The woman scanned the list of children who had signed up for a mission trip. “This girl is only 9 years old,” she said. “She’s too young to go on such a demanding trip.”
Several teenagers from Holbrook Indian School in Arizona had signed up to spend part of their school vacation leading Vacation Bible School programs for Native American children on several reservations in North America. The trip would require long days of high-energy work and discipline.
“Her mother is one of our chaperones,” the pastor answered.
The woman thought for a moment and agreed that Kornikova [kor-nih-KOH-vah] could go. She was the youngest member of the mission team from Holbrook. But would she work?
From the first day Kornikova proved that she wanted to take part in every activity. She learned to tell Bible stories, paint hearts on little faces, make balloon animals, and teach the children to sing songs about Jesus.
She loved telling other Native American children about God and how His Son, Jesus, loves them and has a plan for their lives. She learned how to play the handbells so she could play “Jesus Loves Me” with the other children.
But Kornikova’s favorite activity was learning to use puppets to teach the children important lessons. Kornikova learned how to make her puppet move in lifelike ways, how to open its mouth as if it were speaking, and other skills that would entertain children while telling them stories about God. Kornikova loved working with puppets so much that the director gave her her own puppet to take home.
The busy days flew by, and by the end of the three-week mission trip hundreds of Native American children had learned that Jesus loves them and wants to be their friend. Kornikova learned many things as well. She had learned that she can make a difference in the lives of other children by her willingness to serve God.
When she returned home after the summer mission trip, Kornikova used her new puppet to tell Bible stories to her younger cousins and friends.
The next summer Kornikova again took part in the mission program, sharing God’s love with Native American children. She continues telling others about God’s love through programs sponsored by the Holbrook Indian School.
God Has a Plan
Kornikova has learned that she can serve God, no matter how young she is. “When I grow up I want to tell my people about Jesus,” she says. “I want them to know that God loves them and has a plan for their lives.”
And she has a message for us, too. “No matter how small you are, God can use you to bless others.”
Part of our Thirteenth Sabbath Offering this quarter will help the children from Holbrook Indian School continue sharing God’s love with Native American children across North America.