Patricia lives in central Cameroon. [Locate Cameroon on a map.] She’s a lot like other girls. She likes to jump rope and talk with her friends. But in some ways Patricia is different from other children. She has HIV, a serious disease that often makes her sick. Patricia knows that she could die. Her mother died of AIDS, a disease related to HIV.
When Patricia’s mother died, Patricia went to live with her grandmother. Her father couldn’t pay her tuition at the Adventist school, so he sent Patricia to the public school near their home.
But the children in her new school treated her badly because she is sick. They refused to play with her or even talk to her. Patricia begged her father to let her go to the Adventist school. “Please, Daddy,” she said. “The teachers and children in the Adventist school don’t tease me. They pray for me. Please, please let me go to the Adventist school.”
Finally Father let Patricia go back to the Adventist school to study. “I love my school,” she says. “When I’m feeling well, I’m just one of the children in my class. “And when I’m not well, the teachers and the children help me.”
Patricia’s father can’t always pay her tuition. So Patricia prays that God will make a way for her to stay in school.
Patricia enjoys attending Sabbath School, too. She likes the Bible stories. “My favorite story is about Moses,” she says. “When he was born he was hidden in a basket in the river. The pharaoh’s daughter found him there and adopted him as her own son. God saved Moses from death because his mother prayed for him.
“God loved Moses very much,” Patricia says with a smile. “He gave Moses a special work to do. I know that God loves me and He has something special for me to do, too. God can use me to help people come to Jesus. I don’t know how He will do that, but I know He will.”
Patricia wants children to know that even if they have problems in life—if they are poor or sick or have other troubles—God is with them and will help them. “Trust God and worship Him,” she says. “Obey your teachers and your parents. Whatever you do, do it for Jesus. That way others will know that Jesus lives in your heart.”
Patricia knows that God didn’t make her sick, but He can use her sickness to help other people learn to love others more and to be kind to one another. That’s part of being a light for Jesus. Another way we can be a light for Jesus is by giving our mission offerings every week. Our offerings help build schools such as the one Patricia attends. That way many more children can learn how to love God and serve Him.