
out as a fuzzy little caterpillar. I didn’t like caterpillars,
my dad had always warned me that they ate lots of his vegetables
in the kitchen garden, I knew I didn’t like them they
were ugly, no one would say that caterpillars are beautiful.
Spanish 'Y cachorro' Chapter #9
(Page 1 and 2)
A caterpillar is a worm -- and worms are not beautiful! In fact the
only good thing about worms was that you could put them on a hook
and go fishing. Sofia squirmed when I told her my fishing stories,
with wriggling worms.
But then I learnt in Sunday School that one day the caterpillar
spun a cocoon about himself and stays there for several weeks. Just
hanging upside down, occasionally twitching, who would imagine that
anything good was happening. But it was like the caterpillar was
being born again and when it comes out, it is no longer a caterpillar,
it has been miraculously changed into a beautiful butterfly, it
was a new creation.
But it took time, it was like the caterpillar died in the chrysalis
or cocoon and eventually the butterfly emerged but it was a struggle.
One day Puppy and I were in the field next to the Children’s
Home and we saw a chrysalis hanging from a twig, it started twitching
and cracking open. We watched as the butterfly struggled to get
out. It made me think of all the struggling I had to do over the
time since the ‘BIG Flood’. I later learnt that a butterfly
must struggle out of its chrysalis to start the blood to flow into
its wings to make it strong and able to fly. It must do this to
complete its life cycle into a butterfly. I felt I wanted to help
the struggling butterfly but by assisting the butterfly and helping
it to free itself, I would never let it fully develop and fulfill
its destiny. I would actually be hindering it and prevented it from
becoming who it was meant to be.
What God showed me was that what He does, sometimes in our lives,
is to allow the struggle, the hurt, the process because we must
fight to become fully who we are meant to be.
If He stepped in to help during the most crucial part in our lives,
we would never become who we were made to be. As I pondered this
thought out came the butterfly, flying away … with Puppy in
the chase, she chased that butterfly all around the field until
she eventually fell into the ditch which was filled with muddy water,
you should have seen her she changed from a white puppy to a brown
dog! “That’s it Puppy you are going to have a bath even
you will become a new creation.”
The Bible says, "De modo que si alguno está en
Cristo, nueva criatura es; las cosas viejas pasaron; he aquí,
son hechas nuevas!" When we invite Jesus to come into
our heart, we become a new creation. God doesn't just clean us up,
He makes us into a new person.
So now when I find myself in a huge struggle or fight I can have
hope. I now understand that this could be in the most important
part of my life that will make me into who I am destined to be.
I know that Jesus is with me and what I am to become is so great
that all I have been through and am going though will pave the way
for what I am to become. Strong, free, and soaring high with beautiful,
colorful butterfly wings to carry me onto the next adventure of
life with Puppy.
CHAPTER 10 – I’m in the Lord’s army
I was so excited because today the Missionaries
from America were coming to visit us in the Children’s
Home. We were told they were brining lots of toys from America,
I could hardly wait, even Pit was excited and seemed in better
mood than usual.
Spanish 'Y cachorro' Chapter #10
(Front and back page)
When they arrived I was given a brand new skateboard and not only
that but all the protective gear needed to keep me safe.
They told me the first thing was to make sure I had the right kind
of shoes. I know you wouldn't go skating in a pair of cowboy boots,
would you? Your shoes should have a flat bottom to help you get
a better grip on the board. Next, I was told every skateboarder
should wear a helmet. You might think that wearing a helmet makes
you look like a dork, but, believe me, it is the smart thing to
do. Another thing you will need is pads. It is important to have
pads to protect your elbows and knees. Now that I had all the right
gear, it is time to go skateboarding. Even professional skateboarders
make sure they have the right protective equipment.
Just as we need protective gear in skateboarding, the Bible teaches
us that we need protection in life. The Bible calls it the armor
of God and it tells us that we need the armor of God to protect
us from Satan's evil schemes. We were taught this in Sunday School
and marched around singing ‘I’m in the Lords army’
I loved it, Jasmine thought it was for boys only but we got to learn
about the armor of God.
