Because of the transition between Mission editors, we have taken the liberty of suggesting that the adults use the children’s Thirteenth Sabbath Program this quarter. Thank you for graciously understanding.-—Mission staff
Leader: The West-Central Africa Division is made up of 22 countries. [Show the map on the back of Children’s Mission.]
Three years ago our mission offering helped children in these countries share God’s love by providing back-to-school supplies and invitations to attend Sabbath School. Let’s hear how one girl helped share God’s love by using supplies purchased through our mission offerings.
Storyteller: It was the first day of classes at an Adventist school in western Africa. Children gathered around a table standing under a shelter. The table held neat piles of school supplies—pencils, erasers, notebooks, crayons, and bookmarks with a picture of Jesus and the words “Follow Me” printed on them.
Nine-year-old Joyce joined the other children who were examining the supplies. The teacher arrived and explained why the supplies were on the table.
“We have a special mission project today,” she began. “We will make packets of school supplies to give to children who don’t know Jesus.” A flutter of excitement rippled through the cluster of children.
The teacher gave the children plastic bags and told them to walk around the table and pick up one item from each pile. “Be sure to put the card with the picture of Jesus in last, so it shows through the bag,” she said. “This card is an invitation to Sabbath School.”
Joyce and her classmates walked around the table choosing what they would put into their bags as the teacher explained that some children in their own village didn’t have the money to buy school supplies to do well in school.
The children filled and sealed the bags. Then the teacher bowed her head to pray. “Dear God,” she said, “please show us the children You want to receive these school supplies. Bless them and help them to want to know more about You. In Jesus’ name, amen.”
After school that day the children picked up the bags of school supplies. The teacher said, “Ask God to show you the person He wants you to give the bag to. And when you give the bag to the child, tell them that Jesus loves them and wants to be their friend. Invite them to go with you to Sabbath School this week.”
Joyce picked up her bag with school supplies and walked toward home. She saw many children coming home from school. “Dear Jesus,” she prayed, “please help me to find someone who needs to know You love them. Amen.”
Joyce looked up and saw a boy walking toward her. It was Theo. Joyce smiled, for she knew she had found the person God wanted her to give the packet to.
“Hi, Theo,” Joyce said. “Did you start school today?”
“No,” Theo said. “My dad didn’t have money for school supplies.”
Joyce smiled broadly. “Well, now you can go to school! Jesus wants you to have these school supplies!” Joyce held up the plastic bag with the notebook, pencil, crayons, and the picture of Jesus in it.
Theo looked at the bag “Why are you giving this to me?” he asked.
“Children from around the world gave a special offering so we could buy school supplies for children who don’t have any. At my school today we prayed that God would show us who we should give them to. God told me to give this bag to you!” Joyce pressed the bag of supplies into Theo’s hands. “Take it,” she said. “It’s from Jesus, and it’s for you.”
Slowly a smile crept across Theo’s face. “Wow,” he said. “Thank you! Now I can go to school.”
“There’s more,” Joyce added quickly. “There’s an invitation in the bag for you to visit my Sabbath School on Saturday. If you wish, I’ll walk with you so you won’t have to go alone.”
Theo thanked Joyce and promised to ask his mother for permission to go to Sabbath School with her.
On Sabbath morning Theo met Joyce in front of his house. The two friends walked to church together. Joyce introduced Theo to her Sabbath School teacher and to the children in her class. Theo enjoyed learning the songs the children sang. He liked the stories about Jesus and His disciples that the teacher told. In fact, he enjoyed everything about Sabbath School.
On the way home later that day, Theo asked if he could come to Sabbath School with Joyce again. “Of course you can!” Joyce said with a big smile. “Jesus—and I—invite you!”
Theo continued attending church with Joyce. He told his mother about what he was learning and asked her if he could take his younger brother to Sabbath School as well. Now Theo and his brother and mother attend Sabbath School regularly. “I am glad that Joyce—and Jesus—invited us to church,” Theo says. “And thank you for helping me have school supplies so I could do well in school, too!”
Leader: Our Thirteenth Sabbath Offering three years ago helped thousands of children throughout West-Central Africa go to school and learn about Jesus in Sabbath School. We won’t know how many children found a new friend in Jesus until we get to heaven, but we can be sure many will be there because we gave our offering. Let’s plan now for a big offering this Thirteenth Sabbath too, so even more children will join us in heaven.
This quarter the children in two schools in Benin and Senegal [locate on map] will receive books so that they can discover the joy of reading while they learn more about Jesus.
Next quarter will feature the Southern Asia Division. Special projects include dormitories and classroom blocks for three boarding schools and churches for existing congregations in every region including the Bhutanese and Nepalese people.