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Katelyn, 11, and Kallie, 9

Smiles and Songs

To Sabbath School teachers: This story is for Sabbath, July 31.

By Dale Wolcott


leven-year-old Katelyn and her 9-year-old sister, Kallie, ended up back at home on the Navajo Reservation right in the middle of the school year.

The COVID-19 virus was spreading, and schools were shutting down across the United States and the rest of the world. Katelyn and Kallie stayed in the girls’ dormitory while they studied at Holbrook Seventh-day Adventist Indian School. But when the school was forced to close to keep the children healthy, the sisters traveled home to a town located about 90 minutes away by car in the U.S. state of Arizona.

Being at home did not mean being on vacation. The girls still had classes to attend and homework to do. Their teachers were preparing everything online. The only problem was that Katelyn and Kallie didn’t have Internet in their one-room log cabin. Their home also has no indoor plumbing, and electricity came through an extension cord from a relative’s house next door. Their neighbors also didn’t have Internet. In fact, hardly anyone in the neighborhood had Internet — except for the Seventh-day Adventist church down the road.

When the church’s pastor learned about the situation, he invited the girls use the church’s Wi-Fi for their studies.

So it was that Katelyn and Kallie found themselves skipping along the dirt road day after day to do their schoolwork at the church. As they walked, they smiled as they remembered good times at Holbrook school. They also sang happy songs about Jesus that they had learned at the school.

Among the houses that they passed was one known as the local “drug house.” The house’s paint was peeling, and one of the windows was broken. People seemed to go in and out of the house at all hours. Church members had visited and prayed in the home, and the neighbors’ little children had come to church for Vacation Bible School. But none of the adults seemed to care about God.

Then one of those adults noticed the cheerful sisters. When Katelyn and Kallie’s mother came walking by the house one day, the neighbor ran out.

“Why do your daughters smile so much instead of looking mostly sad like my little sisters?” she asked. “Why are your daughters always singing?”

The questions surprised Mother. But she was pleased that the neighbor had noticed Katelyn and Kallie, and she invited the woman to find out why they smiled and sang. “We’re going to have a family worship this evening under the cottonwoods down by the streambed,” Mother said. “Would you like to come?”

That evening, the children from the “drug house” came to the cottonwood grove. Mother read a Bible story, and everyone sang songs about Jesus. The children liked the worship. “Can we do this again tomorrow?” they asked.

Katelyn and Kallie did something spectacular. They became missionaries to their neighbors. Their smiles and songs showed Jesus’ wonderful love to a family that seemed impossible to reach.

Thank you for your Thirteenth Sabbath Offering that will help Katelyn and Kallie’s school, Holbrook Seventh-day Adventist Indian School.