Pastor Sakul [SAH-kool] and his wife moved to a house in a new neighborhood in Manado, Indonesia. [Locate Manado on the map.] They wanted to make friends with the neighbors, but everyone stayed in their own courtyards and kept their strong metal gates locked to protect their homes from thieves. Pastor Sakul and his wife prayed that God would help them find someone in their neighborhood with whom they could share their love for Jesus.
One day Pastor Sakul heard voices outside. He looked up and saw three boys walking down the road talking loudly. As he stepped to the door, the boys stopped and looked at him. “May we come in?” one of the boys asked.
Pastor Sakul smiled and opened the gate. These boys look hungry, he thought. He invited the boys to sit down in the shade on his small patio, and then he went into the house. A moment later he came back with a sack of local fruit. “Are you hungry?” he asked as he set the bag of fruit before the boys. The boys nodded and took a piece of fruit.
The oldest boy, Nando, stopped eating and looked at the pastor. “Are you a pastor?” he asked.
“Yes,” Pastor Sakul said, “but how did you know?”
“You’re kind, and you gave us fruit,” he answered. And with that a friendship began between Pastor Sakul and the boys.
Pastor Sakul learned that Nando and Miguel were brothers. Firman was their friend. The boys lived in a neighborhood of one-room houses on a hillside. Their homes were made of simple wood with palm-leaf roofs and dirt floors.
The boys stopped by the pastor’s house almost every weekend. They began calling Pastor Sakul “Opa” and Mrs. Sakul “Oma,” which mean grandfather and grandmother.
One day the boys asked if they could stay the whole weekend. Pastor Sakul visited the boys’ parents and asked permission for the boys to stay with him. They agreed, for the boys had told their parents of the kind pastor that lives at the bottom of the hill.
After that, the boys came almost every Friday to spend the weekend. They did their homework there and took their baths there. They joined Opa and Oma for worship and went to Sabbath School with them. They began learning to read the Bible and sing songs about Jesus.
Then one day Oma asked the boys if they would like to live at their house all the time. The boys were thrilled. “I like that Oma and Opa pray with us every day,” Nando says. Miguel likes Opa and Oma’s sons, who come home on school holidays. Firman likes that it’s safe in Opa and Oma’s house. They like to take turns reading the Bible and the devotional book. And of course the boys like to sing together.
The boys still spend time with their own families. Sometimes Miguel talks about what they are learning at church and at Oma and Opa’s house. Nando helps his mother by sweeping the floor and caring for his little sister while his mother cooks. He talks to his parents about what he is learning in church.
The parents see that their sons have changed a lot since they met Pastor and Mrs. Sakul. The boys have learned to be honest and obedient. They help around the house and pray often. They’ve learned that God loves them and has a plan for their lives. And they want their families to get to know Jesus too.
Pastor and Mrs. Sakul are glad to have three new sons now that their own sons are grown. They know that these boys are God’s answer to their prayers for neighbors with whom they can share God’s love.
We don’t have to invite people to live in our house in order to share God’s love. We can show them God’s love by being kind and honest. And we can help others know that Jesus loves them when we give our mission offerings too.