The belt of truth - The Bible tells us that Satan is the "father
of lies," but he can never win if we will hold on to the truth
that Jesus Christ is Lord
The breastplate of righteousness - Satan can never harm us when
we choose to do what God says is right
Feet fitted with the gospel of peace - Satan tries to create worry
and confusion in our lives, but knowing Jesus brings peace
The shield of faith - Satan will try to plant seeds of doubt in
our hearts and minds, but those seeds of doubt can never take root
if we have faith in Jesus
The helmet of salvation - Jesus came from heaven to earth to save
us from the evil one, if we accept salvation in Jesus' name, we
will win the battle against Satan
The sword of the Spirit - the Bible, God's Holy Word, it is a powerful
weapon against Satan.
I know no skateboarder should ever get on his board without the
proper equipment, and I should never try to go through life without
the armor of God.
CHAPTER 11 – Free at last
That Sunday School Teacher came back again
the next week and asked if any of us had any questions. I
said "How do you turn on the magic powers?"
She told us that God loved us and wanted us to be free
from fear and free from hate. She told us we had to take our
fears and tell them to God.
Spanish 'Y cachorro' Chapter #11
(Front and back page)
She told us that God always listens to us and that one of the special
powers is prayer and that this is like a private phone to God. She
said this private phone is only connected to God. He must have millions
of ears to hear everyone at the same time. She said that fears and
nightmares are like ropes that tie us and that God can cut them
if we ask him in Jesus name. We all made cell phones out of cereal
packets and started talking to God.
Then she said that hating people was the opposite of what God wanted
us to do. She told us it was hard to have love for God in your heart
if your heart was filled with hate. She told us we could open the
tap of our heart and say we are sorry and let the hate run out.
She said this is called repentance.
She told us a neat story about a woman who did some bad things
in her life. She didn’t say what they were but we know that
she was very, very sorry. She felt so bad in fact, that she went
to see Jesus in someone’s house–when she wasn’t
even invited!! She didn’t know anyone, the people in the house
didn’t want her there but she was meeting Jesus! I imagine
she must have felt very scared and very little. I don’t mean
little like she was tiny, I mean little like she was with people
who were very important. She probably felt UNimportant. Not only
did she go, but she knelt down behind Jesus and washed his feet
WITH HER TEARS! Then she washed them with perfume.
You can imagine how the other people in the house felt. One of
them got upset with her and with Jesus! Simon the Pharisee didn’t
think Jesus should be letting her do that. But Jesus not only let
her do it, he told her that her sins—all the bad things we
do in our life—were forgiven. She was able to leave with a
happy and peaceful heart. There were so many lessons to be learned
from this story, firstly the woman did something wrong and wanted
to make it right. I could think of lots of things I had said and
done that I wish I could now make right. Sophia told me this is
what Jesus wants me to do. If we do something wrong, what could
we do to make it right? What are some things we could do to make
The other thing we need to get from this story is how Jesus reacted.
Did Jesus throw the woman out? Did he say—you did something
wrong, leave me alone? What did Jesus do? He let her stay, he let
her ask for forgiveness, and then he forgave her. It’s important
for us to do the same.
I decided to give it a try. After all, what had I got to lose except
horrible dreams, bad feelings and loneliness? I gave God my fears,
my memories of that scary storm, the sadness and the loneliness.
Then I gave God the anger and the hate. It wasn't easy but I chose
to stop hating and to forgive those mean kids and even Pit.
Then I remembered Mr. Matías and his threats to hurt Puppy
and I thought of him in the State Prison and I even decided not
to be angry with him any more too. I was free at last, free to …
CHAPTER 12 – I’m sorry
I just have to learn how to say ‘I’m
sorry’ it just doesn’t seem to come naturally,
Pit has made my life a misery and I have been mean to him
as well. How do I say I’m sorry? These were the questions
I was asking myself, Sofia and our Sunday School Teacher.
