Today’s story comes from a school in the West-Central Africa Division. [Locate the countries of the division on a map.]
It was the first day of classes at an Adventist school in western Africa. Children gathered around a table standing under a shelter on the playground. The table held neat piles of school supplies—pencils, erasers, copybooks, crayons, and bookmarks, and some cards with a picture of Jesus and the words “Follow Me.”
Nine-year-old Joyce joined the other children who were whispering to one another. “Are these supplies for us?” “What are we going to do with them?” “This looks like fun!” The teacher arrived and Joyce and her friends stood quietly as the teacher spoke.
“We have a special mission project today,” she began. “We will make packets of school supplies to give to children who don’t know Jesus.” A flutter of excitement rippled through the cluster of children.
The teacher gave each child a bag and told them to walk around the table and pick up one item from each pile. “Be sure to put the card with the picture of Jesus in last,” she said. “This card is an invitation to Sabbath School.”
Joyce and her classmates filed around the table choosing what they would put into their bags as the teacher explained that some children in their own village didn’t have the money to buy school supplies to do well in school.
When everyone had finished filling and sealing their bags, the teacher bowed her head to pray. “Dear God,” she said, “please show each child the person You want to receive their bag of supplies. And bless those who will receive the bags. Help them to want to know more about You. In Jesus’ name, amen.”
“Children,” the teacher added, “If you ask Him, God will help you find the person He wants you to give the bag to. And when you give the bag to the child, tell them that Jesus loves them and wants to be their friend. Invite them to go with you to Sabbath School this week. And offer to walk them to the church if they are willing.”
When school ended Joyce picked up her book bag and the bag with school supplies and walked toward home. Every student on the street held a bag of school supplies. “Dear Jesus,” she prayed, “please help me to find someone who needs to know You love them. Amen.”
Joyce looked at the packet in her hand. She wished that she could keep it for herself, but she knew that God had a special plan for it. Who will I give it to? she wondered. Who do I know who needs school supplies and doesn’t know Jesus?
Joyce looked up from the packet to see a boy walking toward her. It was Theo. Suddenly Joyce smiled, for she knew she had found the person God wanted her to give the packet to.