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Adventist Mission


Life-Changing School

To Sabbath School teachers: This story is for Sabbath, March 19.

By Nerida Koolik


hen Bino turned 3, Mother decided that she wanted her little boy to go to an international school in Timor-Leste.

An international school is not like a regular public school. Going to a public school in Timor-Leste doesn’t cost any money, and the teachers speak in Portuguese. Going to an international school, however, costs money, and the teachers speak in English.

Mother wanted Bino to learn English, so she asked Father to find an international school in Dili, the capital of Timor-Leste where they lived.

Father walked up and down the streets, looking for an international school. He found several international schools, but they were all too expensive.

Then Father walked past a Seventh-day Adventist church. He saw a sign on the church fence advertising the Timor Adventist International School. A phone number was on the sign, and Father called for more information. To his delight, he learned that he could afford to send Bino to the school.

Father and Mother were not Adventist, but they had heard about Adventists. Mother’s uncle was an Adventist. Before he had become an Adventist, he had smoked cigarettes and drank alcohol. His language had been rough and he had eaten unhealthy food. Because of the unhealthy food, his legs had been covered with sores. But after being baptized, he had stopped smoking and drinking, and he had become healthy. He read his Bible, and he encouraged Mother and Father also to read the Bible. Mother and Father liked the new Uncle. He was jolly and pleasant to be around.

Bino started to study at the Adventist school. He quickly began to learn English. Mother also began to learn English. Every day, when he came home from school, she asked him to teach her the English words that he was learning at school.

“Hello,” Bino said.

“Hello,” Mother repeated.

“Good-bye,” Bino said.

“Good-bye,” Mother repeated.

As the weeks and months passed, their English-language lessons grew more complicated.

“I love you,” Bino said.

“I love YOU!” Mother exclaimed.

English was not the only thing that Bino taught Mother after school. Every day, Bino heard Bible stories from his teachers, and he shared those stories with Mother. As Bino grew older, he told Mother about David and Goliath, Jonah and the big fish, and Jesus and the little boy whose lunch fed more than 5,000 people.

Mother loved hearing her little boy tell Bible stories. She and Father began reading the Bible. Sometimes they had questions about what they were reading, and they sought answers from the pastor of the Adventist church near Bino’s school and an American missionary who also lived on the island. The pastor and the missionary visited Bino’s house regularly. The day came that Father and Mother were baptized and joined the Adventist Church.

Today, Bino not only goes to the Adventist school, but Father and Mother go to the school, too. Father and Mother work as the school’s caretakers.

Father is happy that Bino goes to the Adventist school. Mother is happy that Bino goes to the Adventist school. Bino is happy that he goes to the Adventist school. Through the school, the whole family speaks English — and loves Jesus with all their hearts.

Six years ago, part of the Thirteenth Sabbath Offering helped open the Adventist school in Dili. This quarter, the Thirteenth Sabbath Offering will help construct a dormitory so children from faraway villages can live and study at the school. Thank you for planning a generous offering.