Patricia lives in central Cameroon. [Locate Cameroon on a map.] She’s a lot like other girls. She likes to jump rope and talk with her friends. But in some ways Patricia is different from other children. She has HIV, a serious disease that often makes her sick. Two years ago Patricia’s mother died of AIDS, a disease related to HIV.
When Patricia’s mother died, she and her sister went to live with their grandmother. Her father couldn’t pay the girls’ tuition at the Adventist school, so he sent them to the public school near their home.
But Patricia begged her grandmother and father to let her study at the Adventist school. “The children in the public school shun me because I’m sick,” Patricia said. “But the teachers and children in the Adventist school don’t tease me. They pray for me. If I don’t feel well or need help, they will help me or get the teacher. Please, please, let me go to the Adventist school.”
Father and Grandmother allowed Patricia to return to the Adventist school. “I love my school,” she says. “When I’m feeling well, I’m just one of the children in my class. “And when I’m not well, the teachers and the children help me.”
Patricia’s father can’t always pay her tuition. So Patricia prays that God will make a way for her to remain in school.
Patricia enjoys attending Sabbath School, too. She likes the Bible stories the most. “My favorite story is about Moses,” she says. “When he was born he was hidden in a basket and found by the pharaoh’s daughter. God saved him from death because his mother prayed for him.
“God loved Moses very much,” Patricia says with a smile. “He gave Moses a special work to do. I know that God loves me and He has something special for me to do, too. God can use me to help people come to Jesus. I don’t know how He will do that, but I know He will.”
Patricia wants to tell her story so that we will know that even if we have problems in life—if we are poor or sick or have other troubles—God is with us and will help us. “Trust God and worship Him,” she says. “Obey your teachers and your parents. Help those who care for you. Whatever you do, do it for Jesus. That way others will know that Jesus lives in your heart.”
Patricia is wise for a young girl. She knows that God didn’t make her sick, but He can use her sickness to help other people learn to love others more and be kind to one another. That’s part of being a light for Jesus. Another way we can be a light for Jesus is by giving our mission offerings every week. Our offerings help build schools such as the one Patricia attends. That way many more children can learn how to love God and serve Him.