Spanish 'Y cachorro' Chapter #12
(Page 1 and 2)
She told me that sincere apologies can lead to forgiveness, which
takes the sting out of hurts. I knew this was necessary in a happy,
healthy life. But I had to learn how to say I’m sorry, how
to apologies and really mean it even to someone like Pit, because
up until now I was glad I had punched him on the nose. Then I learnt
three things needed to successful apologise:
1) Remorse: Feeling sorry for the action.
2) Repentance: Expressing what’s in your heart.
3) Recompense: This is when you try to make amends, which is not
always possible, but always worth a try.
I knew "I'm sorry" means nothing unless it comes from
a repentant heart. So I first had to ask God to forgive me for being
so nasty to Pit.
I had read in Efésios 4:32 Antes, sede
uns para com os outros benignos, misericordiosos, perdoando-vos
uns aos outros, como também Deus vos perdoou em Cristo.
So I had no choice but to go and find Pit and tell him how sorry
I was for punching him in the nose. “I’m sorry Pit.
I blew it. I was wrong. Please forgive me Pit.” Guess
what Pit put his hand out and we shook hands, it was the beginning
of the healing that was so needed
I felt better after unpacking all those super powers but I was
still lonely...... That night I dreamed of my Dad. He was looking
for me in the mud, and all the nightmares and fears of that terrible
night came flooding back, but then, in my dream Jesus came walking
into my room and turned on the light and I wasn’t afraid any
more and Jesus took my hand and led me outside. There was dad and
he and I and Puppy started playing on a lovely green lawn outside
of a beautiful new house, it was a good dream and I woke up feeling
CHAPTER 13 – Daddy
Miss Camila and the other adults in orange
T shirts were always asking me what I remembered about where
I came from. I could not remember Granny's real name or Auntie
Rosa’s or Uncle Diego’s other name. I told them
my name and my village and my Dad's name Jose, Mum’s
name was Hanny, that is why I am Jo- Han.
Spanish 'Y cachorro' Chapter #13
(Front and back page)
They told me that the Police said that they did not find my Mum
and them and that the house went in the river. I kept hoping it
wasn't true. They said they would try to find my Dad.
Then one day Miss Camila came into school and said I had to come
now, now, now! I was worried that maybe something had happened to
Puppy or that she had escaped and chewed up someone's shoes. It
would not be the first time. She said no, I had a visitor. I went
into the office and there was a very dirty tired looking man with
a beard. It was ......my Dad.....He held his arms out and we just
hugged and hugged. He said he was sorry, that he had only just found
out where I was as he had been told I was lost with my Mum, Auntie
and Uncle Diego. Dad had walked for days to get from the Interior
to our village. He said that people said that the whole family was
lost. Then he met that Policeman from the first day and he told
him I was alive and in the Home. As I listened, I realised that
it was true my Mum was actually gone in the flood and mudslides,
and Auntie Rosa and Uncle Diego, I cried and cried and cried and
then Miss Camila suggested I take my Dad to meet Puppy.
When we sat under the house my Dad gave me a special present, all
wrapped up, a Teddy Bear toy, soft and squidgy, little did I know
how precious ‘Teddy’ would become to me.
Dad told me that he had been so sad when he thought that I was gone
and that seeing me today was the best thing that had ever happened
to him. He told me that he was so sorry that he had not come before.
He asked me to forgive him for not being there. Dad said our lives
may have taken some strange twists and turns but the One who holds
our tomorrows is still in control. It kind of reminded me of the
story of Joseph in the Bible. Dad said that he had asked God to
help him find me and now that he had, we would serve God together
for the rest of our lives. "And Puppy” I said
CHAPTER 14 – Peace like a river
Dad and I along with Puppy moved back into
the interior, it was where we were from, it’s where
‘we belong’ Dad told me.
Dad started planting vegetables, and keeping fish, goats
and even rabbits to eat and distribute among the community.
Spanish 'Y cachorro' Chapter #14
(Page 1 and 2)
He taught me about Moringa and we planted it all around our property
and all the animals ate it and were very healthy. We even drank
the tea and began to feel stronger and healthier.
