If your class will present the Thirteenth Sabbath program for the adults:
If your class will not join the adults for a special program, present the following story during the mission time.
[Ask four junior-age children to present this program. They don’t have to memorize their parts, but encourage them to read through their part several times so that their presentation is smooth and comfortable.]
Narrator: Southern Asia Division is made up of three main countries—India, Bhutan, and Nepal. India has more people than any country except China—almost 3 billion people. The Adventist Church has sent missionaries to India for more than 100 years. Today more than 1.6 million people in India are Adventists. That’s one Adventist for every 804 people.
For most of those 100 years schools have been an important way to lead people to Jesus. Many children from non-Christian homes study at Adventist schools because parents know their children will be taught well and will learn to be honest and kind. Let’s meet Alia [ah-LEE-ah], whose life was changed because she attended an Adventist school.
Alia: My parents weren’t Christians when I was starting school. But after a difficult experience in the first grade, they sent me to the Adventist school, hoping that I would do better there. The teachers were kind and helpful to me, and I learned quickly.
I didn’t learn only reading and math and geography; they taught me about Jesus in morals class. The school didn’t hold classes on Saturday, but I learned that some children attended Sabbath School that day. So I went to Sabbath School too, for I wanted to know more about God. I liked Sabbath School a lot, especially the stories. I love stories, and my Sabbath School teacher told many stories about Jesus.
I told my mother what I was learning in Sabbath School, and she came to church with me. She attended the adult class, and before too many months Mother gave her heart to Jesus and joined the church. When I was old enough, I joined the church too. My father hasn’t given his heart to Jesus yet, but he comes to church with us sometimes.
I’m so glad that my parents sent me to an Adventist school. My whole life is different because of this school.
Narrator: India has two main languages, Hindi and English, and many other state languages. Adventist schools in India teach in English. Being able to speak and read English helps children do better after they finish high school.
Many children are being sponsored to attend Adventist schools throughout India. One of these children is Amol. He attends one of the schools that will receive new classrooms from our Thirteenth Sabbath Offering today. Amol, tell us about yourself and why you are studying at an Adventist school.
Amol: My parents were Adventist Christians. My father died when I was 6 years old, and my mother got sick and died a year later. My brother and I went to live with our grandparents, but life was difficult.
One day a pastor came to our village and held evangelistic meetings. My grandfather asked the pastor to help me go to an Adventist school, and the pastor found a sponsor for me.
I really like my school. The teachers are nice, and the children are friendly. I just wish my little brother could study here, but he doesn’t have a sponsor, and my grandparents can’t pay his school fees.
I remember that my mother wanted me to be a pastor. If God calls me, I will be happy to obey.
Our school is getting old, and the classroom block needs to be replaced. Part of today’s offering will help my school get a new classroom block. Thank you for helping children like me get a good education in a Christian school.
Narrator: Thank you, Amol. Three Adventist schools will receive help from our Thirteenth Sabbath Offering today. But there is another project. It’s to help build churches in India. Kevin is 9 years old and lives in western India. He is a child preacher. Kevin knows that when a child preaches, even adults listen.
Kevin: I started preaching when I was 7 years old. My Sabbath School teacher invited me to speak for Children’s Sabbath in church. I couldn’t read much yet, so my parents helped me learn my sermons. We children practiced our parts a lot, and we were prepared. God really blessed, and, though I was nervous, God used my friend and me to speak to many people that day.
Since then I’ve preached at many different churches in our area of India. I’m learning how to speak in front of other people, and this is a good skill for when I grow up.
I think that when a kid preaches, people relax and listen with their hearts. People have told me that when they know a child is preaching, they like to invite their friends who don’t go to church. It’s a neat experience for the visitors, and they’re often surprised that children can speak in front of adults.
When I preach, I give an altar call. One time a woman came forward and asked for prayer. She said she was visiting the church and just learning about Adventists. She had planned to go somewhere else that day, but God led her to church.
People in India are hungry to hear the good news that Jesus is the true and living God, that He loves them and wants to be part of their lives. Many people are joining the Adventist Church, and that’s good. But many new congregations don’t have a place to meet. Some worship under trees or in homes or rented buildings. They need a simple church of their own in which to worship and invite their friends.
Part of today’s Thirteenth Sabbath Offering will help build churches for congregations in the Southern Asia Division that don’t have a permanent place to worship.
Narrator: Today we have the opportunity to help our brothers and sisters in the Southern Asia Division to have places where they can worship God and where students can sleep when they are at boarding schools. Let’s give generously to help them.