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Adventist Mission


A Good Start

To Sabbath School teachers: This story is for Sabbath, January 6.

By Andrew McChesney


imon loved running in northern India. He especially admired Usain Bolt, the Jamaican sprinter who is known as the fastest man alive.

Simon has never forgotten a statement that Usain Bolt once made on television.

He said, “I trained four years to run nine seconds.”

Simon was amazed that an athlete would be willing to train for years just to run for a few seconds. He realized that training must be very important for runners.

Simon’s parents also realized that training was very important. They thought about the proper training for Simon when he prepared to enter school in their hometown of Anni.

Father wanted Simon to attend a Seventh-day Adventist school, and he wanted a recommendation on which one was best for his son.

“Simon is 5 years old,” he told his brother. “Where do you think that I should send him to school?”

“Put Simon in our school here,” his brother said. “It’s closer to your home than the other schools.”

The school was only a 10-minute walk away from Simon’s home.

So, Simon was sent to the local Adventist school to start kindergarten.

On the first day, Simon wasn’t so sure that he wanted to go. He cried as Mother walked with him to school. He cried when she left him at the school. He felt very scared because he couldn’t see Mother anywhere in the room.

But the tears quickly dried up during morning worship. The teachers taught songs about Jesus. The principal read a story from the Bible. Simon liked the songs and the stories.

In a short time, he began making friends with the other boys and girls. He was happy to talk with them, to study with them, and to just be with them.

A year passed, and Simon entered first grade. Then he finished second, third, and fourth grades. As he studied, he learned how to be honest, kind, and helpful, just like Jesus in the Bible.

He also learned to run.

One day, a teacher told the schoolchildren, “You should run because it is good for your health.”

So, Simon decided to run every day. Instead of walking to school, he ran Sometimes, he raced his friends to see who would arrive at school first. Sometimes, he left home late and had to run to arrive at school on time.

After school, he went to a park near his home and ran with friends. The boys ran for 5-10 minutes, rested, and then ran again for a total of 30 minutes.

When Simon first started running, it was hard work, and he got hot. But after a while, it became easier. After several months of running every day, he was hardly sweating at all. He felt very good after running. His mood improved, and he found it easier to do his homework.

Simon had learned an important principle about physical exercise. Ellen White says, “Your muscles were made for use, not to be inactive.” If you would exercise regularly, she says, “your mind would be better balanced, your thoughts would be of a purer and more elevated character, and your sleep would be more natural and healthful. … Your thoughts upon sacred truth would be clearer, and your moral powers more vigorous” (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3, p. 235).

Before Simon knew it, he had graduated from the eighth grade.

Today, Simon is a 21-year-old university student, and he said the school gave him a good start in life. He learned to run. He learned about Jesus. He received a good training.

“Through this school, God helped me to be a man of morals and dignity,” he said.

Part of this quarter’s Thirteenth Sabbath Offering will help construct a new school building for the 450 children who study at the Adventist school in Anni, India. The children now study in an old building built by a German missionary who founded the school in 1976. Thank you for planning a generous offering on March 30.