School of Smiles
To Sabbath School teachers: This story is for Sabbath, March 30.
hen Amira turned 6, Father began to look for a good school for his daughter in India. He didn’t want Amira to go to just any school. He wanted the little girl to go to the best school. But where could he find such a school for her to start first grade?
The question bothered Father as he ate breakfast. The question bothered Father as he went to work. The question bothered Father as he got his hair cut after work.
“What is a good school where I can send my daughter?” he asked the barber.
“Send her to the Seventh-day Adventist school,” the barber said. “It’s a good school.”
Father had never heard of Seventh-day Adventists. He was not a Christian. He had been raised in another world religion. But he was impressed that the barber had recommended the Adventist school.
He sent Amira to study at the
Amira loved the school. She came home after school every day, talking about Jesus. She sang joyful Christian songs that she had learned. She told Father about the stories that she had heard from the Bible. She showed Father how she was learning to pray.
Father liked to hear about what Amira was learning at school. But what amazed him most was Amira’s smiles. He had never seen her so happy. Before she had started going to the school, she had always looked sad. But now she was smiling as brightly as the sun.
Father was delighted that his little girl was so happy. He wished that he could be as happy as her. But he couldn’t because he didn’t feel well. His stomach often hurt, and the pain made him feel very sad.
Amira noticed that Father wasn’t smiling like her. She wanted him to be happy. Even though she was only 6, she had an idea.
“Come to the school,” she said. “Someone will pray for you.”
So, the next time Father took Amira to school, he followed her inside. Would someone pray for him?
Near Amira’s classroom, Father saw the school accountant. The accountant helped count the school’s money.
“Would you pray for me?” Father asked.
The accountant gladly prayed for Father. He asked God to give Father good health and happiness.
After the prayer, the accountant told the school pastor about Father. The school pastor contacted Father and asked if he would like to study the Bible. Father agreed, and he and the pastor began to meet to study the Bible.
Father was amazed as he learned about Jesus. Amira had told him some things about Jesus. But now he was reading things that he had never known.
“Did you know this all your life?” he asked the pastor. “I wish that I had known this many years ago.”
Father began to grow happier and happier. He smiled more and more. He and Amira read the Bible together. They went to church on Sabbath together. Soon, he and Amira were perhaps the happiest Father and daughter in India.
But Mother wasn’t happy. She didn’t know Jesus, and she didn’t want to know Jesus. She belonged to another world religion, and she didn’t want Father and Amira reading the Bible or going to church on Sabbath.
“Stop going to church,” she told Father. “Stop reading the Bible.”
Father didn’t know what to do.
As Mother complained, Father’s stomach pains grew worse. Adventist friends took him to the hospital and cared for him there. The doctor said Father needed an operation.
Something amazing happened as Father waited for the operation. As he lay in bed, he had a dream that he saw Jesus.
Father had never seen such a kind face. It was so beautiful. One look at His face filled Father with peace and calmness.
“Do not be afraid,” Jesus said. “I am with you.”
In the dream, Father also saw the pastor. He understood that the pastor was a good man who was bringing him closer to Jesus.
After the operation, Father had another dream. This time, he saw Jesus smiling reassuringly at him.
After that, Father had no more doubt about what to do. He wanted to give his heart to Jesus.
When Mother heard the news, she became very angry. She was so angry that she went to another room to sleep at night.
Alone in bed, Father couldn’t fall asleep. He wondered if he had made the right decision in giving his heart to Jesus.
Then he felt like Jesus came into the room. He didn’t see Jesus. But it was like Jesus came in and touched him on the shoulder. He felt complete peace. Father decided to follow Jesus no matter what.
When Mother saw that Father had made up his mind to follow Jesus, she began to calm down. She remembered that Adventists had helped care for Father in the hospital, and she decided that they must be good people. When the Adventist church offered some free medical care, she went with Father to the church for the first time.
Mother was impressed with the people that she saw at the church. She saw that they were kind and loving. She stopped being angry with Father and Amira.
Today, Father is praying for Mother to accept Jesus. Amira is praying for Mother to accept Jesus. They want Mother to be happy like them.
Father is happy that he sent Amira to the Seventh-day Adventist school. Amira is happy that she goes to the school. It changed Amira’s life. It changed Father’s life. And they believe it will change Mother’s life. They think it is the happiest school ever.
Thank you for your Sabbath School mission offering today that will help spread the gospel in India and Nepal. Seven of the 10 Thirteenth Sabbath projects involve Adventist schools like the one where Amira studies. Thank you for your generous offering.