One warm Sabbath afternoon, Katelyn and Kallie (Kaylee) were playing in the backyard with their dog, Lady. Suddenly, Kallie cried, “It’s the Mission Girls!” Quickly both girls ran to the back fence and waved energetically at the three older girls walking along the berm behind the property.
“Can we come with you?” Katelyn called, after the three girls had smiled and waved back at them. “Sure!” they replied, and stepped into the shade of the tall cottonwood tree, waiting for Katelyn and Kallie to check with their mom and grab their masks.
Once permission was granted, the five girls struck off through the sand and brush, giggling and laughing. Kallie found a sunflower bush and picked some flowers to give to the missionary girls. Katelyn found a glass bottle that she decided to keep for a project.
After trudging through the hot sand for several minutes, the group came to the welcome shade of a small cottonwood tree, which also served as the roof over a fort the girls had been working on. They took off their sandals and wiggled their feet in the warm sand. “This is wonderful!” Miss Kristen said. “Thank you so much for bringing us here!”
Miss Martessa suggested that they make pictures in the sand of different bible stories. Quickly each girl found a place to build her story. Everyone was so intent on their story that there was not the usual chatter, and you could hear the breeze rippling through the leaves of the tree and in the distance, a horse whinnying.
Katelyn made a human figure from a stick and a sunflower. Kallie carved an ark on the top of Mt Ararat into a clump of sand. Katelynn also carved baby Moses out of a clump of sandstone. What a creative young lady!
As Kallie was looking for just the right leaf for her story, she spied a prickly pear cactus. Right on the top of the cactus was a pear cactus fruit. Excitedly she ran to tell the rest of the girls. Soon they all gathered around the cactus, but not too close to the long thorns.
Katelyn took a forked stick and pried the small fruits off of the plant. Then she carefully put them on a leaf. Back at the tree fort, the five girls used sticks to pry open the grape sized fruit, being careful not to touch the skin that was covered with miniscule thorns. Inside, the fruit had hard seeds surrounded by sweet juice and meat. It smelled like a watermelon but tasted tangy like an orange and sweet like a melon. Miss Kristen and Miss Alisa both got a thorn in their tongue, which they later had to pull out.
All too soon it was time to go home. “Thanks for letting us come along!” Katelyn and Kallie said. “We were very excited when we saw the Mission Girls coming!”
View the story as originally published on Arizona Heartbeat.