Sometimes we would all go down to the river to play. Those times
I felt most at peace, Puppy would splash around at the edge and
try to pick up rocks from the river bed, when she did bubbles would
come out of her nose! It looked so funny I would laugh at her.
Dad taught me how to swim in the river, I loved those times with
Dad, he made me feel special and it almost made up for not having
I continued to go to Sunday School and I learnt more about peace. This was a whole new experience for me. I learnt that Jesus said " La paz os dejo, mi paz os doy; no os la doy como el mundo la da. No se turbe vuestro corazón, ni tenga miedo."
But sometimes at the end of the day, when it was time to turn out
the lantern, we still did not have electricity, and go to bed, I
wanted to know that I was not alone in the darkness. That is where
my Teddy Bear came to the rescue.
Dad gave me Teddy the day we were united at the Big House and at
night Teddy was never very far away. Somehow, the darkness was not
so frightening with "Teddy" in the bed with me, and Puppy
sleeping at the foot of the bed in his special bed that Dad had
built for her.
Our Sunday School teacher told us if we want to know peace, we
can only know that peace when we know Jesus, the Prince of Peace.
If we don't know Jesus, we can have no peace.
That is how I was at the Big House before Jesus became my best
friend and gave me that super power to forgive Pit and even that
nasty man that threatened to kill Puppy and did nasty things to
my friend Sofia. I had no peace only fear and anger and loneliness
but those days are now way behind me. In another life it seems.
I thought to myself “Johan you have moved on, now you have
your Dad and your Heavenly Daddy and Puppy, what more could a boy
CHAPTER 15 – He watches over us
As time went by the crops started to grow
again, the bananas were bearing and there was more to eat.
There was a new sense of hope. Dad said that I was growing
up, I was very pleased, I pushed my chest out and stuck my
chin up in the air and went on tip toe to make myself a little
taller. Dad said I was now his big boy, he had my back, he
was watching over me.
Spanish 'Y cachorro' Chapter #15
(Front and back page)
One day I noticed that Puppy was growing up as well in fact she
was getting very fat!
I didn’t understand why until she started to pull leaves
together and she found some rags in the shed and it seemed she was
making a bed for herself under the house. Then she lay down and
I sat down and watched over her as she gave birth to three beautiful
little puppies. They were perfect except their eyes were shut, but
Dad explained they were born that way and very soon he was right
they opened their eyes and saw me for the first time watching over
What ‘Fun Fabulous’ days we had Puppy and I playing
with her new puppies, I just knew I could never be happier than
I was those days. Puppy always watched over her puppies, she would
pick them up and bring back into the shelter if they wondered off
and that is when I began to think that my Heavenly Daddy knows everything
that I go through.
There is nothing that happens to me that He doesn't know about.
Just like Puppy He is watching over me. When I felt lonely and totally
abandoned at the Big House, when everything seems hopeless, I began
to realize that even then God knows and God cares.
And if I wonder off track a bit, He comes after me just like Puppy
rounds up her puppies so my Heavenly Daddy comes after me, gives
me a big hug and brings me back into the pack.
I was happy the sun was shining and the birds were singing and a
little sparrow came hopping up to look at Puppy’s puppies.
Then it all came flooding back, the smell of Tostones frying as
Granny pottered around the kitchen in our old house that the Big
Flood destroyed, and I can hear her now, singing at the top of her
old crackly voice an old song the Missionaries taught her years
¿Cómo podré estar triste, cómo
entre sombras ir,
cómo sentirme sólo y en el dolor vivir?
Si Cristo es mi consuelo, mi amigo siempre fiel,
si aún las aves tienen seguro asilo en Él
si aún las aves tienen seguro asilo en Él
¡Feliz, cantando alegre,
yo vivo siempre aquí;
Si Él cuida de las aves,
cuidará también de mí!
And I wept with joy, I knew my hurting heart was healed and for
the first time since that dreadful night I sang that ol’ ol’
¡Feliz, cantando alegre,
yo vivo siempre aquí;
Si Él cuida de las aves,
cuidará también de mí!
Not just sparrows, He watches
over Dad and I
'And Puppy and her puppies'!