Ten-year-old Moses stared out the airplane window at the large, modern city below. This would be his new home. What will it be like to live in the United States? Moses wondered. Will I make friends here? Will I even be able to talk to them?
Moses and his family had fled their homeland in central Africa when a terrible war broke out. For as long as Moses could remember, his family had lived in one refugee camp after another. His parents built shelters out of plastic tarps and sticks. When it rained, everything got wet. Often there wasn't enough food to eat, or clean water to drink.
Gangs often entered the camps at night to steal anything of value. Sometimes Moses' family slept in the open fields to escape the gangs.
"We always prayed for God's protection," Moses says. "But sometimes I wondered why God let these things happen."
One day Moses' father called the family together. "I have news for you," he said. "Soon we will leave the camp and go to live in a new country, the United States."
Questions flooded Moses' mind. What will life be like in this new country? Where will we live? How soon can we leave?
The family talked about what life might be like in the United States. "America is a land where people are so busy working and playing that often they don't have time for God," Father said. "We must never forget God and must tell others about Him."
The family arrived in America and moved into an apartment. Moses and his brother and sisters enrolled in school. On the first day of classes Moses didn't know where to go or how to find his class. The other children walked past him as if they couldn't see him. They spoke English, a language Moses didn't understand. Finally someone saw Moses and showed him to his class.
Moses studied hard and soon could understand enough English to speak to his classmates. He began telling his new friends that Jesus loves them. Some listened, but others ignored him. That made Moses sad, but he prayed that God would open their hearts so they would want to learn about Jesus.
Father and Mother studied hard to learn English so they could find work. They needed help with everything—finding a grocery store and a church. At times it seemed so hard! But after many months of studying and searching for work, Father found a job.
Then one day Moses heard shouting outside their apartment. The door burst open, and Father stumbled into the apartment holding his hands over his face. Moses learned that some teenagers didn't want their family in their neighborhood. One of them had thrown a rock at Father that had hit his eye. At the hospital the doctors said that Father would never see out of that eye again. Moses was angry that these teenagers had hurt his father. But Father told the family, "We can't be angry when someone hurts us. We must forgive them and pray for them." Moses knew that his father was right, but it was still hard to forgive the teens who hurt his father.
The family has found a different place to live, and church members are helping to pay the children's tuition so they can study in the Adventist school.
Moses wants to be a pastor, just as his grandfather in Africa was. Already he shares God's love with his friends and neighbors. He offers to study the Bible with them so that they will learn to love God too. "God has been with my family through hard times," he says. "He will never leave us."
Boys and girls, part of our Thirteenth Sabbath Offering will help refugees, such as Moses and his family, to learn about God. And we can help them every day by offering to be their friend and telling them that Jesus loves them.