Clarita is 8 years old. She lives in a city in the beautiful hills of eastern Peru. It’s hot and humid most of the year where Clarita lives. Farmers grow rice and oranges and bananas and lots of other foods we love to eat.
Every year the people of Peru—and most of South America—celebrate the week before Easter, which they call Holy Week. Churches have parades and special meetings to remind people that Jesus died and rose from the grave. The Adventist Church plans special meetings during this week too. They want to help people understand that Jesus loves them and died to save them.
Clarita’s church has meetings for children as well as adults. Last year Clarita invited five of her friends to the meetings at church. The children had fun listening to Bible stories and singing and doing activities that helped them remember the story they learned. “We painted pictures about Jesus and made paper flowers,” Clarita says. “We cut palm leaves from paper to remind us that people put palm leaves on the path as Jesus rode into Jerusalem on the donkey. One night we made play clay figures while we listened to the story of David and Goliath.”
Clarita’s friends came to every program. They had fun and were sorry when the programs ended. When Clarita told her mother that her friends wished the meetings would keep going, Mother suggested that Clarita invite them to their house on Friday evening to listen to more Bible stories and sing songs to Jesus. Clarita liked the idea and was sure her friends would, too.
Clarita invited her friends to come to her house. She thought of other children who might enjoy the meeting and invited them, too. Soon Clarita’s house was filled with children on Friday night. They sang and listened to a Bible story and prayed together. Then they did a Bible study for children. Each child took their Bible study home.
Clarita invited the children to Sabbath School too, but she lives far from her church, so it’s hard for the children to come. Sometimes her mother rented a mototaxi, a three-wheeled motorbike that is used as a taxi, to pick up the children who wanted to go to church. Sometimes five people came to church in one mototaxi.
Clarita and her mother finished the 13 Bible-study lessons, but the children wanted to keep coming. So Mother and Clarita are using other Bible stories. “My friends want to keep coming to the small group,” Clarita says. “So we will keep it going. Most of my friends don’t attend a church, so it’s important that we teach them about God. Someone has to, or they won’t know how much Jesus loves them.
“I want every child to know that God loves them and that He will never leave them,” she says. “God is counting on us.”