Nothing sends me to my knees faster than my realization of the faith of my students,” says Cathy Julius, teacher at Riverside Adventist School in Cape Town, South Africa. Julius believes that every crisis is an opportunity to lead students to Jesus.
Praying is as natural as breathing at Riverside Adventist School. Prayer bathes the teachers and students’ efforts and reassures them that God cares about every aspect of their lives. If a conflict arises or crisis engulfs a student’s family, it is met with prayer.
The Stolen Cell Phone
“Teacher,” Dile [DEE-leh] said, his voice trembling. “My cell phone’s gone. I left it with my clothes when I changed for physical education class. But it’s gone.”
Ms. Julius nodded. “We’ll pray that you will find your phone,” she said, and she shared Dile’s dilemma with the students and reminded them to pray about the missing phone. But as the school day ended, the phone was still missing. Students spilled out of the classrooms and onto the playground. Ms. Julius prepared to talk to an unhappy parent about the missing cell phone.
Then a scuffling noise in the doorway caught Ms. Julius’ attention. Two boys stood in the doorway, uncertainty filling their faces. Tears streaked the cheeks of one boy. “Teacher,” he said, “here’s Dile’s phone.” He placed the cell phone on the desk and stepped back. “My family is having a hard time,” he said quietly. “When I saw Dile put his phone with his clothes, I thought I could sell it and give my parents the money. But when you asked us to pray about the phone, the Holy Spirit talked to me, and told me I’d done wrong. I felt so bad.”
Ms. Julius sighed with relief. “I’m sorry you took the phone,” she said. “But I’m glad you listened when the Holy Spirit talked to you.” She prayed with the boys and then walked them to the principal’s office. Then she hurried to find Dile.
“Do you want to press charges?” she asked, giving Dile his phone.
“No, ma’am,” Dile said. “I’m just happy to have my phone back. I forgive them.”
The Lost Glasses
Veronica walked slowly toward her classroom, tears streaming down her face. Her best friend walked beside her as her classmates ran ahead so they wouldn’t be late for class.
Veronica had been playing netball, a form of basketball, during recess. She had taken her glasses off and laid them in a safe place while she played. But when recess ended, Veronica couldn’t find her glasses. She’d dropped to the ground and began searching with her fingers for her glasses. Her best friend had urged her to return to the classroom and tell the teacher what had happened.
The teacher told the class, “Let’s pray that God will help us find Veronica’s glasses.” After praying, the teacher sent several children to search for the glasses. “Walk carefully so you don’t accidentally step on them,” the teacher warned.
The children searched the playground for the missing glasses while Veronica waited in the classroom. But the students returned without the glasses.
Class resumed, but everyone felt sad that Veronica couldn’t read without her glasses.
Recess came, and the children went out to play. Several minutes later three girls ran to their teacher. “We found Veronica’s glasses!” they shouted. “We knelt down on the playing field and prayed that God would show us where to look for the glasses. Then we walked toward the soccer field on the far side of the building. There we saw something shining in the grass. It was Veronica’s glasses!” The girl gave the teacher the glasses.
They were near the soccer field?” the teacher asked, surprised. “That’s nowhere near where you girls were playing. The boys could have trampled them while they were playing soccer.” Then the teacher smiled. “The Lord surely has answered our prayers!”
The teacher washed the dust from the glasses and gave them to Veronica. Then the students prayed again, this time thanking God for protecting their friend’s glasses.
Veronica’s family aren’t Adventists. But when they heard how God had answered prayers to find their daughter’s glasses, their faith was strengthened. They’ve seen that God truly does answer prayer.
Riverside Adventist School needs to replace an old classroom block with a newer, safer building that meets government standards. Part of this quarter’s Thirteenth Sabbath Offering will help keep this school open so that more families can experience God’s incredible answers to prayer.