A Safe Place to Learn
“Then I don’t need to be afraid anymore. My granny is just sleeping.”
Five-year-old Kenisha didn’t know what it was like not to be afraid. Ever since she could remember, people were firing guns on the street where she lived in Trench Town. Night after night she huddled up in a little ball on her mat, trying to drown out the noise by putting her hands over her ears. But that didn’t work very well. After finally dozing off she could still hear fighting in her dreams.
Daytime wasn’t much better for Kenisha. She woke up hungry, but most of the time there was nothing to eat. Once in a while her mom would give her a banana or a little bit of rice, but she still felt hungry.
Some Good News
Trench Town was a hard place to live. But one day Kenisha and her mother heard some good news—the Seventh-day Adventist church just around the corner was opening a new school for the children of Trench Town. They had never visited the Adventist church, but they decided to see Ms. Lurline James, the principal of the school.
“Our school is especially for children who are 2 to 6 years old,” Ms. James told Kenisha’s mother. “We would be very happy to have your daughter here at our school.” Kenisha and her mother were happy, and they were even more happy when they learned that the Adventist church would pay for most of Kenisha’s school fees. Kenisha would also receive a free hot lunch every day at school, and her mother could come for the regular prayer breakfasts, where teachers and parents would eat and pray together.
Kenisha was very happy at her new school. She felt safe, made some good friends, liked her teacher, learned how to read and write, and, most important, learned that Jesus was her friend.
Don’t Be Afraid
One day, though, when Kenisha arrived at school, Ms. James could tell that something was wrong. Kenisha looked very sad and frightened.
“Is something wrong?” Ms. James gently asked.
“Yes,” Kenisha started to cry. “My granny died yesterday, and we’re afraid that her spirit is going to come back tonight and get us!”
“Don’t be afraid,” Ms. James assured Kenisha. “I’m sorry that you lost your granny, but you don’t need to be afraid that her ghost is going to come back and hurt you.” Ms. James understood because many of the children in Trench Town believed that when a person died, their spirit would come back to haunt those we were left.
“You see,” Ms. James kindly continued, “when a person dies, they are really dead. It’s like they are really asleep but they won’t wake up again until Jesus wakes them up again when He comes.”
“Really?” Kenisha asked. “Then I don’t need to be afraid anymore. My granny is just sleeping.” Ms. James assured her that was true and invited Kenisha and her mom to visit the Adventist church on Sabbath mornings.
There are many boys and girls in Trench Town who are learning important things from the Bible at the Adventist Basic School. Most of them are too poor to afford three solid meals a day, so they really look forward to the delicious hot lunch they receive at the Adventist school each weekday.
On Sundays some of the students and their families go to the Good Samaritan Inn not far from Trench Town, where they can receive another free meal. Part of our special Thirteenth Sabbath Offering this quarter will go to help the people at the Good Samaritan Inn receive needed medical and dental care—including a special dental chair just for children! We hope that you will plan now to give generously this quarter to help the children in Jamaica and Belize.