For the next few weeks we will meet children who live in Armenia [ar-MEE-nee-ee-ah}, a small country in southwestern Asia. [Locate Armenia on a map.] Armenia lies next to Turkey, Iran, Azerbaijan, and Georgia [Point to each country as you name it.]
Armenia is not a rich country. Many people struggle to live. But children everywhere love to play and make friends. Today’s story is about what happens when a boy invites his friend to meet Jesus.
Moses is 8 years old. He and his family are Adventists. One day as Moses and his mother were walking to church, he saw a man working in his garden. “Why doesn’t that person go to church?” Moses asked his mother.
“Perhaps it’s because you haven’t prayed for him,” Mother said gently. “You must pray for people if you want them to know about God.” So Moses began praying for people he met who, he thought, didn’t know God.
Before long Moses had a long list of people to pray for during family worship. Sometimes even his parents didn’t know some of the people Moses prayed for!
Several months ago Moses and his family moved to a little village in western Armenia. A few days later Moses met Hayk [hike], a boy who lives nearby. The two boys quickly became friends. They enjoy playing with Legos and riding their bicycles together.
Moses realized that Hayk didn’t know Jesus. His family didn’t go to church. So Moses started praying for his friend. He wanted to invite Hayk to church, but first he decided to give Hayk a book about Jesus. His mother helped him choose a book on the life of Jesus that Hayk would enjoy.
Hayk liked the book and started reading it even before Moses left his house. Hayk read late into the evening and again the next day. The book has lots of pictures that held Hayk’s interest.
The next time Moses and Hayk were together, Moses’ mother noticed that Hayk had been reading the book. She asked the boys some questions about stories she knew were in the book, and Hayk answered them all. Hayk said that he tells his mother the stories that he reads, and now his mother and sister want to read the book, too.
A few days after Moses gave Hayk the book, Hayk asked his friend, “May I go to church with you?”
Moses was surprised at Hayk’s question, for he had planned to invite Hayk to church soon. “Of course you can go to church with me!” Moses said. He was thrilled that inviting his friend had been so easy.
Hayk went to church with Moses that week, and he loved it. “I want to go to church every Sabbath!” Hayk told Moses. “Even when it’s raining, I want to go!”
Hayk especially likes the Bible stories he hears in Sabbath School and church. Children in Armenia don’t have lesson quarterlies, so the teacher reads the lesson in Russian and tells it to the children in Armenian. Then they memorize Bible texts that are related to the story they’ve heard. The teacher repeats the Bible texts over and over so the children can learn it.
Hayk is so excited about what he’s learning in church that he’s invited some of his friends to go with him. One week five boys and girls went to church with him. Now Hayk is looking for more children to invite to church.
Moses urges other children to pray for their friends and then invite them to church, just as he invited Hayk. And Hayk is glad that Moses cared enough to invite him to church. Now he is inviting others to come.
Boys and girls, we can be like Moses and Hayk. We can pray for the people we meet, and we can invite them to church. Who knows which ones will want to follow Jesus one day?