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Adventist Mission


’Tis the Season to Witness

To Sabbath School teachers: This story is for Sabbath, June 15.

By Andrew McChesney


ne of Alina’s favorite parts of being a student at Zaoksky Christian School in Russia is the annual Christmas program.

Every year, the school’s 210 children have an opportunity to participate in a play about Christ’s birth for hundreds of children from their town of Zaoksky and beyond. The children who attend the Christmas program also learn how to make various crafts and go home with gifts of candy. It is a mission outreach program aimed at touching hearts with the love of Jesus.

Everyone eagerly waits for the Christmas program, a Zaoksky tradition since 2003. Schoolchildren wait to participate in the program. Children in the town wait to go to the program. Parents and others also look forward to the big event.

Alina began participating in the program when she was 11. She wasn’t even a student at Zaoksky Christian School yet. But she wanted to take part, so she helped set up the Christmas tree.

For five years in a row, Alina participated in the program. But when the sixth year came, she wasn’t sure whether she would be able to participate. She was ill. She worried that she wouldn’t be strong enough to go. She prayed, “Give me strength so I can glorify Your name at the upcoming program.”

Her stress levels grew as the opening date drew closer. She worried that she would not be able to take part.

But when the big day came, she felt perfectly well. The first day also went perfectly well. She enjoyed seeing the smiles of children and adults as they thanked her and other schoolchildren from Zaoksky Christian School who had participated.

Then a family with four children came up to her. They wanted to take a selfie. She agreed.

Afterward, the mother asked, “Why do you do this program and spend so much time and money on strangers?”

Alina stood silently for a while. She thought about how to respond. Why had she wanted to participate in the program for the past six years? Finally, she spoke. “Every person who really loves God also really loves his or her neighbor, and wants to share God’s love by doing good deeds,” she said.

The Alina spoke with the family for a long time. She told them about Zaoksky Christian School and the Seventh-day Adventist Church. She told them about the Pathfinder and Adventurer clubs at her church and invited the children to attend.

The parents brought their boys, who were Pathfinder age, to the next Pathfinder meeting. The boys attended a second meeting, but they didn’t return after that.

Alina doesn’t know what happened to the family, and she doesn’t know how to contact them. But she isn’t worried. She is sure that a seed has been planted in their hearts. She trusts that God will grow the seed and draw their hearts to Him. After all, the apostle Paul said, “I planted … but God gave the increase” (1 Corinthians 3:6, NKJV). Her part only was to introduce the family to God.

“This was my first time to witness for God on my own,” Alina said. “It was so nice that God gave me the strength to be well and to talk to them. I am so happy that I could show His love to others.”

Alina added that she learned that it is important not to be scared to talk about God.

“Even when our strength fails us, God is near and gives us strength,” she said. “We need to believe in Him.”

Thank you for your Thirteenth Sabbath Offering three years ago that went to help construct a new school building for Zaoksky Christian School in Zaoksky, Russia. Part of this quarter’s offering will help open a spiritual and social center in Salekhard in the Russian Far North. Thank you for planning a generous offering on June 29.