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The Vanishings
Book SeriesThe Kids
Preceded Bynone
Followed BySecond Chance

"The Vanishings" is the first book in the children's series "Left Behind: The Kids", written by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins. Tyndale House Publishing first published it in 1998. It was later released in the compilation volume, Taken (Left Behind: The Kids).

Publisher's Summary

In one shocking moment millions around the globe disappear. Those left behind face an uncertain future – especially four kids who now find themselves alone.

As the kids search for help and answers, they are told the truth behind the disappearances. But are they ready to believe it?

In this new series based on the best-selling book Left Behind, Jerry B. Jenkins and Tim LaHaye present the Rapture and Tribulation through the eyes of four young friends – Judd, Vicki, Lionel, and Ryan. As the world falls in around them, they band together to find faith and fight the evil forces that threaten their lives.

Plot Summary

The book starts with the backstory of Judd Thompson Jr. Judd is sixteen years old. Judd had disdain for sharing the same name as his father. That is, until Judd finds a credit card in the mail wrongly addressed to him, clearly meant for his father. Judd then devises a plan to run away with cash from the card. He plans to go to O'Hare International Airport and board a plane to England. Just before Judd leaves, he yells at his brother, Marc Thompson, and lies to Mrs. Thompson about going to the library to study. Judd arrives at O'Hare and manages to obtain the last available seat on the plane. Rayford Steele makes an announcement that the plane should arrive at Heathrow Airport at 6 AM the following morning.

The second chapter describes the backstory of Vicki Byrne. Vicki is fourteen years old and lives in a trailer park with her family. Tom Byrne had difficulty finding jobs and scoffed when Dawn Byrne talked to him about Christianity. Vicki and her neighbors in the trailer park were considered "trailer trash" by upper-class citizens. Vicki recalls her disgust when her parents and younger sister became believers after listening to a speaker talk about God during one of the community dances. This happened two years earlier. Despite these transitions, Vicki refuses to believe.

The third chapter explains Lionel Washington's story. Lionel is thirteen years old. Lionel had several issues on his mind that caused him to think more. One of those thoughts is his maternal uncle, Andre Dupree. Andre is known to be a troublemaker in the Washington-Dupree family. Lionel watches as LeRoy Banks and Cornelius Grey threaten his uncle. When Andre and Lionel return to the Washington household, Lionel confesses his secret. That secret is that Lionel was secretly never a Christian himself, just like his uncle was never a Christian. Lionel feels ashamed and worried about this because his mother was truly admirable, clearly the most productive member of the family. Lionel is worried that if his family found out, it would be terrible. So Lionel lies to his mother at the end of the chapter, making him feel terrible.

The fourth chapter revolves around twelve-year-old Ryan Daley. Ryan is best friends with Raymie Steele, the son of Rayford. Raymie used to hang out with Ryan at his home against the rules set up by Marjorie Louise Daley, Ryan's mother. Raymie stopped doing that. When Ryan asked him why, Raymie told him that he became a Christian and that he decided to follow Jesus. Ryan is disgusted and skeptical when he hears this. Ryan overhears a conversation between Irene Steele and Rayford Steele. Ryan thinks about going to Raymie's church, but he never does.

The fifth chapter then shows that the four kids didn't know each other prior to the day that would forever change their lives. Judd and Vicki attend the same high school, but would not be seen together because of their different and respective social statuses. Judd doesn't remember the pilot of the plane he is on, Rayford Steele, occasionally attended New Hope Village Church. Judd had seen Raymie Steele at the youth group at New Hope Village Church, but did not know his name. The chapter goes on to show that Judd had no knowledge of Raymie's best friend, Ryan Daley. However, that night would change everything. Judd was on the plane consuming the champagne that was in front of him. Judd later watches as Cameron Williams helps an old man named Harold Peterson. Judd listens as Cameron speaks to Harold and his wife. Judd later relaxes and falls asleep, trying to get his mind off of his family. At the same time, Vicki is disgusted that her entire family, most notably her parents, have managed to hold on to their Christian beliefs. Vicki barely attends church herself. She acted really mean when her mother explained what the pastor was trying to say. Her parents are tearful when Vicki scoffs at them. One night, Vicki manages to sneak back into her trailer without being caught by her parents. She wonders about this, but doesn't dwell on that thought. Meanwhile, Lionel's uncle is busy entertaining most of the Washington family. Lionel's younger siblings were already asleep at this time. After Lionel's parents and older sister head to bed, Lionel and Andre then head to the basement, where Lionel falls asleep. Ryan is at home when he hears a bunch of sirens near his home. Ryan also sees a glow of fire in the background from his bedroom window. Ryan sneaks to his mother's room, then heads back to his bedroom and falls asleep.

The sixth chapter then describes Judd's experience on the plane that morning. He was feeling excited as he thought about finding a place in London to hide out at. Judd noticed the passenger next to him had prayed before he ate his meal. Judd also noticed that he had gotten a blanket. Judd also briefly notices Cameron and the Petersons before falling asleep. After sleeping for some time, Judd wakes up to discover panic and worrying on the plane. Judd sees Rayford trying to comfort Hattie. Judd notices the passenger next to him is missing. Mrs. Peterson was holding Harold's clothes in her arms. Judd watches as Rayford tries to assure Mrs. Peterson that her husband would be found. Judd then sees Cameron trying to find Harold. Judd notices a bunch of other seats with blankets, pillows, full sets of clothes, glasses, and jewelry. Cameron is then told by Hattie to sit down. Judd isn't completely sure of what has taken place, until Rayford is on the intercom begging everyone to remain calm. Judd realized that the Christian rapture has taken place. Rayford then announces the flight will be returning to Chicago. Judd leads the cheering when this is announced. Judd plans to return home and pay back the money stolen with the credit card, but also realizes that his entire family is already gone. Judd feels tears as Cameron warns a drunk passenger to stay awake. Judd refused all offers of drinks and food as he worries about what he will find at his house. Rayford announces to the whole plane that chaos will be expected on the ground as they headed back to Chicago. Judd sees smoke on the ground in the Chicago area as the plane descends.




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