A PASSIONATE TEEN TEACHER
In the lowlands of Bolivia , Oscar Choque, age 14, has a passion for children. He loves teaching kindergarten children in the Sabbath School every week. In fact, Oscar has a vision to be a children's leader some day. Hence, he finds every opportunity to attend every teacher training seminar organized by the conference or union each quarter. Though his family is unable to finance his fares and fees, Oscar is not easily disheartened. He does all types of odd jobs to earn enough money to get himself to these seminars. In April 2005, Oscar sold potatoes to finance his trip to the Children's Ministries Leadership Seminar in Cochabamba where he met the General Conference Children's Ministries Director, Dr. Linda Koh and South American Division's Children's Ministries Director, Raquel Arrais. He shares his dream with them. Yes, he wants to be a Children's Ministries leader in the future. Wow! What a vision! What passion!
YAUSSEL ABREU’S MIRACLE!
Her beautiful voice fills the entire chapel. Her face exhibits peace and hope as she sang of Jesus’ love. Yes, God is the Rock of her life! God is her salvation! For twelve-year-old Yaussel Abreu of El Cerro Adventist Church in Cuba, being able to sing and witness for Jesus is a living miracle.
Yaussel suffered a rare disease called Periarteritis Nodosa which is a serious blood vessel disease where small and medium-sized arteries are abnormally inflamed and become swollen. She spent days and months in and out of hospital. At times life seems so difficult and unbearable for this little child. But the pains and aches did not deter her from getting involved in church activities.
“Whenever I feel better, I accompany my mama and hermana (elder sister) to My Story Hour,” beamed Yassuel. “I like this weekly Bible study group in my home town, Matanzas.”
But not long afterwards Yassuel’ser health deteriorated and her family had to move her to a better hospital in the capital city of Havana. Her stay in the hospital went from days to weeks to months. It seems a pity for a child to suffer so much and never really enjoy a regular childhood. Is life really fair?
“I love people, but I can’t touch them at all,” sighed Yaussel. “
Can children witness for Jesus? Of course, they can! Regardless of age, children can share their faith in a simple way. Graciela Martinez-Suarez from the Bolivia Adventist Church in Cuba was just five years old. She loved her Bible and the stories that thrilled her little heart about how God rescued Daniel from the lions’ den, Joseph and his wicked brothers, Paul meeting Jesus on the road to Damascus, etc. Hence, she enjoyed going with her mother to visit individuals who are interested in Bible studies. Of course, Graciela couldn’t give Bible studies now, but she could in the future. Maybe in just a few more years, she could study the Bible with others.
Each morning Graciela looked forward to going to kindergarten. She loved her teacher Ms. Taimara whom she felt was just as kind and loving as her Sabbath School teacher. She wanted Ms Taimara to go to heaven too when Jesus comes again.
“Graciela, does your family go to church?” asked Ms Taimara curiously.
“Yes, we are Seventh-day Adventists,” replied Graciela proudly. “We are happy because we know that Jesus loves us very much. He also loves you, Teacher.”
“Oh, is that right? What do you do at your church worship?” asked Ms Taimara curiously.
“We study the Bible, we pray, and we sing a lot,” explained Graciela excitedly, “let me sing you some songs.”
“Jesus loves the little ones like me, me, me …” Graciela’s sweet, childlike voice touched her teacher’s heart that day. A close bond was established.
Very often at recess time while other children were out playing, Ms Taimara would asked Graciela more things about the Bible. This preschooler enthusiastically shared with her teacher the wonderful stories from the Bible and the beautiful Sabbath day.
“Ms Taimara, guess what I brought you today?” asked Graciela excitedly. “My children’s Bible. You can keep it for a few days, but read the stories.”
Not long after that Ms Taimara and Graciela’s mother became good friends. Opportunity came when the Martinez-Suarez family opened their home to Ms Taimara to run a class in social studies for 4-year olds. After a few years of studying the Bible with her, she made the decision to be baptized into the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
Today, Graciela is a junior, but Ms Taimara is actively involved in children’s ministry. Yes, children can witness for Jesus! Let’s nurture this spirit in the little ones that they can testify for Jesus.