A Gift to God
Vitaly smiled shyly and said, “I memorize verses as a gift to God.”
To Sabbath School teachers: This story is for Sabbath, Nov. 4. Click here for photos to share while telling the mission story.
Today’s story is from Kyrgyzstan. [Ask a child to locate Kyrgyzstan on a map.]
Every Sabbath, boys and girls gather for the children’s story at the front of a Seventh-day Adventist church in Kyrgyzstan. After the story, the storyteller asks, “Did anyone memorize a Bible verse this week?”
Hands fly up as children who memorized a Bible verse take turns holding the microphone and reciting the Bible verse for the whole congregation to hear.
Every Sabbath for the past year, a 10-year-old boy named Vitaly [vee-TAH-lee] has raised his hand to share a Bible verse. Why do you think Vitaly memorizes a Bible verse every week? [Allow several children to respond.]
When asked why he memorizes a Bible verse every week, Vitaly smiled shyly and said, “I memorize verses as a gift to God.”
Every Sabbath, the Sabbath School teacher tells the children, “God gives us many gifts. What gift do you have for God today?”
God has given Vitaly many gifts. He lives with his grandparents, whom he loves. He has a safe home, a warm bed, and a few toys. And he goes to a good school.
But Vitaly doesn’t have any money to give as an offering to God. For a long time, he wondered what gift he could give God.
Story continues below
Watch an animated version of this mission story.
Vitaly knows that he has a good memory, so he decided to memorize a verse from the Bible every week. When he told his Sabbath School teacher about his idea, she said this would be a wonderful gift for God!
On Sabbath after church, we asked Vitaly to share the Bible text that he had memorized as a gift to God that week. He recited Luke 1:68, “Blessed is the Lord God of Israel, for He has visited and redeemed His people.”
Vitaly is one of six children who go to the Adventist church in Kyrgyzstan every Sabbath, even though no one in their families is Adventist. The children stand outside their homes on Sabbath morning and wait for the Sabbath School teacher to pick them up in her car.
After church, the Sabbath School teacher drives them home.
These children like church so much that they go every week, no matter what. When it snows a lot and other children want to stay in their warm homes, these children go to church. When the weather is warm and other children want to play outside, Vitaly and the other children go to church.
The church’s pastor is surprised that these children are so faithful about going to church. He said he knows children from Adventist families who complain on Sabbath morning and say, “Mommy, I want to stay home. I don’t feel like going to church today.”
You wouldn’t say that to your Mommy or Daddy, would you?
In fact, little Vitaly loves church so much that he told his brother, who lives in another part of town, about Sabbath School, and now his brother goes to church every Sabbath, too!
Vitaly also loves his school. He studies in the fourth grade at an Adventist school called Heritage Christian School in Kyrgyzstan.
Part of this quarter’s Thirteenth Sabbath Offering will help Heritage Christian School. Did you know that the school is named after a Bible verse? In Psalm 127:3, it says, “Children are a heritage from the Lord.” That means children are a special gift that God gives to parents. This would be a wonderful verse to memorize. Would you like to be like Vitaly and memorize it as a gift to God today? [Help the children memorize the verse as the mission offering is collected.]
Please pray for Heritage Christian School this quarter, and remember to bring your Sabbath School mission offerings to church every week.
Watch Vitaly recite his memory verse from Luke 1:68 in Russian. (Andrew McChesney / Adventist Mission)
For activities to accompany this and other mission stories, download the Children’s Mission quarterly (PDF)