I am seven years old and live in Lethbridge, Canada.

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Last summer I went on a vaca­tion to Japan with my family. My two little sisters and I got excited as we rode the airplane together. It was my first trip to Japan in three years.

The best thing about Japan was seeing a real live rhinoceros beetle! When we went to Mount Myoko, there was a beetle for sale at the gift shop. It looked so strong and cool. I wanted it so badly.

"Mom! I want this beetle! I promise to take care of it. So can we get it?" I begged my mother.

"But Kiyo, even if we buy this beetle now, we can't take it home with us to Canada. You understand that, right?" said my mother.

"Yeah, that's okay! I'll let it go at the airport. All I want is to keep it, even just for a little while!"

So my mother bought it for me. Finally, I got my own beetle, which I had dreamed about.

The beetle's horn soars to the sky like a spear. Its brown shell is hard like armor and shiny from the sun's rays. There's no way it could lose in a fight with other insects.

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I was so happy. Everywhere I went, I carried the beetle cage with me. When I went to the toilet, I watched the beetle closely; when I went to bed, I laid his cage next to my pillow.

After coming back from the mountain, we stayed over at my cousin Kazuki's home in Tokyo. Kazuki also had a pet beetle, so we played with them and lined them up side-by-side. It was so fun.

Then, one morning while we were staying over …

"The beetle isn't in his cage! Where did he go?" I almost began to cry as I asked my mother.

"What? Really? Could he have flown away?"

The night before, the beetle fluttered his wings loudly, so my mother placed the cage out on the balcony of the thirteenth-floor apartment. If Mom hadn't put it outside, he wouldn't have flown away. Why did she have to do that?

"Mom, I hate you!"

I started to cry and punched Mom in the stomach, over and over.

"Kiyo, I'm sorry. I know you're sad that the beetle you loved so much flew away. I'm really sorry."

Mom apologized again and again and hugged me, but I was so sad, I couldn't stop crying.

After that, all I could think about was beetles. Even after returning to Canada I couldn't forget that beetle.

One day Mom became sick and had to leave home. She stayed at the hospital.

Dad said, "Mom is very sick; but if we pray to God, He will heal her. So, let's all pray together for Mom."

Then my two grandmothers came over. They helped make dinner, brushed our teeth and gave us baths. I wondered, Is Mom that sick? Mom, what happened to you? I didn't understand. Mom, I'm sorry I said I hate you.

I became very sad.

Every night, Dad and our two grandmas prayed loudly to God. At first I watched TV instead, but after a few days I began to sit and pray with them.

I had two prayers: "Heavenly Father, please make Mom healthy again, and please give me another beetle."

Every day, I prayed these two prayers.

In place of the beetle, I dug through our garden and the flowerbed at school to find ants, crickets, worms, ladybugs, and pill bugs, and kept them as pets. But it just wasn't the same. Something was missing.

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I drew pictures of beetles everywhere I went. I drew them in my sketchbook, on the sidewalk, and I drew a great big beetle on the whiteboard in Dad's office at the university.

When playing with Lego or origami, all I made was beetles.

I spread maple syrup on the tree in the yard. Every day, I checked to see if a beetle had come to eat it, but it never came. Before long, it began to snow; the cold winter had come.

Mom came home from the hospital but she was still in pain. We kept praying for her every night.

Then one day, Dad came home from work and handed me a clear plastic case.

"Kiyomitsu, do you remember that beetle you drew in my office? A professor doing research on insects walked by and saw your drawing. He said, 'If this boy likes beetles so much, he can have some larvae from my beetle colony!’ So he has given you a bunch of his beetle larvae. You raise them and take good care of them."

Wow! God really had listened and answered my prayers! It was amazing! My prayers were really answered.

Dad and Mom and our grand­mothers were all happy for me. That night, I was so happy I couldn't sleep, even thouh Mom told me to. I wanted the beetles to grow up quickly.

God heard and answered my prayer, so I know He will answer my other prayer too.

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A few days later Mom said to me, "Kiyo, thank you for your prayers. Today the doctor saw me and said I can stop taking that medicine they had said I would have to take for the rest of my life. God is helping to heal me, so I will get healthier. I am so happy." Mom had tears in her eyes. She hugged me tightly.

"Heavenly Father, thank You for listening to my two prayers. God, please keep us healthy and please be with us always."

The end.

Story by Nobuko Fujiwara
Drawings by Kiyomitsu Fujiwara
(This is a true story about a boy, and his mother with myasthenia gravis.)