Mai [My] lives in a jungle village in a country in southeastern Asia. We can’t say which country she lives in, but we can say that most of the people living there aren’t Christians, and many have never heard of Jesus. They worship idols in temples, touching their heads to the ground when they kneel to pray. They place gifts of flowers and food and sweet-smelling incense before their special gods in the temple.
The country has some Christians and several thousand Adventists. Some worship in churches, as we do, and others worship in small groups that meet in houses in the countryside. The believers are very faithful and try never to miss a worship service. They are hungry to know more about God.
Mai saw a group of people sitting in the shade of a thatched building one day. They were listening to a man talking. The man held up a large picture, but Mai couldn’t quite make it out. She slipped to the front of the gathering and sat down on the warm dirt. From there she could hear the man and see his picture.
Mai studied the picture. It was of a man dressed in a long robe and holding a lamb. The man looked so kind! I wonder who he is, she thought to herself. As she listened to the speaker, she realized that the man in the picture was called Jesus. Mai had never heard of Jesus before. The speaker told the people that Jesus is the Son of the living God, that He loves them and wants them to live with Him forever in a place called heaven.
The speaker told stories of how Jesus healed people just by touching them or speaking to them. As Mai listened to the man’s stories, she wished she could meet this Jesus. But then the man said something that shocked Mai.
“Jesus came to this world to show people what God is like. But some people didn’t like what He said, and they had Jesus killed.”
Now I’ll never get to meet Jesus! Mai felt a lump of sadness in her throat.
“But Jesus is God,” the speaker continued, “and God cannot die. Jesus rose from the dead and walked the earth for many days, showing Himself to those who had believed in Him and followed Him. Then he returned to His Father in heaven. He’s still there, sitting on a throne beside His Father, telling His Father how much He loves us—you and me and everyone! When we ask forgiveness for things we do that are bad, Jesus reminds His Father that He died for us. He wants us to live with Him forever in heaven. But to do that, we must allow Him to make us into a new person, pure and clean.”
A flame of hope glowed in Mai. I want to know more about Jesus! I want to be clean and live with Jesus forever.
When the meeting ended, Mai ran home to tell her mother what she had heard. “I want to know more about Jesus,” she said with excitement bubbling over in her heart. “Please, may I go tomorrow and hear more about Jesus?”
Mai’s mother said nothing for several minutes as she pounded grain into flour. But Mai knew that she was thinking. Mother was always silent when she was thinking. Then she said softly, “Yes, you may go. You’re old enough to decide for yourself who shall be your God.”
Mai murmured a thank-you and quietly walked away. She knew that her mother’s permission was not easily granted.
The next day Mai returned to the shade tree where she had heard the man speak. Others gathered, but there were fewer than there had been the previous day. Mai listened carefully as the man held a book, the Bible, and talked more about Jesus and the Christian way. She returned every day for a week, drinking up the love that God was pouring out.
Mai wished she could read God’s Word for herself, but she didn’t know where she could get a Bible. Few people in her country have Bibles, and certainly few children. So Mai waits for an opportunity to read God’s Word, to hold it in her hand.
This quarter the children are giving their Thirteenth Sabbath Offering to help provide Bibles for children such as Mai, so they can learn about Jesus and share what they are learning with their parents and friends. Let’s give a large offering on Thirteenth Sabbath so that Mai and many others in her country can learn that Jesus loves them.