Charlotte lives with her uncle in a small town in northern Namibia. [Locate Namibia on a map.] Her family sometimes goes to church, but Charlotte knew almost nothing about Jesus or why she should love and worship Him. Then she met Kaisa [kah-EE-sah], The girls became best friends.
Kaisa didn’t go to school. She spent her days selling things to tourists who passed along the main street of town. When Charlotte wasn’t in class, she would find Kaisa and spend time with her. She helped Kaisa sell things. And when no customers came to the street to buy, the girls often played simple tag or hide-and-seek.
Kaisa invited Charlotte to her house one day. Charlotte found other children there. They were singing songs that Charlotte didn’t know. She listened carefully to the songs and tried to follow along. She enjoyed singing and clapping in time to the music. The songs were glad songs about God’s love.
The children stopped singing and told one another Bible stories. Charlotte marveled that the children knew so many stories so well and could tell them in such an interesting way.
A Fun Place to Learn
“Where did you learn all these Bible stories and beautiful songs?” Charlotte asked Kaisa.
“Have you ever seen a White man with a white car?” Kaisa asked in reply. Charlotte thought a minute, then nodded. Yes, she had seen this young man driving around town or at the market.
“He’s my friend,” Kaisa said. “His name is Charlie, and he’s a missionary. He leads the young people’s programs at the little Adventist church in town. I learned the songs and Bible stories from him.”
Charlotte thought about a church where kids had fun learning about God. Before she could ask her friend to take her to church, Kaisa invited Charlotte to a Pathfinder meeting.
“I’d love to go!” Charlotte said. So the girls went to the next Pathfinder program together.
“That was the most amazing program!” Charlotte said to Kaisa as the girls left the Pathfinder meeting. “I’m so glad you took me!”
Charlotte slipped into silence as the girls walked together toward their homes. It wasn’t the fun of meeting new friends and hearing Bible stories that had inspired her. It was realizing that God loves her and He cares for her and goes with her every day. She felt as if God had taken her hand and led her from darkness to light that day.
Charlotte continued to attend Pathfinders. She joined the children’s Sabbath School class and learned even more about God’s plan for her life. One day she told her parents that she wanted to join the Seventh-day Adventist Church. They weren’t angry that she wanted to become a Seventh-day Adventist. They were glad.
Camping With Jesus
One thing made Charlotte sad, however. The church youth planned campouts and retreats during school vacations. But her parents expected her to come home to the village, so she couldn’t attend. She loved her church family and missed these special times together.
Then in 2009 Charlie, the youth director, announced an all-Africa Pathfinder camp that would be held in neighboring South Africa. The children chattered happily about such an exciting event. Later Charlie told Charlotte, “We want you to go with us.” Charlotte was thrilled! She had never traveled far from home and had never been to a camporee.
“It was an amazing event,” she says. “But the best part is that I was baptized there with hundreds of other Pathfinders, my brothers and sisters in Jesus.”
Praying for Kaisa
Charlotte’s best friend, Kaisa, hasn’t made a commitment to God yet. “We’re still best friends,” Charlotte says, “but now I invite her to church. So we’ve reversed our roles. Please pray for Kaisa. And invite your friends to come to church and Pathfinders to see how great it is to be an Adventist youth.”