Today’s story comes from a small town in northeastern South Africa called Ingwavuma [in-gwah-VOO-mah]. [Locate Ingwavuma on the mission map.]
Nokwanda [noh-KWAHN-dah] sings her favorite song (“Angels are watching over me; I am glad, I am glad”) as she sweeps the floor in her granny’s little house. Nokwanda is 8 years old and in the second grade. She and her cousin live with Granny. They keep the little home clean and neat, and her cousin helps Granny prepare meals, too.
Life With Granny
Nokwanda’s mother has gone to another town to finish her high school studies and work so she can provide a better life for Nokwanda. In Africa students often miss a year of school because they can’t pay their school fees or because the school is too far away to attend. When Nokwanda’s mother had the chance, she left her daughter with Granny and went to the big city to study and find work. She sends money to Granny whenever she can.
Nokwanda likes living with Granny. “Our house is small, and our food is simple,” she says. “Most days we eat mealie meal (ground corn) that we cook to make a porridge called oputu [oh-POO-too] that we eat with a spoon. When we cook the oputu thicker, we eat it with our fingers. We make a small ball with the oputu and push our thumb into it to form a little bowl. Then we dip the oputu into a sauce made of beans or vegetables and curry. It’s good, and it keeps our tummies filled,” she says.
Every Sabbath Granny takes Nokwanda and her cousins to the Adventist church. The church doesn’t have its own building, so it meets in the community center, a building that belongs to everyone in the town. It has only one room, so the children meet outside under an old tree for worship. But Nokwanda doesn’t mind. She likes going to church. “There are so many children in this church!” she says. “We like to sing a lot of songs, and then our teacher tells us Bible stories. Sometimes she shows us pictures with the story.”
It was during Sabbath School class under the towering old tree that Nokwanda learned that Jesus loves kids. “I know He loves me, and when I do something wrong and say I’m sorry, Jesus forgives me,” she says.
A Problem and a Promise
Nokwanda invites her friends to come to Sabbath School with her. Some come, but others say their parents won’t let them because the church doesn’t have a proper building.
Then one day in church the pastor announced that part of this quarter’s Thirteenth Sabbath Offering will help their congregation build a church—with a big children’s worship room! “I’m so happy that the children around the world will give their Thirteenth Sabbath Offering to help us build a children’s worship center,” says Nokwanda. “Then the children in our community can come and learn about God and sing praises to Jesus together!”