Christian Müller was surprised to find his two young sons selling paper airplanes on the city street outside their home in Kyrgyzstan.
The boys—Lukas, seven, and Thomas, six—had dragged a table into the road, decorated it with colorful flowers, and filled it with the homemade planes that they were trying to sell for 10 Kyrgyzstani som (US$0.15) each.
They wanted to donate the money for new classrooms at the Adventist-owned Heritage Christian School in Tokmok, located 90-minutes east of Kyrgyzstan’s capital, Bishkek.
“The children became very excited about the project,” said Christian, who serves as the school’s development director and is raising money for the school. “So they decided to fundraise.”
The boys had spent the previous month listening to their father speak about the project at churches in their home country of Argentina, as well as in the United States and Spain, during the family’s annual leave. The school, with 330 students enrolled in kindergarten through high school, turned away 40 students the previous year because of a lack of space and needed US$400,000 to construct a new three-story building.
Christian said his sons appeared to have caught the mission spirit by listening to his fundraising presentations and his daily prayers to God for help during family worship. But he said he didn’t want them to sell paper airplanes on the street, so he suggested that they try to sell them on the school campus.
The boys went straight to the school’s cashier, a native of Kyrgyzstan. She agreed to buy two paper airplanes for 20 som.
Then they approached their father. “OK, I’ll buy one,” Christian told his sons. But the boys said, “No, no. For you, it’s not 10 som. It’s 20. You are a foreigner.” (Foreigners in Kyrgyzstan are sometimes charged a significantly higher rate than locals.)
Another man at the school also met with rejection when he handed over 10 som for a paper airplane. The boys told him that the plane cost 100 som. “Why?” the man asked. “You sold the planes to the cashier for 10 som each.” “This is a special plane,” Thomas replied. “It flies better than the rest.”
The boys’ fundraising efforts didn’t stop with paper airplanes. They built a cardboard box to collect money for the school at the local grocery store. Their father liked the idea but suggested that it might be better to place the box in the school.
When the boys received cash from relatives for special occasions, they contributed it to the school project instead of spending it on toys or candy. “I don’t need to buy more toys because God has blessed me with many toys,” Lukas said.
Lukas lost two teeth and put them under his pillow at night. The Argentine peso bills that he found the next morning went to the construction fund in their homemade piggy bank. The boys, who love soccer, decided not to go to the stadium of their favorite team, Barcelona, while visiting Spain because they didn’t want to spend any money that could help the school.
Christian says he was pleased that his children were putting mission first. “I’m happy that they understand the mission that we have as a family,” he says. “It’s special to me because I’ve realized that I’m not alone in my work. We’re all committed to the same goal.”
Lukas and Thomas have contributed about US$150 to the classroom project, and they’re continuing to look for new ways to raise money.
Thomas remembered hearing his father say that 40 children were turned away from the school last year. “I want to help so more children can come study in the school,” he said.
The boys’ enthusiasm for the school has built the faith of many, including Konstantyn Kampen, education director for the Southern Union Mission.
“When I saw how these children were sacrificing, I realized that we would finish this project,” he said. “If God can touch the hearts of these kids, then He will touch the hearts of the adults too.”
Among many other things, your weekly mission offerings and world budget offerings help support more than 700 missionaries, such as the Müller family. Thank you!
Mission Fast Facts
Heritage Christian School has raised nearly all the funds needed for the new classrooms, and the building is expected to open in time for the new school year in September 2017.
The city of Tokmok is home to about 53,000 people.
About 700 Adventists live in Kyrgyzstan, a predominantly Muslim country of 6 million people bordered by China and three former Soviet republics: Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan.
A portion of the Thirteenth Sabbath Offering for fourth quarter 2017 will go toward the construction of a multifunctional center at Heritage Christian School in Tokmok, Kyrgyzstan, which is part of the Euro-Asia Division.
WAYS TO GIVE:
-During Sabbath School
-Securely online: Giving.AdventistMission.org