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Australian children write letters to mission story heroes

The handwritten letters of encouragement were sent to India. Location: Perth, Australia

Australian children write letters to mission story heroes

[Photo courtesy of Andrew McChesney/Adventist Mission]

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A group of children in Australia celebrated three months of weekly mission stories from India by coloring Indian flags, preparing Indian cuisine, and writing letters to people featured in the stories. 

Scanned copies of the handwritten letters were e-mailed this month to the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s Southern Asia Division, whose territory includes India. 

The division’s communication director, G. Nageshwar Rao, subsequently forwarded the letters to local church leaders to distribute to the intended recipients — children and adults featured in the Children’s Mission magazine in third quarter 2017.

About 25 children from the Primary/Junior Sabbath School class wrote letters and otherwise participated in a special Thirteenth Sabbath program at the North Perth Seventh-day Adventist Church in Perth, Western Australia, said teacher Natalie Leitao, who organized the program. 

“Our children thoroughly enjoyed hearing the mission stories about some of the children at James Memorial Higher Secondary School and learning about aspects of life in India,” Natalie said. “On the Thirteenth Sabbath we had a special set of activities to celebrate Indian culture. Activities included cooking chapatis, trying on Indian clothing, and coloring the Indian flag and pictures of Indian animals.”

The children were especially keen to write the letters, Natalie said. “A number of children were very enthusiastic about writing to the people who had featured in our mission stories,” she said.  

A number of letters were addressed to Lakshmi, a girl who saved her mother’s life after a deadly cobra bite by teaching her to pray. 

“Good job protecting your Mum,” read a letter signed by a girl named Samara. “God will bless you for coming to Him for help. I hope one day I will be able to do something like that.”

A second girl, Pheobe, 10, expressed hope that Lakshmi would soon move into a new dormitory at her boarding school, church-owned James Memorial Higher Secondary School.  

“I hope you enjoy Adventist life, and I hope you get a beautiful dormitory,” Pheobe wrote.

One of the Thirteen Sabbath projects was to build a new girls’ dormitory at the school. Another child wrote to Shanker, a troubled boy from Mumbai who found Jesus at James Memorial Higher Secondary School.  

“I haven’t truly met you yet but by reading your mission story I can tell you are a good person,” the child wrote, adding, “May God bless you.” 

Madeleine, 10, encouraged Elisha and Solomi, a married couple who faced a struggle over the Sabbath, to remain faithful to the Lord.  “I hope that you both continue worshipping God and that you are blessed,” she wrote.

Other letters were addressed to other children like Sundar, a ninth-grade boy at James Memorial Higher Secondary School, who has experienced more sorrow than many his age.

Weekly mission stories are a major part of the Primary/Junior Sabbath School class at the North Perth church, teacher Natalie said. Every week, she places an enlarged picture of the person featured in the mission story on a bulletin board while telling the story. At the end of each quarter, 13 pictures are on display on the board.

Natalie made copies of photos from the Children’s Mission magazine. Photos and videos to compliment each mission story also are posted weekly on Facebook at the link: facebook.com/missionquarterlies.

While reading the Indian mission stories, the North Perth children “prayed for the people in the stories and their particular situations, and thanked God for the work He is doing in India,” Natalie said. 

“When we collected the mission offering, we would re-state what the money was being collected for to the point where the children were able to remember and name the different projects,” she said.

The children repeated the letter-writing activity at the end of fourth quarter 2017. Those letters are now being prepared for delivery to the Euro-Asia Division, which was featured that quarter.