My heart's desire is to bring God's word to life for children and families. It all started when I was asked to teach the 3 and 4 year old kids in my church, and the first story they gave me to teach was Genesis 22, Abraham offering Isaac on the altar. I couldn't help but wonder how I was going to teach such a big story to little kids. That's when I prayed about and God gave me a picture of a bear cub in the forest, and The Unforgettable Adventures of Junior Bear was born. Of course we didn't start where we are now; it has been a long journey. But along the way, God's word has come to life for our family and for the children we teach. We wanted to share with you the story where it all began. It is a bit different than the original, but as it has grown, it has gotten deeper. We hope you enjoy it, and, more importantly, that it points you to God's word so that it can come to life for you.
The Promise - By Brad Klassen
Junior Bear was excited when he woke up. It was his birthday. He had been waiting for a long time for today because it was the day he would get his promised birthday gift from his dad: a wooden dump truck. He had asked for it almost a month ago and his dad promised that he would make him one; and his dad never breaks his promises.
Junior jumped out of bed, quickly got ready and headed out of his room to find his dad.
“Good morning Birthday Bear,” Mr. Bear said cheerily as Junior stepped into the kitchen.
“Thanks, Dad,” Junior said, smiling as he sat at the table.
He could smell what his dad was making for breakfast: pancakes with fresh berries from the forest, all covered in homemade maple syrup. It was Junior’s favorite.
After breakfast, Mr. Bear reached under the table.
“Happy birthday, Junior,” he said handing him a present.
Junior could hardly contain his excitement as he took it, even though he knew what it was.
He ripped off the wrapping paper, opened the box, and looked inside.
His eyes grew big as he pulled out the most beautiful dump truck he had ever seen.
“Thanks, Dad!” he exclaimed, not even taking his eyes off his new gift. “It’s perfect.”
“You’re welcome,” Mr. Bear replied as he smiled proudly at his son.
Before he ran off to play with his gift, Junior gave his dad a bear hug.
For the next few days, all Junior did was play with his dump truck. All his other toys seemed boring now. Every time he played with it, it was like he had new joy in his heart. The best part was that he had asked for it, his dad had promised it, and now here it was. His dad was so good.
One day, a while later, as Junior was playing with his truck, Mr. Bear came by.
“Junior, I have an idea,” he said.
“What’s that, Dad?”
“How about you and I take a walk into the forest and go camping together? I know of the perfect spot. And yes, I want you to bring your dump truck.”
“That sounds great,” Junior said.
Early the next morning, Junior woke up and got ready to go. When he looked outside, he noticed that everything was wet and figured it had rained in the night, but he really wanted to go, so he grabbed his truck and the two headed out together.
Walking in the forest with his dad was Junior’s favourite thing to do. He would listen to his dad tell stories and teach him things about the forest.
As they were talking, Junior had a thought.
“Dad,” he said. “I noticed that when we packed we brought our food and our flint to make a spark, but we didn’t bring any fire starter. Since everything is wet, what are we going to use?”
“Something will be provided,” Mr. Bear replied.
After hiking for a while, Junior could see the spot where they were headed to. It was a beautiful hill, with lots of space.
Mr. Bear chose a great place to set up camp.
“Let’s go find some rocks to make a fire pit area and start a fire,” Mr. Bear suggested. “It’s getting a little chilly out here.”
Working together they found some rocks and placed them in a circle.
As Junior was about to put some sticks in the middle of the pit, he heard his father’s voice.
“Junior Bear, I need you to do something.”
Junior looked up to his dad.
“I need you to use your dump truck as the fire starter.”
Junior’s eyes grew big again, but not with excitement.
“What do you mean I need to use my dump truck?” he asked in shock.
“The forest is wet we have no dry kindling,” Mr. Bear said. “Your dump truck is the driest wood we have.”
Junior couldn’t believe what his dad was asking of him. This was his dump truck. The one gift he had asked for. The one gift his dad had promised him. The one gift his dad had given him.
His thoughts raced. He didn’t know what to think.
But then a new thought came to him. He thought of his dad and how he had always been good, he had never lied, he always kept his promises, and he could always be trusted.
Junior was nervous. He was even scared.
He took a hold of his gift and laid it in the middle of the stones.
With shaky paws, and a trusting heart, Junior grabbed the flint.
Just as he was about to make a spark, Mr. Bear called out.
“Don’t do it,” Mr. Bear said.
Junior sat on the ground beside the stones and took a deep breath as tears ran down his cheeks.
“Don’t do it,” Mr. Bear said again.
“Why did you ask me to do that?” Junior asked, still shaking a bit.
“I wanted to know something,” Mr. Bear said. “I wanted to know that you trusted me more than you loved your gift. Now I know you do.”
Junior climbed into his dad’s lap.
“And I always will,” he said as his dad wrapped his arms around him.
“Junior Bear,” Mr. Bear whispered. “Because you have done this and not withheld your favourite gift, I have something for you.”
Junior looked to see where his dad was pointing. Wiping the tears from his eyes he noticed something underneath a nearby brush. As he looked closer he saw it was a dump truck, but it was bigger than his other one. Much bigger.
Junior ran over and pulled it out.
“What’s this?” he asked.
“This is the dump truck I always promised you,” Mr. Bear replied. “I’ve always had this one in mind as my promise to you.”
“How did it get here?”
“My son,” Mr. Bear said quietly. “I had this trip planned before you even asked for a truck."
Junior couldn’t believe it. His dad’s promise was so much bigger than he could have imagined.
Giving his dad a bear hug, he knew that his dad was always good and could always be trusted.
As they sat together, the two were so close that Junior could hear his father’s heartbeat, and he knew that he was loved.
Copyright Brad Klassen September 8, 2018
One thing we love to do is create devotionals to go with our Junior Bear stories. Our plan is that there will always be a devotional at the end of our books that you can do with your family. Want to go deeper with THE PROMISE story? Check out our Activity pages we created to go along with the story! Just sign up below and we will deliver it to your inbox!
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Brad in 2 Sentences:
I love to write and teach people of all ages about Jesus. If I can tell a story and tell you about Jesus at the same time, even better!